Los Angeles DUI Lawyer
Have you been arrested for a DUI in Los Angeles, CA? Do not let a DUI conviction and license suspension happen without a fight! The Rodriguez Law Group has more than 20 years of experience fighting for clients facing serious DUI offenses. We will put our decades of experience to work for you.
Call our law office today to schedule your free case review with our Los Angeles DUI lawyers and find out how we can help.
- 1 How the Rodriguez Law Group Can Help if You’re Arrested for DUI in Los Angeles
- 2 Overview of California DUI Law
- 3 What Are the Penalties for DUI in Los Angeles, California?
- 4 Criminal DUI Penalties in Los Angeles
- 5 What Defenses Are Available in a DUI Case in Los Angeles, CA?
- 6 Schedule a Free Case Review with a Los Angeles DUI Lawyer
How the Rodriguez Law Group Can Help if You’re Arrested for DUI in Los Angeles
Being arrested for a DUI can be a frightening and overwhelming experience. There is a lot on the line, especially if you have a prior DUI conviction in the last 10 years. You deserve a vigorous legal defense to fight the charges you are facing.
The Los Angeles criminal defense lawyers at Rodriguez Law Group will aggressively defend you at every stage of your DUI case. Founding attorney Ambrosio E. Rodriguez spent 13 years as a Senior Deputy District Attorney and brings crucial insight into the tactics the state will use.
As a defense attorney, he has earned a 10.0 Superb AVVO rating based on an excellent track record over 20 years.
Choose Rodriguez Law Group to represent you in your DUI case in Los Angeles, California and we will:
- Representing you during your DMV hearing to potentially halt the administrative license suspension
- Help you understand the steps necessary to have your license reinstated
- Offer sound legal advice to build the best defense and make important decisions such as whether you should accept 48 hours in jail to reduce the license suspension
- Investigate your case to determine if your rights were violated and seek weaknesses in the case against you
- Work with experts to attack the prosecution’s case and evidence
- Negotiate for reduced charges and the most lenient penalties possible
- Present a strong defense before a jury to seek an acquittal
Contact our DUI lawyers in Los Angeles today to begin building the legal defense you deserve.
Overview of California DUI Law
Driving under the influence is a criminal offense in California.
DUI cases in Los Angeles may have two separate charges under California Vehicle Code Section 23152:
- Under 23152(a), it is illegal to drive a motor vehicle under the influence of alcohol. This is a traditional DUI offense in California.
- Under 23152(b), you may be charged with a DUI if you have a blood alcohol concentration of 0.08% or more. This is called a DUI per se (Latin for “by itself,” which means a BAC of 0.08 is by itself enough to be guilty of a DUI).
Not that you can be convicted of a DUI if the prosecution proves either. This means you do not have to be at the BAC legal limit of 0.08% to be convicted of DUI.
If convicted, these offenses are combined and you may be sentenced under either provision of this statute but not both.
Subsection f of this statute also makes it a crime to drive under the influence of drugs. This is called a DUID. You may be considered under the influence if you cannot drive as you would sober due to an illegal, over-the-counter, or prescription drug or a combination of alcohol and drugs.
DUID has the same penalties as an alcohol DUI.
In most cases, a DUI is a misdemeanor in California. Without aggravating factors, you will face a misdemeanor DUI charge for a first, second, or third DUI conviction.
However, there are many aggravating factors that can upgrade a DUI to a felony in Los Angeles.
Commercial DUI is also treated differently under California law with increased penalties and a lower BAC threshold.
Felony DUI in California
A DUI is usually a misdemeanor in Los Angeles, but you will face a felony DUI charge if there are one or more aggravating factors.
A DUI can be increased to a felony if:
- You cause serious bodily injury or death to someone else,
- You have had 3 or more DUI or “wet reckless” convictions within the last 10 years, or
- You have 1 or more previous convictions for a felony DUI.
Felony DUI comes with much harsher penalties than a traditional misdemeanor DUI conviction.
There are additional types of felony DUI charges you may face if you cause the death of someone else. Depending on the circumstances, the following offenses may be charged.
Manslaughter DUI or gross vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated is a type of felony DUI offense under California Penal Code 191.5 PC. This offense may be charged when a driver under the influence commits an additional infraction or misdemeanor with gross negligence and causes the death of someone else.
DUI Murder may be charged under California Penal Code Section 187 PC. Killing someone while under the influence is second-degree murder and called “Watson” murder.
It happens when someone causes an accident while drunk that kills someone else with particularly egregious circumstances. This offense does not require that the defendant intended to kill anyone, only that they intended to engage in dangerous behavior with conscious disregard for human life.
Commercial DUI in California
Drivers with a commercial driver’s license (CDL) have a lower legal BAC limit of just 0.04%. This limit applies even if you are driving a personal vehicle. You can be convicted of a DUI per se if your BAC is at or above this lower threshold and face additional penalties like having your CDL suspended for at least one year.
Underage DUI in Los Angeles
An underage DUI refers to someone arrested for a DUI while under the age of 21. When the driver cannot legally possess or consume alcohol, California has a zero-tolerance policy. This is a violation of California Vehicle Code Section 23136. You can be charged if you are under 21 with any detectable alcohol in your system.
This offense is not actually a crime, but it does come with a mandatory one-year license suspension. If your BAC is high enough or you were impaired, you can also be convicted under VC 23152, a standard DUI and criminal offense.
Other Types of DUI Charges in Los Angeles
Most drunk driving arrests in Los Angeles are considered standard DUI cases.
However, outside of felony and commercial DUIs, there are additional types of DUI offenses under California law:
- Boating under the influence (BUI), an offense under Harbors & Navigation Code 655
- Child endangerment DUI under Vehicle Code 23572 may be a misdemeanor or a felony
- Hit-and-run DUI under California VC 20002 for property damage and VC 20001 if it involves injury to someone else.
DUI cases can become very complex in cases involving child endangerment and hit-and-run, especially if an accident results in injury or death.
What Are the Penalties for DUI in Los Angeles, California?
Under California law, first-time DUIs are not treated as seriously as repeat DUIs. There are separate penalties for a first DUI, second DUI, and all subsequent DUI offenses. However, it’s important to understand that even a first-time DUI conviction can have very expensive and life-changing consequences.
Previous DUI offenses can be counted going back up to 10 years. If you have any DUI convictions within the past 10 years and you are arrested for another DUI, it will count as a second (or subsequent) offense.
The penalties for DUI criminal charges in Los Angeles depend on many factors including whether or not the following apply:
- It is a first, second, third, or subsequent DUI offense
- Your BAC was below the legal 0.08% threshold or above a higher 0.15% threshold (a high BAC offense with a BAC of 0.15% or higher comes with enhanced penalties)
- You have a CDL (even if you were not driving a commercial vehicle at the time)
- You were driving on a suspended or revoked license
- You were under 21
- You had a minor in the vehicle
- You fled the scene of an accident
- You caused injury or death to someone else
If you are convicted of a DUI in Los Angeles, you will face a combination of criminal and administrative penalties.
Administrative DUI Penalties in Los Angeles
License suspensions are an automatic penalty of a DUI arrest in California. 30 days after your arrest, your license will be suspended unless you request a DMV hearing which may avoid this automatic suspension.
How long your license will be suspended for a DUI can be complicated. At a minimum, you will have a 4-month license suspension which includes a 90-day suspension for a criminal conviction and a 30-day minimum from the DMV. However, your license may be suspended for much longer, including at least one year (for a second or subsequent offense) or even longer.
With a felony DUI conviction, your license may be revoked for up to 5 years.
It may be possible to obtain a restricted license to drive to/from work and alcohol treatment.
Criminal DUI Penalties in Los Angeles
If convicted of a misdemeanor DUI, you may face:
- 3 to 5 years DUI probation
- Possible jail time (at least 48 hours in jail for a first offense, increased to at least 120 days for a third offense)
- Fines (usually $1,800 for a first offense which increase for subsequent DUI convictions)
- Minimum 3-month alcohol treatment program at your cost (longer for a high BAC offense or subsequent offense)
- Installation of an interlock device at your cost (required for a second offense)
You will likely be placed on probation after a DUI. This will last for at least 3 years and you may face additional penalties without trial if you violate probation by violating any laws.
The criminal penalties for a felony DUI are far more serious and may include:
- Up to 3 years in jail (4 years if someone else was injured or up to 16 years for some types of felony DUI)
- Fines of up to $1,000 (or $5,000 if someone was injured)
- Designation as a habitual traffic offender for 3 years for repeated DUI convictions
- DUI school for at least 18 months
The penalties for any DUI conviction can be life-changing and make it difficult for you to work, travel, and support yourself.
What Defenses Are Available in a DUI Case in Los Angeles, CA?
It’s important to contact a Los Angeles DUI attorney as soon as possible after a DUI arrest to begin building your defense strategy.
At Rodriguez Law Group, we have decades of fighting DUI charges with many possible strategies:
- Challenging field sobriety tests which have a low accuracy
- Disputing the accuracy of breath test or blood test results and when they were taken
- Lack of reasonable cause to pull you over
- Lack of probable cause for an arrest
- Violations of your constitutional rights
- You were not driving or operating a motor vehicle
We will fight for the best possible outcome in your case. Depending on the circumstances, it may be possible to have your charges dropped or your case dismissed.
We may negotiate for reduced charges such as a “wet reckless” offense. If your case goes to court, we will present the strongest defense possible to seek a “not guilty” verdict.
Schedule a Free Case Review with a Los Angeles DUI Lawyer
DUI charges are taken very seriously in Los Angeles with harsh consequences that begin before you are even convicted. At Rodriguez Law Group, we will work tirelessly to give you the legal representation you deserve. Contact our law firm today to schedule your free consultation with a Los Angeles DUI lawyer at our firm to discuss how we can help you.
Last Updated on March 10, 2021