If you are arrested on drunk driving charges in Los Angeles County or the Pasadena area, you need to be aware of what potential processes and outcomes you are facing. Many people don’t know what happens to a driver when they are arrested for driving under the influence, and it is important to be prepared for any impending defenses. The criminal defense process is much more involved than you may at first realize.
One major misconception is that there is no way to defend against a DUI charge. Too many people believe that an arrest means they will later be found guilty when this is not necessarily the case. There are several ways to successfully defend against a DUI charge, and many people have the charges in their cases dropped or their punishment minimized through the court process. An arrest or charge does not automatically mean that you are guilty or should face serious consequences.
The key to maintaining your innocence is finding a high-quality criminal defense lawyer. Good defense attorneys can work with you to show the court that you are innocent. Without a criminal defense attorney, you will likely face the full consequences even if you did nothing wrong.
When it comes to Pasadena and Los Angeles criminal defense, no firm has more success than our team at the Law Office of Daniel P. Flores. We work diligently to make sure that your name is cleared and you get to retain your driver’s license. With over 2,000 area clients, we have an exemplary record of helping people to move on from DUI charges.
Unlike other criminal defense lawyers, our firm focuses only on DUIs. This gives you the benefit of highly specific knowledge and experience in cases like your own. You can trust that we know what we are doing because DUIs are the only criminal cases we handle. Our experience is niche and specific, something you will not find with other law firms.
When it comes to defending our clients, we are extremely motivated and passionate. We know that a DUI charge can change your future significantly. For this reason, we work diligently to win your case and ensure that you have the best chance of winning your case and escaping serious consequences.
The term “DUI” is fairly common, but many people do not fully understand what it means. A DUI, or driving under the influence, occurs when a driver operates a vehicle with a blood alcohol content (BAC) of .08% or higher or drives while under the influence of any amount of drugs. A BAC of .07% is considered the highest level of intoxication that still allows a driver to operate a vehicle safely. Once their BAC reaches .08%, their decision-making is impaired, they have a slower reaction time, and they are less likely to maneuver their vehicle in a way that is safe for themselves, their passengers, and those around them.
If a police officer makes a legal traffic stop and has reason to think that the driver has been consuming alcohol or drugs, they will perform field sobriety tests to see if their theory is correct. If the person is, in fact, intoxicated, they will arrest the driver on DUI charges. Though the driver will be released to a family member later that night or the next day, they will have to appear in criminal court to see if they will suffer punishments for their DUI.
Many people try to navigate their DUI case without a licensed Pasadena DUI attorney. Though this is legal, it is not advisable to navigate your DUI case alone. DUIs are serious offenses, and the consequences can affect your entire life. You face driver’s license suspension, alcohol education classes, and vehicle interlocking devices on top of fines and jail time for your offenses. There is a lot at stake for you and your family during this case, so it is important to get proper legal representation to protect yourself.
These cases are rarely fair. Without an attorney, the courts almost always find the driver guilty, even if the situation does not warrant it. There is a misguided preconception that breathalyzer and field sobriety tests are always correct, an idea that can bring life-altering consequences to your case.
It is also important to understand that it is difficult to argue your own innocence. The types of arguments used in DUI cases are intricate and specific. It is extremely difficult to correctly argue your case without prior experience in the legal field.
It is reckless to drive while under the influence of a controlled substance, such as alcohol or drugs. As such, the legal consequences are severe if you are found guilty. It is important to know about all potential consequences of a DUI, so you can equip yourself with the best legal team to help you fight your case.
Your specific consequences will partially depend upon your criminal history in addition to the circumstances of your arrest. The more DUIs you have on your record, the more severe your consequences will be.
In most situations, the consequences of a DUI are most lenient for first time offenses. However, this does not mean that you will avoid punishment. In fact, punishments for first time DUIs are relatively severe, and they only become more severe with repeat offenses.
You can expect a license suspension for any DUI charge that you face. For a first-time offense, your license will likely be suspended for a standard six months. During this time, you are not permitted to drive a car at all. Instead, you must take public transportation or rely on others for a ride. This applies even if your children depend on you for transportation; you must find other ways to get your family where they need to go. If you are caught driving with a suspended license, you face further punishments and penalties. You will also get an Interlock Ignition Device (IID) installed in your vehicle, and it will remain there for up to six months. This device monitors your blood alcohol content to ensure that you cannot drive your car if you have been drinking. In addition to this, you will need to take DUI classes for anywhere from 3-6 months.
Fines and fees are an expected part of a DUI. For a first-time offense, you face between $390 and $1,000 worth of court-mandated fines for your offense. This does not include any lost income from time you need to take off of work, nor does this account for any added expenses of finding alternative transportation.
Finally, jail time is a possibility even for a first time DUI offense. For most first-time offenders, a jail sentence of up to six months will be considered if the driver is convicted.
Once you have already been convicted of a DUI, there is a sharp increase in punishment for your second DUI offense. The law takes DUIs very seriously, and repeat offenses are not tolerated.
For a second DUI, your license suspension is expected to last for two years – a significant increase from the first-time offense punishment. The IID will also be installed for an additional one year to ensure that you cannot start or drive your car while under the influence.
The fines for a second DUI remain the same and can be anywhere from $390 to $1,000 in official charges. However, you are guaranteed jail time for your second DUI conviction. Your jail sentence may be anywhere from 96 hours to 1 year, depending on the circumstances.
For a third DUI, the punishments continue to increase. You can expect a license suspension of three years and an IID for two years following your arrest. This means that the consequences of your third DUI will affect your driving for at least five years.
Fines for a third time DUI can be up to $1,800. However, these are only official charges. You may face other expenses that the court does not mandate.
Jail time for your third DUI ranges from 120 days to 1 year. This means that you will spend a minimum of four months in a county jail if convicted of a third DUI offense.
In most situations, your first, second, and third DUIs are considered misdemeanor charges. However, fourth time offenses are considered felonies. This brings more serious consequences and is much more damaging to have on your permanent record.
If you are found guilty of a felony DUI, you face up to four years of license suspension with additional IID time as well. Your court-mandated fines can range from $390-$1,000, depending on your situation.
Perhaps the largest increase from a misdemeanor to a felony DUI is the incarceration time. When your DUI is a felony, you no longer face time in county jail but rather in state prison. The minimum standard prison time is sixteen months, while the maximum is usually three years.
Finally, there are many unintended consequences of a felony conviction. Those who have a felony record often have a difficult time finding proper housing, getting and keeping a good job, and being approved for a loan. Many people face strained relationships with friends and family and face mental health problems as a result of their conviction. It is important to remember the court-ordered consequences are not the only possible results. When you hire an attorney, you are doing so to protect yourself from a variety of consequences, both intended and unintended.
The above charges apply only if your DUI did not do any damage to any property or people around you. However, if there are serious injuries or fatalities, the consequences further increase in severity. The exact punishments will depend upon your unique situation.
If you kill someone while driving under the influence, you may face vehicular homicide or manslaughter charges. These charges come with additional prison time and consequences, which will be added to your DUI consequences. This can lengthen jail time or increase your fines and fees significantly.
Some people believe that they can avoid a DUI charge if they fail to take a breathalyzer or field sobriety test. Though this may seem logical, it is not a good decision. When you get your license from the California DMV, you agree to implied consent. This means that you will take a breathalyzer or field sobriety test if you are reasonably and legally asked to by a law enforcement officer. Neglecting to take these tests only increases your potential punishment and does not ultimately help your case in any way.
If you believe that you are being illegally asked to perform a breathalyzer test or are pulled over illegally, begin to film the situation on your phone. This can act as proof when your case goes to court.
California citizens over the age of 21 can engage in recreational marijuana use if they choose. However, though its consumption is recreationally legal, you cannot drive while under the influence of marijuana. In fact, if you drive after ingesting any amount of cannabis, you could be charged with a DUI. Unlike alcohol, you do not need to reach a certain minimum for a DUI arrest to occur. Any amount of intoxication makes you eligible.
It can be difficult to fathom potential arguments for a DUI case, especially when the officer performed a breathalyzer or other official tests while on the scene. However, there are many viable ways for your attorney to defend you. Your unique defense will depend upon the details of your case. However, some common DUI defenses include:
There are other possible arguments that your attorney may use. A good attorney creates an airtight and personalized argument that highlights the unique circumstances of your case.
Every law firm is different, so it’s difficult to say how much your attorney will charge. Because many attorneys charge by the hour, the final cost may depend upon the length of your case. Your attorney may also change their fee based on how many DUI convictions you have. The more DUIs that you have on your record, the more difficult it is to prove that you are innocent.
It is important to talk candidly with potential attorneys about their fees and payment structure. If you don’t, you could find yourself in a position where you can’t pay your attorney. If this happens, you may lose your legal representation and either have to begin again with a new attorney or face your case alone. Most people who have to change attorneys or fight their own case find they are at a disadvantage in the courtroom. It’s best for your case and for your future to discuss finances before you settle on an attorney.
Our team understands the fear and stress that comes with a DUI arrest. Many clients come to us believing that they have already lost their case and feel hopeless about the impending consequences. We understand this despair but believe that it is important to know that there is hope. With high quality legal services, it is possible to win your DUI case and avoid punishment altogether. For many people, our services offer the potential against a predetermined outcome.
For more information on our specialized Pasadena DUI criminal defense services, please contact the Law Office of Daniel P. Flores online today. One mistake doesn’t have to define your life.
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