How to Avoid a DUI Conviction in Los Angeles, California

New Laws For First Time Offenders

Drinking and driving continues to be a major problem throughout the United States. A person’s life can change in an instant when someone makes the decision to operate a motor vehicle under the influence of either drugs or alcohol. As of July 2010, new laws went into effect in California requiring first-time DUI offenders to install an interlock ignition device into their vehicle. This is part of a test program affecting residents of Alameda, Los Angeles, Sacramento and Tulare counties.

Penalties of a California DUI Conviction

If you have been arrested for suspicion of driving under the influence, the laws in California can impose the following penalties if convicted:

  • 48 hours to 6 months in county jail
  • Fines ranging from $1,400 to $1,800
  • Driver’s license suspension for six months
  • Mandatory alcohol education program
  • SR-22 insurance as proof of financial responsibility
  • Three to five years of probation

A Los Angeles DUI lawyer will tell you that it is illegal to drive with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of .08 or higher. However, people who are age 21 or younger can be charged with a DUI offense if their BAC is .02 percent.

Crafting a DUI Defense

A skilled Los Angeles DUI lawyer may be able to get the charges dismissed altogether on the following grounds:

  • The traffic stop was illegal because the officer lacked probable cause to pull the vehicle over
  • An illegal search was conducted turning up evidence against the defendant that is inadmissible in court
  • The suspect’s rights were violated when they were not read their Miranda Rights
  • The Breathalyzer results are inaccurate because the machine was not calibrated correctly
  • The defendant’s blood draw was not performed within a satisfactory period of time
  • A medical condition, such as diabetes or hypoglycemia caused the breath test to read inaccurate results

Anyone who is arrested on a DUI offense has the right to obtain legal representation. Defendants need a criminal defense attorney who is experienced in handling these matters. They are familiar with the prosecuting attorneys and may be able to cut a deal in obtaining a plea to a lesser offense, such as a wet and reckless charge. This offense carries much less jail time and lesser amounts of fines imposed.

California Diversion Program

The State of California has court-mandated diversion programs for first-time offenders facing a DUI conviction. A diversion program is a contract that exists between the individual and the county in which the defendant gives up their right to a speedy or jury trial in exchange for avoiding a conviction. Under this type of program, the defendant will be required to do the following:

  • Complete a drug or alcohol treatment program
  • Provide restitution to the victims of the offense
  • Complete a certain amount of community service hours
  • Abstain from using alcohol or drugs during the time period
  • Pay a court-ordered fine

Individuals who successfully complete all of the above requirements may have the charges dismissed. If they fail to adhere to the terms, their case may be remanded to court and they can face a criminal trial.

When to Hire a Los Angeles DUI Lawyer

Once the police have arrested an individual for driving under the influence, their primary focus is to build a case against the suspect. A Los Angeles DUI lawyer may be able to get the charges reduced, thus requiring less jail time for the offense. Our legal professionals encourage defendants to tell us about their case so that we can determine the best way to represent them in court.

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