A conviction for a Los Angeles DUI can be life-changing. Not only does a DUI expose you to potential jail time, but the collateral consequences of a conviction can make it harder to get a job and could prevent you from pursuing your education. While there are many defenses to DUIs, this is a highly specialized area of criminal defense law, and effectively defending against DUI charges requires a seasoned criminal defense attorney with specific experience handling these complex cases. At the Killedjian Law Corporation, we represent clients in all aspects of their DUI cases, helping them avoid both the criminal penalties as well as administrative consequences of a DUI conviction.California’s DUI Law
Under California Vehicle Code 23152, it is illegal to drive under the influence of drugs or alcohol. In terms of an alcohol DUI, this usually means that your blood-alcohol content is over .08. In fact, if your blood alcohol content exceeds .08, you are considered to be drunk driving, regardless of whether you showed any signs of impairment.
However, prosecutors don’t necessarily need to prove your blood-alcohol content was over the limit to charge you for DUI. Under VC § 23152(a), the government can bring DUI charges against you if there is enough evidence to show that you were under the influence of alcohol—even if your blood-alcohol content was under .08 or there was no chemical testing performed at all.California’s Zero-Tolerance Policy for Underage DUIs
California takes a no-nonsense approach to underage DUIs. Under VC § 23136, it is illegal for a minor to operate a vehicle with a blood alcohol content of .01 or more. The punishment for a first-time zero-tolerance DUI is a one-year license suspension. However, minors arrested for DUI can also be charged with an “adult” DUI under § 23152, which carries a much harsher punishment. Ultimately, it’s up to the prosecutor to determine how to charge a minor.The Consequences of Refusing a Blood or Breath Test
California has an implied consent law that provides that anyone who drives on a public road is presumed to consent to chemical testing at the request of a police officer. So, while an officer cannot force you to give take a blood or breath test without a warrant, refusing chemical testing will result in administrative penalties in the form of a driver’s license suspension.
For example, if a police officer asks you to take a blood test and you refuse, you will face a one-year license suspension. Additionally, if you are convicted, you will be required to spend an additional 48 hours in jail and take six additional months of DUI school. Keep in mind this is for a first-time refusal. If you have a prior DUI and refuse chemical testing, the penalties get much harsher, up to a three-year license suspension.Fighting the Administrative Penalties of a Los Angeles DUI Arrest
After a DUI arrest, you will have two separate cases going on at once. First, the prosecutor will file criminal charges against you based on an alleged violation of the Vehicle Code. Second, the Department of Motor Vehicles will hold a hearing to determine if your driver’s license will be suspended pending the resolution of your case.
If you do nothing, the DMV will suspend your license until you are eligible to reinstate it. However, within ten days of your arrest, you can request a DMV hearing, also known as a Driver Safety Administrative Per Se hearing. You are entitled to have an attorney represent you at this hearing. At the hearing, the hearings officer will consider the following questions:
- Did the officer have probable cause to believe you were DUI?
- Was your arrest legal?
- Was your blood-alcohol content .08 or more?
If your attorney can raise doubt as to any of these questions, the hearings officer will reverse your license suspension.Speak with an Experienced Los Angeles DUI Defense Attorney About Your Case Today
If you are facing DUI charges in Los Angeles, having an experienced DUI defense lawyer in your corner can make the difference in your case. At the Killedjian Law Corporation, we represent clients in both criminal and administrative DUI hearings, defending their freedom as well as their right to drive. Attorney Melanie Killedjian is immediately available to meet with you to discuss your case and provide you with an overview of how she can help. We also represent clients in other types of vehicle crimes, including reckless driving. To learn more, and to schedule a free consultation with Attorney Melanie Killedjian at the Killedjian Law Corporation, call (818) 986-0888 today. You can also connect with us through our online contact form.