DUI

In the majority of DUI cases, the defendant will be charged with two separate offenses. Vehicle Code section 23152(a) makes it illegal to operate a motor vehicle while under the influence of an alcoholic beverage, while vehicle code section 23152(b) makes it illegal to operate a motor vehicle with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.08%. While a defendant might be convicted of both of these crimes, they merge for purposes of sentencing. This means a person who is convicted of these crimes will not be punished for both of them.
In a typical first offense DUI where probation is granted, a defendant may be sentenced from 3 to 5 years of summary probation, 3 to 9 months of alcohol classes, and a fine of up to $1000 plus penalty assessment (anytime the court imposes a penalty assessment you can assume your fine will be nearly quadrupled). The Court may, and the DMV very likely will, suspend your driver’s license until completion of the alcohol classes. Depending on the circumstances, a court may impose much more severe sanctions including stiffer fines, a longer term of alcohol classes and even jail time. Sometimes the court requires attendance at Alcoholics Anonymous meetings, a Victim’s Impact Program or the Hospital and Morgue Program (HAM). Presently Los Angeles County is part of a pilot program in which an Ignition Interlock Device (IID) may be installed in your vehicle. This device intermittently requires clean breath samples in order to prevent it from disabling your vehicle.
There are a significant number of defenses available to someone accused of DUI which may help to get a charge dismissed, reduced or even to prevail at trial. Among these are: 1) Not being lawfully arrested or detained; 2) An officer’s or forensic toxicologist’s failure to comply with Title 17 which is the law that regulates the administration and maintenance of alcohol testing devices and the training of those who administer them; 3) The officer did not observe you driving; 4) You suffer from a medical condition such as GERD or acid reflux; 5) The defendant’s BAC reading was so close to the legal limit that he may have actually been below it owing to some of the inherent unreliability of breath testing instruments, e.g. inconsistent partition ratios or an acceptable error rate of up to .02%; 6) Rising blood alcohol, i.e. the blood or breath tests administered indicate that the defendant’s BAC was rising because it had yet to reach peak absorption, or in other words, the defendant’s BAC might have been below the legal limit at the time he was actually driving.
If you are arrested for DUI it is important that you contact a criminal defense attorney immediately in order to preserve your rights. If you do not request a hearing with the DMV within 10 days of your arrest, they will suspend your license without an opportunity to contest it. A former prosecutor can ensure that you are afforded all your rights, and the best possible result is attained be it a reduced charge or penalty or a victory at trial.

The information contained on this website represents opinion only and is not intended to, nor should be relied on as legal advice of any kind. Should you wish to consult with an attorney, contact an attorney at the Law Office of Jesse Terrell at (323) 638-4712.
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