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Los Angeles Felony DUI Defense: Protect Your Rights

An alternative option is to apply for a restricted license through the DMV. This is often an option for first-time DUI offenders and sometimes for second-time DUI offenders as well. These licenses require you to adhere to the following limitations:

  • You pay applicable fees and restricted license expenses, generally equating to about $125.
  • An ignition interlock device (IID) must be installed on your car. This prevents the vehicle from starting until you pass a breathalyzer test.
  • You must agree not to drive any other cars that do not have an IID installed.
  • You must file an SR 22, which is a document proving that you have valid auto insurance.

Again, your DUI defense attorney will be able to advise you on the proper procedure and whether a restricted license is a wise choice for you.

What most people want to know is how severe their punishment will be for a DUI. This is a natural question to have, as DUI charges can easily affect your life in a significant way. Unfortunately, there is no cut-and-dry DUI charge that can be spelled out. A lot of DUI sentences depend upon the age of the driver, the blood alcohol content of the driver, if there were any injuries or fatalities, and how many previous DUIs the driver has. Though this is not an exact science, there are ways to estimate what charges a DUI offender may receive based on general criteria.

Understanding First-Time DUI Penalties in Los Angeles

Unlike some other crimes, first-time DUIs still face significant consequences. However, these consequences are usually less severe than those given to drivers with multiple offenses. If you receive your first DUI, your charges may include:

  • Fines and fees of $300-$2,000.
  • Three to nine months of classes about DUIs, and participation in a victim impact group. Both of these often carry additional fees or financial obligations.
  • Three to five years of probation under the category of a misdemeanor.
  • A six-month license suspension, except in situations in which the driver receives a restricted license with an IID.
  • Work release or up to six months of jail time, depending on the local laws.

Depending on your situation, you may receive all these consequences, or you may receive only a few. Your consequences may also depend on your attorney’s ability to properly argue your case to the judge.

Consequences of a Second DUI Offense in LA

Though first-time DUI consequences are no joke, the ramifications of multiple DUI charges only compound in severity. For a second DUI charge, you can generally expect consequences such as:

  • Fines and fees of $390-$4,000.
  • A minimum of 96 hours in jail, though the court may charge you with up to one year in jail.
  • A two-year license suspension. If you are arrested while driving under the influence of alcohol, you may apply for a restricted license right away. If you are caught driving under the influence of drugs, you must serve a 12-month suspension before applying for a restricted license.
  • Three to five years of probation under the category of a misdemeanor.
  • Eighteen to 30 months of classes about DUIs.

It is much more likely for you to receive time in jail for a second DUI, regardless of whether anyone was injured. Overall, you are likely to receive more of the above punishments, and the fees can be debilitating.

Escalating Penalties for a Third DUI in Los Angeles

A third DUI is the last stop before a DUI changes from a misdemeanor to a felony. Though it is still considered a misdemeanor, the punishments increase in severity from a second DUI. Consequences include:

  • Fines and fees of $390-$4,000.
  • A minimum of 120 days (four months) in jail, though the court may charge you with up to one year in jail.
  • A three-year license suspension.
  • Three to five years of probation under the category of a misdemeanor.
  • Eighteen to 30 months of classes about DUIs.

As you can see, jail time significantly increases for a third DUI, though many other consequences are similar to a second offense.

Severe Impact of a Fourth DUI: Felony Charges in LA

If you are arrested and convicted of a fourth DUI, your charges will be felony charges. This means 16 months to four years in prison and a fine of $390-$5,000. The law has very little lenience for four-time DUI offenders. If you have a felony DUI and receive another DUI within 10 years, that DUI will also be considered a felony, regardless of the circumstances.

Understanding Felony DUI Charges in Los Angeles

It is important to understand that you do not have to have four DUIs for your charge to be classified as a felony. The above criteria for DUIs only apply if no one got hurt. It is a different story if there is injury or death involved, no matter how many DUIs are on your record. These felony charges can include:

These charges all carry their own weight and consequences, which will vary depending on the circumstances. There is the possibility of serving life in prison for one of the above charges.

DUI Legal Ramifications for Underage Drivers in LA

Not all drivers who receive DUI charges are above the age of 18. Unfortunately, the law does not provide a significant amount of lenience for those under 18 charged with a DUI. A minor who obtains a DUI charge can expect some combination of the following consequences:

  • License privileges revoked for one year. If the youth has no alternative transportation to their place of employment or school, they may apply for a restricted license that is modified to be used only on an as-needed basis.
  • Informal or juvenile probation for three to five years.
  • Three to nine months of DUI classes.
  • Possibility of enrollment revocation from universities or colleges.

It is important to note that minors can be tried as adults if their DUI behavior results in injuries, fatalities, or multiple DUI charges.

Non-Legal Repercussions of a DUI in Los Angeles

It is important to remember that legal consequences are not the only type of consequences in the aftermath of a DUI. There are several other ways in which a DUI, even your first one, can impact your life. These areas include:

  • Higher insurance premiums.
  • Difficulty finding a job.
  • Difficulty finding desirable housing.
  • Fractured relationships with friends or family.
  • Increasingly harsh legal penalties if you are convicted of a second DUI in the future.

These consequences are not to be taken lightly, and they represent several reasons why it is essential to have a good Los Angeles defense attorney. The risks associated with representing oneself or hiring an incompetent lawyer are not worth it. Your livelihood is truly at stake, even after your first DUI offense.

Contact a Skilled Los Angeles DUI Attorney Today

Lines of Defense

After understanding the various degrees of consequences associated with driving under the influence, many people feel hopeless about the outcome of their case. This is because many people are under the mistaken impression that DUI cases are always cut and dry; if your blood alcohol content is above .08%, you are charged with a DUI. Fortunately, this is not the case. There are many ways in which a DUI case can be considered illegitimate or can otherwise be thrown out. With the right DUI defense attorney, there is a significantly higher chance of winning your case and facing no charges at all.

Illegal Traffic Stop

One major caveat to DUI cases is when they are discovered during an illegal traffic stop. According to traffic laws, an officer is not allowed to pull you over unless there is an indication that something is wrong. This is called probable cause. Unless the officer has a reason for pulling you over, it is an illegal traffic stop, and the case will likely be found invalid. Even if you are swerving, the officer cannot pull you over unless you cross a line that is marked on the pavement.

Accuracy of Blood Alcohol Test

Breathalyzers are incredibly imperfect pieces of equipment. They often malfunction and can easily yield the wrong results. It is common for individuals to be pulled over and accused of a DUI when they know their BAC should not be over the legal limit. In these cases, an attorney can argue that the breathalyzer or field sobriety test was faulty, and the evidence is illegitimate.

The Driver Was Not Driving

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Where Do I Start?

This process and information can be overwhelming. In all cases, your first step is to call Stein & Markus. We will be able to advise you about what to say and when to keep quiet. We will also walk you through the paperwork and clerical process to ensure that you meet deadlines and properly fill out the paperwork. Without your attorney involved, you will likely miss essential deadlines, and you may end up with additional fees or a revoked license.

The Law Office of Stein & Markus has over 50 years of combined experience fighting criminal defense cases. DUI charges are second nature to us, and we know exactly how to approach your situation so that you receive sympathy and leniency in court. We work tirelessly to understand your unique situation and accurately present an airtight case on your behalf. We know that DUIs are often honest mistakes, and we believe that everyone deserves a second chance. This is why we do what we do, and we are proud of our wonderful track record in fighting DUI charges.

Whether you face DUI charges or are simply a driver in Los Angeles, make sure you have our contact information on hand. Our professional firm is ready to assist you.

Commonly Asked DUI Questions

Despite the comprehensive information available, many people have specific questions concerning DUI charges. These are some questions that are pretty common for those who are charged with a DUI.

Will I Get Fired?

The answer depends on your place of employment. For many workplaces, a DUI charge will not affect employment. However, jobs that rely on employees driving or operating machinery, such as rideshare drivers, may be fired because of a DUI. Other occupations or places of employment require that their workers notify them if they have been arrested. Workplaces have different reasons for this rule, and you may lose your employment. However, it is best to disclose the situation quickly, as it generally becomes more of a problem overall if you try to hide your DUI.

Can I Remove My DUI From My Record?

In many cases, expungement of DUI charges is possible. However, this depends on the severity of your case, whether you are a repeat offender, and the details surrounding your DUI. Suppose you are a one-time offender and have taken significant steps to improve your lifestyle, habits, and standing in your community. In that case, there is a chance that you will be able to expunge your DUI charge after your probation is over.

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