DUI Lawyer in Los Angeles
Being arrested for DUI in Los Angeles can have grave repercussions. Just having a DUI conviction on your record may result in strained family ties, employment woes, housing opportunity restrictions, and an increase in your insurance premiums. Consequently, when facing a possible DUI conviction in Los Angeles, it is imperative that you hire the best DUI lawyer in Los Angeles you can find to represent you-one highly familiar with the potential defenses to a DUI charge.
California DUI Vehicle Code 23152(a) VC Charges
According to the California Vehicle Code 23152 VC:
(a) It is unlawful for a person who is under the influence of any alcoholic beverage to drive a vehicle.
(b) It is unlawful for a person who has 0.08 percent or more, by weight, of alcohol in his or her blood to drive a vehicle.
For purposes of this article and Section 34501.16, percent, by weight, of alcohol in a person’s blood is based upon grams of alcohol per 100 milliliters of blood or grams of alcohol per 210 liters of breath.
In any prosecution under this subdivision, it is a rebuttable presumption that the person had 0.08 percent or more, by weight, of alcohol in his or her blood at the time of driving the vehicle if the person had 0.08 percent or more, by weight, of alcohol in his or her blood at the time of the performance of a chemical test within three hours after the driving.
(c) It is unlawful for a person who is addicted to the use of any drug to drive a vehicle. This subdivision shall not apply to a person who is participating in a narcotic treatment program approved pursuant to Article 3 (commencing with Section 11875) of Chapter 1 of Part 3 of Division 10.5 of the Health and Safety Code.
Effective July 1, 2018, California Uber and Lyft Drivers charged with DUI if blood alcohol level is 0.04 percent or more.
Vehicle Code 23152(e) VC for Uber and Lyft Drivers
(e) Commencing July 1, 2018, it shall be unlawful for a person who has 0.04 percent or more, by weight, of alcohol in his or her blood to drive a motor vehicle when a passenger for hire is a passenger in the vehicle at the time of the offense. For purposes of this subdivision, “passenger for hire” means a passenger for whom consideration is contributed or expected as a condition of carriage in the vehicle, whether directly or indirectly flowing to the owner, operator, agent, or any other person having an interest in the vehicle. In a prosecution under this subdivision, it is a rebuttable presumption that the person had 0.04 percent or more, by weight, of alcohol in his or her blood at the time of driving the vehicle if the person had 0.04 percent or more, by weight, of alcohol in his or her blood at the time of the performance of a chemical test within three hours after the driving.
Potential DUI Defenses
DUI charges can be charged as either a misdemeanor or felony depending upon the circumstances of the incident that caused your arrest and whether or not someone was injured or killed. However, the defenses that Los Angeles DUI defense attorneys use for either a misdemeanor or felony are the same regardless of the circumstances. Potential defenses for DUI charges that Los Angeles DUI defense attorney use frequently include:
- Illegal Stop – A police officer illegally stopped you. An illegal police stop in Los Angeles generally bars further prosecution.
- A Claim By Police That You Were Pulled Over Because You Were Driving Badly – Police sometimes justify a DUI stop by claiming that a person was driving badly, say for swerving or speeding. Poor driving alone is not enough to justify a DUI arrest and charge. Poor driving may be caused by a number of things that don”t include alcohol consumption.
- A Claim By Police That You Exhibited “Signs of Impairment” – A claim of “signs of Impairment” is an unreliable DUI indicator. Just because the police report says that you had slurred speech, smelled of alcohol, had red and watery eyes, or an unsteady gait, doesn”t mean you were drunk. There are other explanations for signs of impairment that are often unrelated to alcohol consumption. People who are tired, injured or suffering from a medical condition can easily display symptoms that could be categorized as showing “signs of impairment” unrelated to alcohol.
- The Police Officer Misread Your Field Sobriety Test – If you performed your Field Sobriety Test well, you were probably not DUI. A police officer”s false or unwarranted assertion that you failed a Field Sobriety Test?a subjective opinion?should always be challenged in court.
- Rising Blood Alcohol Defense – DUI convictions in Los Angeles generally require a casinortakest BAC greater than .08 percent of the time you were driving, not at the time a blood test or breath test was taken. If your BAC was greater than .08 percent at the time of the breath or blood test (usually administered at least one hour or more after the DUI stop), your BAC could have increased during the time you were waiting for the test to be performed. This could mean that at the time you were actually stopped, your BAC was below .08 percent a statistic worth challenging at trial.
- Breath Test Machine Malfunction – Breath test machines are required to be regularly serviced to make sure they are functioning correctly and providing accurate results. Sometimes, breath machine records can indicate that a particular breath machine was having mechanical problems that might be responsible for false readings and inaccurate BAC results. A difference of just .01 percent is critical when determining if a person was driving under the influence. A Los Angeles DUI defense attorney should always examine breath machine maintenance and calibration records as part of your DUI defense process.
- An Independent Blood Retest – Every DUI defendant has the right to a blood retest by a lab not associated with law enforcement. An independent lab can be used to determine if the police station”s BAC lab accurately determined your BAC level and if the blood used was properly stored and preserved?either of which can result in an inaccurate BAC reading.
- The Police Failed to Follow Required Procedures in Your Arrest – Every arrest requires that police follow certain procedures to assure that the arrest is valid. For instance, in the case of DUI breath tests, police are required to monitor suspects for 15 minutes before administering a breath test. If the officer did not wait the required amount of time between the sampling of your breath, you may have a “failed to follow procedure defense.” Also, if the officer failed to fill out the DMV paperwork correctly or failed to follow other procedural rules, you may have a defense that will leave prosecutors with no case against you.
Defenses for DUI Charge in California
A solid DUI defense is your best bet for having a DUI charge dropped. Consequently, it is important to take notes immediately after a DUI arrest so you”ll have concrete facts for your Los Angeles DUI criminal defense attorney to examine and work out a proper defense for you. In any type of arrest, it is important to record as much as possible about the events leading up to your arrest as well as how the police handled you so as to formulate a workable defense for trial.
A seasoned Criminal Defense Attorney Los Angeles, CA, R.J. Manuelian regularly writes about various topics concerning criminal defense. He appears on local newscasts, lectures at local colleges, and has authored legal articles, all geared toward educating the public about criminal law and the ramifications of being arrested in California for a crime.