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The winter holiday season is typically one of the busiest times of the year for Los Angeles DUI lawyers. This season however, is likely to be more demanding than usual. Law enforcement officers arrested more numbers of people for DUI this season in Los Angeles County, compared to the previous year.
According to the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department, there was an increase of at least 250 DUI arrests from 2010. Close to 1, 500 people were arrested for DUI over a 10-day period. Last year, during the same period of time, there had been 1, 260 arrests.
Additionally, the final number of arrests for this particular time is likely to be higher, because some agencies have still not submitted their final tally. The statistics are only for between midnight December 16 and midnight December 25. The final tally for the number of people arrested over the New Year's holiday has not come in yet. However, Los Angeles DUI attorneys expect the number of people arrested for DUI over the New Year's holiday to be higher than last year too, because this year's holiday also coincided with the weekend.
Los Angeles DUI attorneys find that maximum DUI enforcement action takes place during the hours between December 31 and the early hours of January 1. This time too, the New Year's holiday was marked by DUI checkpoints across the state, as well as checkpoints to check driver’s licenses. Additionally, there was a DUI task force which included the participation of multiple agencies as well as local DUI patrols. Law officers tend to find themselves under even more pressure to arrest people for DUI over the Christmas and New Year's holidays.
Los Angeles DUI Lawyer
Los Angeles DUI Lawyer
California DUI Law Overview
Driving under the influence (DUI) in Los Angeles is a commonplace, but very serious offense. If convicted, you may face imprisonment, fines, community service, and suspension of your driver’s license. Charges that are more serious can be filed against you depending on the circumstances, for example, when another person is injured or killed due to drunk driving. The most important thing you can do after an arrest for drunk driving is to contact a DUI attorney as soon as possible. The only chance of retaining you driver’s license or having the charges dropped or lessened is with an experienced Los Angeles DUI lawyer representing you.
California DUI Charges
There are two specific charges under California law for DUI offenses:
- California Vehicle Code 23152(a): driving while under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
- California Vehicle Code 23152(b): driving with a blood-alcohol concentration (BAC) of .08% or higher (the “per se” offense).
Even if your BAC is below .08%, you can still be charged under subsection (a) for driving under the influence if your abilities were impaired. If your BAC is above the legal limit, you will be charged with DUI under subsection (b), regardless of whether your abilities were impaired or not. Most often, drivers are charged with both offenses, but penalties are only applied to one of the offenses, rather than for both. If you refuse to submit to chemical testing, then you can only be charged with a DUI, and your penalties are enhanced if convicted.
California DUI Penalties
The actual DUI charge is handled in court where a sentence is decided. There is also an administrative hearing with the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) to determine whether to suspend or revoke your license. You must request a DMV hearing within 10 days of your arrest or your license will be automatically suspended. Penalties for a first time DUI offense are imposed by both the court and the DMV and can include any or all of the following:
- Probation: you may be subject to "summary" or informal probation.
- Jail Term: a minimum of 48 hours and a maximum of 6 months in the county jail.
- Fine: a fine will be assessed between $390 and $1,000.
- Court Costs: can possibly be substantially more than $1,000.
- Suspension of Driver’s License: your license will be suspended for at least four months, however the court may approve a temporary restricted license with proof of financial responsibility (California SR22 insurance required).
- DUI School: you must attend and successfully complete a “Driving Under the Influence Program.”
- Interlock Ignition Device: you may be ordered to install an ignition interlock device (breath analyzer) on your vehicle at your own expense.
California DUI Penalty Enhancements
California law provides for elevated penalties in certain circumstances. The most common reasons for enhancement include:
- excessive speeding
- driving with a minor under the age of 14
- occurrence of property damage, personal injury or death
- refusal of chemical testing
- blood-alcohol level over .15%
- your age is under 21 (“zero tolerance” laws require lower blood-alcohol concentrations and provide for longer license suspensions for those under 21)
- prior DUI convictions
Los Angeles DUI Attorney
If you have been arrested and charged with a DUI, proper legal representation is vital. You should contact an experienced and reputable Los Angeles DUI attorney as soon as possible. Depending upon your circumstances, the Law Offices of Elena Mebtahi may be able to have the case against you dismissed, the penalties reduced, or help you to keep your license.