Los Angeles DUI Lawyer

According to the most recent California DUI statistics, there were nearly 1,500 alcohol-involved fatalities in 2007.

That may not seem like many, considering there were more than 200,000 DUI arrests, but once you realize that 1,500 people left behind their parents, siblings, children, spouses, friends, and other loved ones, the number becomes staggering.

Due to these high numbers, in 2011, California join many other states by allowing the Department of Motor Vehicles to immediately suspend the driver’s license of anyone suspected of driving under the influence. This law, know as Admin Per Se, enables law enforcement to confiscate a suspected offenders driver’s license. The license is then sent to the DMV, where it is held until the predetermined suspension time is over or the charge is found to have no merit at a hearing.

From 2003 to 2012, over 10,000 individuals were killed in a car accident with a drunk driver. Every one of those 10,000 individuals had a family, friends, children, parents, and hopes and dreams for their future.

Because of these sobering numbers, California has strict penalties for DUI offenders and many laws to keep drunk driving in check. For example, in 2011, California joined many other states by allowing the Department of Motor Vehicles to immediately suspend the driver’s license of anyone suspected of driving under the influence; this law, known as Admin Per Se, enables law enforcement to confiscate a suspected offenders driver’s license. However, you are given 10 days to request an Admin Per Se hearing to determine whether your license will be suspended and you are allowed to continue to drive on a temporary license until the outcome of your Admin Per Se hearing.  Additionally, if someone under the age of 21 is found to be transporting alcohol that is unopened, their license can be suspended.

Whether you are facing your first DUI charge, a suspended license, or something else – or if you’ve had multiple DUI offenses already and you’re nervous about the penalties you may face – contact our Los Angeles criminal defense attorney Brian Hurwitz.

Attorney Brian Hurwitz has years of experience representing individuals charged with a DUI or other alcohol-related charges in the state of California. He has built relationships with judges across Los Angeles and represents his clients zealously. Attorney Brian Hurwitz will relentlessly fight for your rights all the way to trial and answer any questions you may have along the way. If you or a loved one is facing a DUI charge, call our office to find out how we can help you.

 

California DUI Defined

Per California’s driving under the influence (DUI) laws, it is illegal to operate a motor vehicle with any of the following blood alcohol concentration (BAC) percentages:

  • 08% or higher – 21 years old or older operating a regular passenger vehicle.
  • 04% or higher – operating a commercial vehicle.
  • 01% or higher (zero tolerance) – younger than 21 years old.

 

If you are found to have above these BAC percentages, you will be charged with a DUI.

The state’s DUI laws include medications, too. You can’t legally drive if you’ve consumed illegal drugs or:

  • Excessive amounts of drugs with alcohol in them (such as cough syrup).
  • Prescription medication.
  • Over-the-counter medication.

Additionally, if you’re under 21, you are not allowed to carry alcohol in your vehicle unless you are with a parent or legal guardian or have a commercial license proving the transportation of alcohol is necessary for your work. Even then, the alcohol must be full, unopened, and sealed.

DUI convictions stay on your driving record for 10 years and can result in your license being revoked (sometimes for years) as well as jail time and significant fines.

For DUI charges, contact our Los Angeles criminal defense attorney. Our firm has been involved in representing many cases like yours in Los Angeles, and can provide legal support that advocates for your rights. Don’t gamble with your future – give us a call today.

 

Understand Your DUI Penalties

Not all DUI penalties or charges are the same. Depending on your age, license type, and any previous convictions, you could face a variety of different penalties, from DUI school to jail time. These penalties tend to become more serious as the number of offenses increases; that is why it is important to hire a Los Angeles criminal defense attorney early in your case, whether this is your first or fourth offense.

Some possible penalties you could face include:

  • Admin Per Se license suspension.
  • Criminal license suspension
  • Jail time or community service.
  • DUI school.
  • Installation of an ignition interlock device (IID).
  • SR-22 filing.

 

You could lose your license and your job (especially if you work in transportation), and still be faced with hundreds of dollars in fines. Even if you’re under 21, and even if it was your first offense, you can have your license suspended and heavy fines for a DUI.

Hire our LA defense lawyer to help you navigate the legal system, understand your rights, and plead for a result that will achieve your goals. Attorney Brian Hurwitz has advocated for individuals like you in courts across Los Angeles County, and has built relationships with many judges and prosecutors in the area. He offers a wealth of experience and knowledge that can help you reach an ideal result, rather than face years of financial and legal struggle following your DUI.

 

Admin Per Se Penalties

An Admin Per Se suspension occurs when the police officer takes your license after you fail or refuse a chemical test.

This action is taken by the CA Department of Motor Vehicles, under Admin Per Se laws and is in addition to any criminal charges given when refusing or failing a BAC test.

The police officer will issue an Order of Suspension and a temporary license. The officer’s report, your license and any other information is then sent to the DMV. The DMV then will conduct a review.

This review can set aside the suspension. You also have the right to request a hearing if you believe the suspension is unjustified; however, you must request an administrative hearing within 10 days of receiving the suspension order.

If you feel the suspension of your license due to your refusal of a chemical test was unnecessary and unjustified, call our Los Angeles criminal defense attorney Brian Hurwitz. Attorney Brian Hurwitz is available to clients even after regular working hours, and offers years of experience in DUI charges. Our LA defense lawyer can help you handle an Admin Per Se penalty in a way that increases the possibility of having your license returned.

 

Chemical Test Refusal Penalties

You face harsher Admin Per Se license suspension penalties if you refuse to submit to a chemical test upon being pulled over for suspicion of drunk driving.

These penalties are as follows:

  • First Offense: Suspended for 1 year.
  • Second Offense: Revoked for 2 years.
  • Third Offense: Revoked for 3 years.

 

DUI Penalties: Younger than 21

Drivers younger than 21 years old face two kinds of alcohol-related offenses, and both affect their driving privileges: possessing alcohol, and violating the Zero Tolerance Law. If you’re under 21 and you are facing a DUI, you could be facing fines of over $1,000, loss of your vehicle, loss of your license, and more. Because of this, it’s important to hire a criminal defense attorney now to review your case and fight for you in court.

Keep reading for more information on the possible charges facing you if you’re under 21 with a DUI charge:

Possession of Alcohol

If you’re younger than 21 years old, you can’t possess alcohol in your vehicle unless the container is full, sealed, and unopened.

But that’s not all. Even if the container is full, sealed, and unopened, to legally possess alcohol, you also must either:

  • Be with a parent or legal guardian; or
  • Be working for a person with an off-site liquor license.

This means, if you’re caught with beer or hard liquor in your car – even if it was unopened and you weren’t drinking before you drove – you could be charged with possession of alcohol.

Breaking this law leads to:

  • Vehicle impoundment for 30 days.
  • Fines of up to $1,000.
  • License suspension for 1 year.

 

These, however, are the maximum possible rulings. With good legal help, you can reach a better result for your case. Call our Los Angeles criminal defense attorney for advice on how to handle your case if you’re under 21 and facing a possession of alcohol charge.

 

Zero Tolerance Law

The Zero Tolerance Law is exactly what it sounds like: California won’t tolerate any amount of alcohol (specifically, 0.01% or higher) for drivers younger than 21 years old.

The first time you’re charged with drunk driving, you face:

  • License suspension for 1 year (under the Admin Per Se Laws).
  • Criminal charges.
  • DUI school.
  • Hundreds of dollars in fines.

 

These penalties alone can place a heavy burden on your life; paying hundreds in fines while attempting to find a ride to work because of your suspended license can be extremely difficult. If this is your first DUI, and you’re under 21, call our office and ask for our LA defense lawyer for help with your case.

If this is your second offense (or subsequent), your penalties will likely be even harsher. Our DUI attorney will inform you of the longer suspension periods, higher fines, and more stringent DUI programs you face if you have a second or subsequent offense.

NOTE: Your suspension period is based on whether you submitted to the chemical test. See “Chemical Test Refusal Penalties” below for more information.

 

DUI Penalties: 21 or Older

Penalties are harsher for individuals 21 or older who are caught with a DUI.

Some possible penalties for a first offense include:

  • license suspension per the state’s Admin Per Se policy for at least 4 months.
  • Up to 6 months in jail.
  • Up to $1,000 in fines. Keep in mind additional penalty fines and legal fees.
  • $125 fee for license reissue.
  • Installation of an ignition interlock device.
  • DUI program. The length varies depending on factors like your BAC at the time of arrest.
  • SR-22 filing.

 

After your first DUI, you could face hundreds in fees, lose your job, and have difficulty finding transportation to a new job. It’s important to hire a Los Angeles criminal defense attorney as soon as you are charged with a DUI so that you ensure you will obtain the best result for your case.

If this is your second offense, or one of many offenses, your penalties will be greater than those for a first offense.

The California Driver Handbook describes penalties for second and subsequent DUI offenses as “increased,” meaning you will face longer jail time and more expensive fines, in addition to the DUI program and SR-22 filing requirement.

Your license suspension and revocation periods change, too. For example, a second or subsequent offense within 10 years of your prior offense brings license suspension or revocation for at least 1 year.

More offenses means more penalties; if you try to navigate the system alone and continue to be charged with DUIs, your penalties will increase as well. That’s why it’s critical, whether this is your first offense or your third, to contact our Los Angeles criminal defense attorney. Attorney Brian Hurwitz will fight for fair representation of your rights, and can help you navigate the legal system to avoid excessive and possibly devastating penalties.

 

Commercial Driver DUI Penalties

Commercial drivers caught with a BAC of 0.04% or higher while operating a commercial vehicle can expect the following license suspension periods:

  • First Offense: License suspended for one year
  • Second and Subsequent Offenses (in a 10-year period): License suspended permanently

Also, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) Disqualification of Drivers wields a big hand when it comes to commercial drivers and the offenses that disqualify them – sometimes permanently – from having a valid CDL.

Note that these suspension periods are in addition to any fines, jail time, and DUI programs the CA DMV and court system impose.

A DUI conviction could cause you to lose your ability to work in your industry forever – that’s why it’s crucial that you hire one of the best criminal defense firms in Los Angeles to represent you. You don’t want to gamble with your career. If you’re a commercial driver facing a DUI conviction, especially if it’s a second offense, give our Los Angeles criminal defense attorney Brian Hurwitz a call.

 

Other DUI Penalties

CA Ignition Interlock Device

You may be ordered to install an ignition interlock device (IID) into your car as part of your DUI penalties.

An IID is a small gadget wired to your vehicle’s ignition that requires breath samples before you can start your vehicle, as well as periodically throughout your drive. If an IID detects alcohol on your breath, the vehicle won’t start.

You may be required to have an IID installed if:

  • You had a BAC of at least 0.15%.
  • You had moving violations prior to the DUI.
  • You refused the chemical test.
  • You’re convicted of a DUI in Alameda, Los Angeles, Sacramento, or Tulare Counties.

 

If you are required to have an IID installed, you will be given forms and procedure instructions for monitoring the installation and use of your IID. You can expect to pay various fees and related costs, as well, including administrative service fees and restriction fees.

California provides a list of IID providers. Make sure the provider you choose is licensed in the state; some providers are not licensed and therefore would not fulfill court requirements for an IID.

An IID might be installed as part of a restricted driver’s’ license program. More information on applying for a restricted license is below.

 

California Three Strikes Law

California’s Three Strikes Law delivers certain sentences to people who commit multiple serious and violent felonies – specifically, upon a “third strike,” a convict receives a life sentence with the possibility of parole only after 25 years.

Proposition 36 revised which crimes warrant life sentences, authorized re-sentencing, and detailed when to maintain life sentences.

Some CA DUI offenses fall under the Three Strikes Law. These include the most serious offenses – those that involve severe injuries and death. Not only do you face extended jail time, longer (or even permanent) license revocation, and higher fines and court costs, but you might also face civil lawsuits.

If your case falls under the state’s Three Strikes Law, don’t try to navigate the court system alone; seek legal representation as soon as possible. A DUI Three Strikes Law verdict could change your life forever; that’s not a risk you should take. At our law office, LA defense lawyer Brian Hurwitz personally handles every case. He’s available weekends and evenings to discuss case details and answer questions, and he’s spent years representing clients like you in DUI cases. If your case is considered a third strike, give us a call for the best criminal defense attorney in Los Angeles.

 

When to Hire a Los Angeles DUI Attorney

Most DUI suspects must appear in court. Regardless of how you plan to plead, it’s best to hire a DUI attorney to help you get the best possible outcome, as well as provide assistance navigating your DUI penalties.

Good legal help at your side can be the difference between many years of setbacks and continuing with your life even after a DUI conviction. DUI penalties can include loss of your license and jail time, which can result in losing your job, having difficulty finding housing after prison, and child custody rights. With a good LA defense lawyer, you can ensure that your case ends with a result that gives you a chance to continue your life even after a night of poor judgement.

As one of the best criminal defense firms in Los Angeles, we take pride in relentlessly fighting for our clients’ fair representation. If you’re facing a DUI charge, give us a call. We’ll work to have all factors considered in your case and give you a second chance.

 

Enrolling in the CA DUI Program

All DUI convictions require drivers to complete a DUI program. The course length varies based on your BAC and any previous DUI convictions.

Your DUI lawyer will inform you of your DUI program requirements, but you can review the state’s Department of Health Care Services DUI programs for an overview.

If you have any questions about required DUI programs, call our LA defense lawyer Brian Hurwitz.

 

Applying for a Restricted License

Restricted licenses allow you to drive to and from places designated by your court, and are available for some DUI offenders. If a restricted license would help you, you can apply for it at the DMV. However, not everyone is eligible to apply for a restricted license.

You might be eligible to apply for a restricted license if:

  • This isn’t your third or subsequent DUI offense in the last 10 years.
  • You agreed to the chemical test.
  • Your license wasn’t already suspended or revoked.

 

If you believe you’re eligible for a restricted license, follow these steps to apply:

  • Request the application from the DMV after the mandatory suspension of 30 days is up.
  • Pay the $125 fee to reissue your license (or a $100 fee if you’re younger than 21 years old and the judge deems you can have one).
  • Enroll in the DUI First Offender Program and get the instructor to file Proof of Enrollment Certificate (Form DL 804) with the DMV.
  • Meet certain financial responsibility requirements, such as filing an SR-22 or providing a $35,000 cash deposit, surety bond, or self insurer certificate.
  • Install an IID, a possibility for some drivers.

 

Reinstating your CA Driver’s License

Generally, you can reinstate your CA driver’s license after a DUI. Your ability to reinstate your license relies on a number of requirements being met.

Some of these, depending on your verdict, might include:

  • Pay all applicable fines and other fees (including your license reissue fee).
  • Complete any jail time, community service, or other probation order.
  • Successfully complete the DUI program, if ordered, as well as any ordered alcohol or drug treatment programs.
  • Keep your ignition interlock device for the ordered amount of time, if applicable.
  • Finish your suspension or revocation period.
  • File your SR-22 (see below) or present other state-approved proof of financial responsibility.

 

For more details specific to your case, contact the DMV or the court handling your case. With a good DUI attorney, like our LA defense lawyer Brian Hurwitz, these consequences could be lessened to fit your situation. Give us a call for more information on how we can help you come to a satisfactory verdict with your DUI, one that allows you to continue moving forward in your life.

 

SR-22: Car Insurance and Proof of Financial Responsibility

You will have to file proof of financial responsibility in order to get your driving privileges back; this includes criminal and Admin Per Se suspension.

Most often, drivers rely on an SR-22 filing. An SR-22 is a type of financial responsibility certificate that proves you’re carrying the state’s required minimum liability coverage. Your insurance provider can file this form with the CA DMV.

You do have other options, though. For example, you can:

  • Post a $35,000 cash bond.
  • Post a surety bond.
  • Self insure.

SR-22 is the most common choice because of its simplicity and ease of filing. If you need more information on an SR-22, contact your insurance company.

 

Hire a DUI Attorney Today

If you or one of your loved ones is facing DUI charges, don’t navigate the legal system alone. Attorney Brian Hurwitz will fight for you, helping you make a strong case and come to the best result possible. A DUI can affect your life significantly.  However, with the right legal help by your side, you can assure a the best outcome for your situation. Give our LA defense lawyer a call to learn more about how we can help you with your DUI charge.

Contact your Los Angeles DUI lawyer today!

 

Per California’s driving under the influence (DUI) laws, it’s illegal to operate a motor vehicle with any of the following blood alcohol concentration (BAC) percentages:

  • 0.08% or higher? 21 years old or older operating a regular passenger vehicle.
  • 0.04% or higher?operating a commercial vehicle.
  • 0.01% or higher?younger than 21 years old.

The state’s DUI laws include medications, too. You can’t legally drive if you’ve consumed illegal drugs or:

  • Excessive amounts of drugs with alcohol in them (such as cough syrup).
  • Prescription medication.
  • Over-the-counter medication.

DUI convictions stay on your driving record for 10 years.

Understand Your DUI Penalties

Not all DUI penalties or charges are the same. Depending on your age, license type, and any previous convictions, you could face:

  • Admin Per Se license suspension.
  • Criminal license suspension
  • Fines.
  • Jail time or community service.
  • DUI school.
  • Installation of an ignition interlock device (IID).
  • SR-22 filing.

An Admin Per Se suspension occurs when the officer takes your license after you fail or refuse a chemical test. This action is taken by the CA Department of Motor Vehicles, under Admin Per Se laws and is in addition to any criminal charges given when refusing or failing a BAC test.

The officer will issue an Order of Suspension and possibly a temporary license. The officer’s report, your license and any other information is then sent to the DMV. The DMV then will conduct a review. This review can set aside the suspension. You also have the right to request a hearing if you believe the suspension is unjustified. You must request an administrative hearing within 10 days of receiving the suspension order.

You face harsher Admin Per Se license suspension penalties if you refuse to submit to a chemical test upon being pulled over for suspicion of drunk driving.

Younger than 21 years old

  • First Offense: Suspended for 1 year.
  • Second Offense: Revoked for 2 years.
  • Third Offense: Revoked for 3 years.

21 years old or Older

  • First Offense: Suspended for 1 year.
  • Second Offense: Revoked for 2 years.
  • Third Offense: Revoked for 3 years.

Drivers younger than 21 years old face two kinds of alcohol-related offenses, and both affect their driving privileges: possessing alcohol, and violating the Zero Tolerance Law.

Possession of Alcohol

If you’re younger than 21 years old, you can’t possess alcohol in your vehicle unless the container is full, sealed, and unopened. You also must either:

  • Be with a parent or legal guardian.
    • or
  • Be working for a person with an off-site liquor license.

Breaking this law leads to:

  • Vehicle impoundment for 30 days.
  • Fines of up to $1,000.
  • License suspension for 1 year.

Zero Tolerance Law

The Zero Tolerance Law is exactly what it sounds like: California won’t tolerate any amount of alcohol (specifically, 0.01% or higher) for drivers younger than 21 years old.

The first time you’re charged with drunk driving, you face:

  • License suspension for 1 year (under the Admin Per Se Laws).
  • Criminal charges.
  • DUI school.
  • Hundreds of dollars in fines.

Your DUI attorney and judge will inform you of the longer suspension periods, higher fines, and more stringent DUI programs you face if you have a second or subsequent offense.

NOTE: Your suspension period is based on whether you submitted to the chemical test. See “Chemical Test Refusal Penalties” below for more information.

First Offense

  • Immediate license suspension per the state’s Admin Per Se policy for at least 4 months.
  • Up to 6 months in jail.
  • Up to $1,000 in fines. Keep in mind additional penalty fines and legal fees.
  • $125 fee for license reissue.
  • Installation of an ignition interlock device.
  • DUI program. The length varies depending on factors like your BAC at the time of arrest.
  • SR-22 filing.

Second and Subsequent Offenses

The California Driver Handbook describes penalties for second and subsequent DUI offenses as “increased,” meaning you will face longer jail time and more expensive fines, in addition to the DUI program and SR-22 filing requirement.

Your license suspension and revocation periods change, too. For example, a second or subsequent offense within 10 yearsof your prior offense brings license suspension or revocation for at least 1 year.

Because penalties beyond first offenses are dependent upon the offense number, it’s best to contact a CA DUI attorneyfor help.

Commercial drivers caught with a BAC of 0.04% or higher while operating a commercial vehicle can expect the following license suspension periods:

  • First Offense: 1 year
  • Second and Subsequent Offenses (in a 10-year period): Permanently

Note that these suspension periods are in addition to any fines, jail time, and DUI programs the CA DMV and court system impose.

Also, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) Disqualification of Drivers wields a big hand when it comes to commercial drivers and the offenses that disqualify them?sometimes permanently?from having a valid CDL.

CA Ignition Interlock Device

You may be ordered to install an ignition interlock device (IID) into your car as part of your DUI penalties.

An IID is a small gadget wired to your vehicle’s ignition that requires breath samples before you can start your vehicle, as well as periodically throughout your drive. If an IID detects alcohol on your breath, the vehicle won’t start.

You may be required to have an IID installed if:

  • You had a BAC of at least 0.15%.
  • You had moving violations prior to the DUI.
  • You refused the chemical test.
  • You’re convicted in Alameda, Los Angeles, Sacramento, or Tulare Counties.

You will be given forms and procedure instructions for monitoring the installation and use of your IID. Expect to pay various fees and related costs, including administrative service fees and restriction fees.

California provides a list of IID providers. Make sure the provider you choose is licensed in the state.

California’s Three Strikes Law delivers certain sentences to people who commit multiple serious and violent felonies?specifically, upon a “third strike,” a convict receives a life sentence with the possibility of parole only after 25 years.

Proposition 36 revised which crimes warrant life sentences, authorized re-sentencing, and detailed when to maintain life sentences.

Some CA DUI offenses fall under the Three Strikes Law. These include the most serious offenses?those that involve severe injuries and death. Not only do you face extended jail time, longer (or even permanent) license revocation, and higher fines and court costs, but you might also face civil lawsuits.

If your case falls under the state’s Three Strikes Law, don’t try to navigate the court system alone; seek legal representation as soon as possible.

Most DUI suspects must appear in court. Regardless of how you plan to plead, it’s best to hire a DUI attorney to help you get the best possible outcome, as well as provide assistance navigating your DUI penalties.

All DUI convictions require drivers to complete a DUI program. The course length varies based on your BAC and any previous DUI convictions.

Your judge and DUI lawyer will inform you of your DUI program requirements, but you can review the state’s Department of Health Care Services DUI programs for an overview.

Restricted licenses allow you to drive to and from places designated by your court, and are available for some DUI offenders.

You might be eligible if:

  • This isn’t your second or subsequent DUI offense in the last 10 years.
  • You agreed to the chemical test.
  • Your license wasn’t already suspended or revoked.

To apply for the restricted license:

  • Request the application from the DMV after the mandatory suspension of 30 days is up.
  • Pay the $125 fee to reissue your license (or a $100 fee if you’re younger than 21 years old and the judge deems you can have one).
  • Enroll in the DUI First Offender Program and get the instructor to file Proof of Enrollment Certificate (Form DL 804) with the DMV.
  • Meet certain financial responsibility requirements, such as filing an SR-22 or providing a $35,000 cash deposit, surety bond, or self insurer certificate.
  • Install an IID, a possibility for some drivers.

Generally, you can reinstate your CA driver’s license after a DUI once you:

  • Pay all applicable fines and other fees (including your license reissue fee).
  • Complete any jail time, community service, or other probation order.
  • Successfully complete the DUI program, if ordered, as well as any ordered alcohol or drug treatment programs.
  • Keep your ignition interlock device for the ordered amount of time, if applicable.
  • Finish your suspension or revocation period.
  • File your SR-22 (see below) or present other state-approved proof of financial responsibility.

For more details specific to your case, contact the DMV or the court handling your case.

SR-22: Car Insurance and Proof of Financial Responsibility

You will have to file proof of financial responsibility in order to get your driving privileges back; this includes criminal and Admin Per Se suspension.

Most often, drivers rely on an SR-22 filing. An SR-22 is a type of financial responsibility certificate that proves you’re carrying the state’s required minimum liability coverage. Your insurance provider can file this form with the CA DMV.

You do have other options, though. For example, you can:

  • Post a $35,000 cash bond.
  • Post a surety bond.
  • Self insure.

You probably can see why an SR-22 is the most common choice.

 

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