Been Arrested for DUI?
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Los Angeles Attorney Brian Hurwitz: A Proven Winner!
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Important First Steps to Take after a DUI Arrest
Being arrested for driving under the influence can be frightening. Most California residents who are charged with a DUI offense are normal, upstanding, law-abiding citizens. All it takes is a momentary lapse in judgment or an unfortunate mistake for good people to find themselves being treated as criminals. If convicted of a DUI, individuals can face a range of serious consequences, including years of incarceration that may affect them for their entire lives. At Hurwitz Law Group, our goal is to obtain the best possible outcome from a highly stressful situation. Whether you have been charged with a misdemeanor or felony DUI, we will do whatever it takes to mitigate the negative consequences. Here are the steps you need to take to get the process rolling.
Step One: Contact Hurwitz Law Group
Following a DUI arrest, contact us right away. It is important that you fully understand the potential ramifications of a DUI conviction and that you learn what options are available to fight the charges. You do have options that may result in a lighter penalty or possible dismissal. So, it is important at this stage that you become as knowledgeable as possible in order to make a prudent decision regarding how to proceed. Our team at Hurwitz Law Group, led by Attorney Brian Hurwitz, has helped countless Los Angeles drivers get their licenses back and avoid stiff fines or imprisonment. The sooner you get in touch with us, the more we can do to help you.
Step Two: Arrange a DMV Hearing
As stated in the California Administrative Per Se Law, if you are arrested for driving under the influence, your driver’s license will be automatically suspended. In order to appeal the suspension, you will need to arrange a hearing with the DMV. This hearing is not a trial. It is an opportunity to get your license reinstated prior to fighting your charges in court. You have only ten days to schedule the Admin Per Se hearing and to prepare the arguments to be used in your defense. Hurwitz Law Group is ready to help you prepare and plead your case in order to have your license reinstated. Our effort on your behalf will prevent a tremendous amount of hassle and inconvenience for you. But most importantly, it will ensure that you continue to have access to your driving privileges. Being able to drive to and from work and around Los Angeles without issue is a benefit that we want to protect.
Step Three: Fight the Charges
You are innocent until proven guilty. The charges brought against you do not necessarily have to lead to a conviction. If you believe that you have been wrongfully accused of driving under the influence, we will attack the charges with vigor on your behalf. By challenging the
methods and procedures used to arrest you, we will make a determined effort to show that there is enough reasonable doubt in to have the charges dismissed. Hurwitz Law Group will work tirelessly on your defense in a court of law.
Step Four: Minimize the damage
If you are found guilty of a criminal offensive, you will experience both mental and physical hardship. Conviction can wreak havoc with your financial security while time in prison can be totally disruptive of a normal life style. A criminal record can preclude you from many employment opportunities and can permanently affect your reputation. At Hurwitz Law Group, we work diligently to prevent you from being convicted. Our goal is to get a result in your case that will minimize the damage caused by a potential conviction. We will pursue your case until we are convinced that you have received a fair outcome. Hard work and determination is what you can expect from Hurwitz Law Group.
Hurwitz Law Group: Best Los Angeles DUI Attorneys
If you, a loved one, or friend is facing a first DUI or if you have had multiple offenses, that initial call you make to Hurwitz Law Group is crucial for the success of your DUI defense. During that call we will listen intently as you describe the details of your arrest while they are fresh in your mind. We want to capture your recollection of the way you were treated by the arresting officer and other facts while you are still under stress and probably on an adrenaline high. These details will provide clues as to how we will prepare your case.
We understand your difficult situation; we know that you are nervous and living in fear of the possible penalties you may face. But there is no need to panic. We are confident that we can relieve your anxiety not only by demonstrating our legal knowledge, but by conveying to you our compassion and sympathy through caring emotional support. Our promise is to work closely with you to plan your defense. Together we will calmly, diligently, and tirelessly address the charges against you to achieve a favorable and positive resolution of your case.
“Hiring Brian was one of the best decisions I’ve ever made, and if you are feeling scared or hopeless about your DUI, there is no doubt in my mind that he is your solution.” Gabe Z.
Hurwitz Law Group has many years of experience representing individuals charged with DUI and other-alcohol related charges. Our success rate when fighting DUI charges is admirable. In fact, our outstanding performance has led to recognition by The National Trial Lawyers and inclusion in their “Top 100” honors register. As your defense attorneys, we will help you navigate the legal system, understand your rights, and plead for a result that will ensure that you avoid years of financial and legal struggles. We believe that everyone deserves a fair hearing. You can count on us to refute vigorously any and all arguments by the prosecution.
We at Hurwitz Law Group have had the privilege of advocating for individuals with charges similar to yours in courthouses all across Los Angeles County as well as Orange, San Bernardino, and Riverside Counties. This experience in numerous courthouses is important because familiarity with the local judicial scene is crucial for success when fighting DUI charges. Since we have been representing clients in Los Angeles and the surrounding metropolitan area for many years, we have gotten to know the people who work in these courts, from judges to district attorneys to court clerks. We have made a conscious effort to learn how the various court officials think as they make decisions affecting our clients. Our experience has taught us which judges are unusually strict and vice versa. Such insight is invaluable when preparing a game plan for each client’s legal defense. Courtroom observations by alert attorneys, such as those at Hurwitz Law Group, can be useful in countering the logic and reasoning presented by prosecutors.
As we tackle the specific allegations for which you have been charged, we will activate our entire Hurwitz Law Group team of professionals to aid in the preparation of your defense. For example, our private investigators will search for and review video, audio, and email evidence to support our defense strategy. Both our investigators and attorneys will interview witnesses to extract the most intricate details embedded in the circumstances of your arrest. Each member of our team understands that cases are often won by uncovering minute details that are not likely to be found by a prosecutor who most likely is overwhelmed by a heavy case load. Our legal team also includes paralegals and legal assistants who are indispensable to our mission of providing the best legal defense for our clients. The paralegals and legal assistants on our team provide support to our attorneys by doing research to find previous cases with issues similar to those underlying your case. Paralegals also prepare motions which are requests to the judge to make a decision on an aspect of a case. A motion might be, for example, a request to dismiss your case for lack of probable cause to arrest you.
At Hurwitz Law Group, we take courtroom proceedings very seriously because it is in the courtroom that our clients come in contact with those actors who determine their future. Thus it behooves us to educate ourselves on courtroom rules which vary by location. There are many stated and unstated rules of conduct for attorneys and their clients. We pride ourselves on our knowledge of courtroom practice, and we believe that such knowledge gives us a leg up when we represent you before the judge. We know the rules of the court where your case is being heard. Although it may sound trivial, proper courtroom behavior and etiquette may determine whether a case is won or lost. Courtroom formalities and judges can be intimidating. So, before setting foot in the courtroom where your case is being heard, we review general courtroom rules and those rules peculiar to your assigned court. For example, it is important to arrive on time and to be well prepared. We have all read about judges who become irate when the accused individual does not show up in court at the appointed time. Judges even have dress codes for their courtrooms that must be adhered to. This point was vividly portrayed in the well-known comedy, “My Cousin Vinny,” when the defense attorney, Vinny, did not appear in proper attire. At Hurwitz Law Group, we carefully prepare our clients to ensure that they do not make common courtroom mistakes.
Finally, we take pride in our constant efforts to communicate with our clients. We are available at all times including nights and weekends. Never does a phone call, email, text, or letter go unanswered. When we communicate with clients, we listen intently for small details that might give us an edge when we present their case at the DMV hearing and in court.
“During the time he represented me, he (Brian Hurwitz) always kept me informed on the status of my case. I was able to reach Brian late at night and weekends when I had questions.” Ivy G.
“He (Brian) really cares about your issue, will answer your questions and give you as much info as you need and some that you didn’t know you needed. He takes the time to work with you, listen to your problems, and offer potential solutions.” John R.
“My phone calls and text messages were responded in reasonable timing, everyone hates unanswered phone call and that was NOT the case with Brian.” Karina A.
Background Information for DUI Arrestees
Driving under the influence (DUI) is among the most common charges in Los Angeles and its surrounding counties. Conviction on such charges can have long-lasting, debilitating effects on your life. During a recent ten-year period, over 10,000 individuals were killed each year in car accidents involving drunk drivers. Every one of those 10,000 people has parents, children, and friends who were left to suffer. So many dreams for the future were also ruined because of these alcohol-related accidents. The loss of human life due to drunk driving has led to strict penalties in California for DUI offenders. Many laws have been passed to discourage driving while intoxicated. Because driving under the influence of drugs and alcohol is one of the major causes of traffic accidents in California, the state has invested heavily in both personnel and technology to arrest impaired drivers. Police officers are a visible presence on Los Angeles area roads and streets, 24 hours a day, as they search for drivers operating vehicles while under the influence. You have come to Hurwitz Law Group because an officer determined that there was probable cause, that is, reasonable grounds to press DUI charges against you. After listening carefully to your description of your arrest, our team will start your defense by examining if, in fact, the officer did have probable cause to stop you. This step includes the study of the police report and the results of any field sobriety tests you may have agreed to take.
As we proceed with your defense, you will come to realize that DUI cases are not straight forward applications of the law. They are complex and require much creative thinking to develop a winning strategy. But no matter how bleak your situation may have seemed to you when you were arrested, Hurwitz Law Group has the skill to calm your nerves as we cull the evidence in search of a winning approach for your defense. We scour each piece of evidence presented by the prosecutor in search of weaknesses in their arguments. Where appropriate we will draw upon our team of experts in field sobriety testing and other scientific areas to bolster our client’s case. Such expertise and experience provide the ammunition needed to attack any arguments offered by the prosecution. Our strength at Hurwitz Law Group is in pinpointing procedural weaknesses and vulnerabilities in the District Attorney’s case against our client. That is why we have an outstanding success rate that has led to our inclusion in the National Trial Lawyer’s “Top100” honors register.
“During drunk night, I managed to get in some serious trouble with the law . . . facing jail time and a felony charge. Brian exhausted all effort and knowledge to drop my charges down to a misdemeanor with no jail time. He is an expert at criminal law and demonstrated it in court against a hard DA.” Bobby S.
How California DUI Is Defined and Measured
By the time you call Hurwitz Law Group, you are familiar with the meaning of Driving Under the Influence (DUI). You have already been accused of driving with a Blood Alcohol Concentration (BAC) of .08% or higher if you are 21 years of age or older and driving a regular passenger car. If you were driving a commercial vehicle, you were arrested because the officer claimed that you had a BAC of .04% or higher. Finally, if you are under age 21, you face a zero tolerance standard, meaning that you were considered to be a drunk driver because your BAC was above .01%. Field sobriety tests were administered to you at the location where you were stopped unless you refused to take them. It is important to understand the purpose of each test and how it was administered at the scene of your arrest. Arresting officers often make mistakes during the testing procedure, and these mistakes can become major positive factors for your defense when your case is presented in court. We at Hurwitz Law Group are trained to spot the mistakes that are made as you describe to us the details of your arrest. We will also ascertain from talking to you if you have certain medical conditions that may have affected the results of the field sobriety tests you took. So let’s look at the three tests used to determine whether a driver is operating a vehicle while intoxicated. These three tests have been approved by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
- Standing on one leg: This test requires the driver to get out of the car, raise one foot, and hold that position for thirty seconds. While the leg is raised, the officer will make several observations. Does the driver lower the leg in less than thirty seconds? Does the driver move about to maintain balance? Does the driver bend or lean in order to keep the leg raised? It is easy to see that people could have many reasons to fail this test. The officer is supposed to inquire about and record factors that might interfere, but often under duress drivers forget to tell such factors. This is where we will find clues to use as we rebut the prosecutor’s arguments.
- 2. Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus (HGN): The term HGN refers to the quick movement (or jerking) of the eye back and forth by the driver when instructed to follow an object held by the arresting officer. The officer is trained to use a rather complicated set of procedures when administering this test. The specific steps will not be discussed here. What is important for the preparation of a successful defense is to recognize that the instructions taught to law enforcement officers are very often not followed to the letter during an arrest. This failure to properly administer the test opens up a valuable pool of possible ways to undermine the district attorney’s case. We at Hurwitz Law Group have successfully challenged many DUI charges using our knowledge and experience with the HGN to secure DUI dismissals.
- Walk-and-Turn Test: This test requires that the suspected drunk driver walk nine steps, heel to toe, along a straight line. The driver is then asked to turn around on one foot and return to the original starting point. During the walk and turn the officer looks for a number of indicators of impairment. These indicators include losing balance, stopping, taking too many or too few steps, turning incorrectly, and stepping off of the line. Here again, we will ask you how the test was administered in order to determine if the officer followed the proper procedure. Your recollection will provide the clues for us to use when we face the officer at your DMV hearing or in court.
It is possible that you were asked to take tests other than those described above. You may also have refused to take these tests. We will discuss below the consequences of test refusal. But here we want to review another set of tests that are used to determine drunk driving. These are referred to as chemical tests and include breath, blood, and urine. If you are asked by your arresting officer to take a chemical test you cannot refuse unless you are prepared to have your license suspended. You do, however, have a choice between taking a breath or blood test. The only exception is if the officer suspects that you may have a combination of alcohol and drugs in your system. These tests are given in a police station, jail, or hospital. Here again, these tests must be administered properly, equipment must be maintained in accordance with manufacturers specifications, and it must be correctly and regularly calibrated. So there are many avenues available for us to challenge the chemical tests. We have experts on our Hurwitz Law Group team who have successfully countered chemical test results, and we are ready to do so in your case if we suspect an irregularity in procedures used during your arrest.
Be Concerned, But Not Panicked, Over Your DUI Arrest
We have already drawn your attention to the fact that a DUI conviction will have serious consequences for your future. Here we want to elaborate of those consequences. Our purpose is not to scare you, but we want to impress upon you the urgent need to contact Hurwitz Law Group as soon as you have been charged with a DUI. Following is a list on some of the devastating effects a DUI conviction can have on your life.
- Confiscation or suspension of your driver’s license,
- Hefty fines and financial penalties,
- Loss of your right to drive due to point accumulation (DUI is a two-point offense, remaining on your record for ten years),
- Increased insurance premiums or cancellation of coverage,
- Inability to rent a car (in some cases),
- Loss of scholarship opportunities,
- Denial of entry into some countries, including Mexico and Canada,
- Trouble obtaining a pilot’s license,
- Difficulty maintaining or renewing your driver’s license,
- Problems purchasing a firearm,
- Complications obtaining custody rights.
A glance at the above list suggests that what may appear to be a simple DUI case may, in fact, turn out to be a major problem in the future. Brian Hurwitz grasps the serious implications of your DUI charge and is prepared to confront them with forceful intensity. He draws upon the vast experience and resources of Hurwitz Law Group to steer you through the very complicated DUI laws. We are confident that we can eliminate your need to worry by focusing on a positive, results-oriented defense.
The Hurwitz Law Group Commitment to You
When you put your trust in our hands, we promise to:
- Protect your driving privileges by preventing the DMV from revoking your driver’s license,
- Develop a winning legal strategy to get charges against you dropped or to reach a not guilty verdict at trial,
- Use the trust we have earned in Los Angeles area courts to represent you with confidence,
- Handle your entire case by attending every court appointment to give you peace of mind,
- Apply our thorough knowledge of DUI law to identify procedural weaknesses and flaws in the district attorney’s arguments against you,
- Plead your case forcefully to prevent points from being placed on your driver’s record,
- Fight for dismissal of all charges by preparing an aggressive defense,
- Contest any adverse immigration consequences resulting from DUI charges against you,
- Utilize our resources to boost your defense by retaining relevant experts and specialists to counter the charges against you including doctors, accident reconstruction experts, toxicologists, private investigators, and other consultants when needed.
Hurwitz Law Group is committed to providing exceptional service for our clients. You can rest assured that we will do everything possible to resolve your DUI case with a positive result. We pride ourselves on our high success rate in the complicated field of DUI law. Using our expertise and experience, we will devote tireless energy as we advocate in your defense.
“Highly recommend Mr. Hurwitz. He’s good at what he does and takes care of everything if you have a busy schedule. He helped me out of a DUI where I had to pay thousands and minimized it to only 2 days of community service and a small court fee . . . was driving in a couple of months. 2 thumbs up!” Jose c.
DUI Laws, Penalties and Restrictions Explained
Our goal at Hurwitz Law Group is to secure for our clients the least possible penalty as we argue on their behalf in the courtrooms of Los Angeles and surrounding counties. But one of the first questions asked by potential clients is, “What penalties am I facing and, with your help, what is the best outcome I can expect?” Of course, we strive for complete dismissal of all charges. But often we must accept a negotiated settlement with minimum penalties to avoid jail time or large fines. So it is important to understand the penalties associated with the various DUI charges. Penalties for DUI offenses depend on age, license type, and previous convictions. They vary from required attendance at DUI school to lengthy jail time. In the following pages, we will outline some of the key points clients need to know about the penalties for specific DUI offenses.
Admin per se Penalties: In DUI cases, penalties are immediate. When you are pulled over for suspicion that you may be driving while intoxicated, your license will be confiscated on the spot. The officer will give you a temporary license good for 30 days. All that is necessary for seizing your license is the arresting officer’s belief that you were driving with a BAC of .08% or higher. Your license will also be suspended immediately if you refuse to take a chemical test when arrested. Above, Under Step 2 of the section entitled “Important First Steps to Take after a DUI Arrest,” we have explained the urgency of scheduling an Admin Per Se hearing within ten days of your arrest. Here we will explain the penalties which can be ordered by the DMV following a DUI arrest.
DMV penalties differ according to various circumstances, including number of previous DUIs, refusing to submit to a blood or breath test, age of the driver, etc. For a first time DUI offender, the Admin Per Se Law directs the DMV to suspend the license, for four months, of a person arrested for driving with a BAC of .08% or higher. During the ten day period after your arrest, you schedule that all-important DMV hearing described earlier. This is the time that you sit down with Brian Hurwitz and his team at Hurwitz Law Group to plan your argument to fight the suspension. There are many arguments that can be used at this stage of your DUI case and we will review them to determine the best ones to use. Remember, though, that the DMV hearing is not your trial, but it is important because it provides an opportunity for your defense team to request the appearance of your arresting officer. By questioning the officer, we will get an idea of his or her recollection of the specifics of your arrest. Having such information on record will allow us to compare the officer’s statements at the hearing with his or her statements at trial. We will focus on challenging the officer’s claim that there was probable cause to stop you in the first place. We will also question the procedures used in the field sobriety tests administered at the arrest site. The purpose of the Admin Per Se hearing is, of course, only to fight the license suspension.
The DMV has the authority to suspend the license for one year if a first time offender refuses to take a chemical test. The penalties for second and third offenders are two and three years respectively.
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
- Jail time or community service.
- DUI school.
- Installation of an ignition interlock device (IID).
- SR-22 filing.
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.
estricted 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