Los Angeles Criminal Defense Firm
Dedicated Representation
For DUI Charges

Los Angeles DUI Lawyer

DUI Defense Representation in the Greater LA Area

Under California law, driving under the influence (DUI) of alcohol or drugs is a serious criminal offense that poses serious criminal consequences. Because DUIs are more common than other crimes, many drivers fail to realize just how serious the penalties can be.

In fact, individuals who have been arrested for driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol can face the following consequences:

  • Fines and fees
  • Driver's license suspension
  • Increased insurance costs
  • Possible jail time
  • Criminal record
  • Difficulty obtaining housing or employment

Last year, 35% of all California defendants who were arrested for DUI kept their driver's license simply by requesting a DMV hearing within the allotted time period. If you have been arrested for driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs, it is important to have a clear understanding of the California DUI process, be fully prepared, and secure the best possible outcome for your case.

Arrested? Retain the help of a Los Angeles DUI attorney from Stephen G. Rodriguez & Partners. We are ready to put our knowledge and experience on your side.

A California DUI Arrest Initiates Two Distinct Cases

When you are arrested for DUI in Los Angeles, your case will involve the following two separate proceedings:

DMV Case for DUI in CA

Part of your DUI case will involve your driving privileges and whether you were guilty of committing a serious driving offense. The administrative hearing concerning the suspension of your driver's license will be handled by the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV). In order to protect your driver's license, you must request a DMV hearing within 10 days of your arrest. If you do not, your driver's license will be automatically suspended 30 days after the arrest date. Our legal team has decades of experience defending clients' driving privileges at DMV hearings.

Unlike California criminal court, the DMV hearing is less formal and run by a Driver Safety Office (DSO) Hearing Officer, instead of a lawyer or a judge. Although the standard of proof is lower than in criminal court, the chances of a person winning without an experienced DUI defense attorney are not very good.

The criminal attorneys at Stephen G. Rodriguez & Partners can help you better understand DMV hearings, your rights, and how we can best defend and protect your driver's license. These hearings are based on the facts of your case and will require a thorough analysis of documentation, arrest reports, and statements.

Criminal Case for DUI in CA

The criminal case typically follows the DMV hearing. Depending on the facts surrounding your DUI arrest, you may face:

  • Jail time
  • Fines
  • Rehabilitation
  • Driver education school
  • Community service (live-in or out-patient)
  • CALTRANS (physical labor)
  • Vehicle impoundment
  • Installation of an ignition interlock device in your vehicle
  • Attendance at the Hospital and Morgue program
  • Any combination of the above

You may also face enhanced penalties if any of the following apply:

  • A prior DUI conviction within the last ten (10) years
  • Speeding or driving recklessly
  • Driving with a minor child under the age of 14
  • Having an excessive blood alcohol content (BAC)
  • Refusing a chemical test, such as breath, blood, or urine.

Both DMV hearings and criminal proceedings demand the attention of skilled and experienced DUI lawyers. At Stephen G. Rodriguez & Partners, we are prepared to review your case, explain the process, and discuss how we can help.

The Penalties for Misdemeanor DUI in California

The penalties associated with a DUI conviction will vary, depending on several different factors. The circumstances surrounding your arrest, the results of your breath or blood test and the number of times you have previously been convicted of drunk driving will all factor into your final sentence. DUI is a "priorable" offense in California, which means that the penalties will increase with each subsequent offense.

California Penalties for First DUI Offense

The penalties for a first DUI offense may include:

  • Up to six months in county jail (minimum of 48 hours)
  • Between $390 and $1,000 in fines plus penalty assessments
  • Suspension of your driver's license for six to ten months
  • Enrollment in an alcohol and drug education program
  • Installation of an ignition interlock device (IID)
  • Summary, or informal, probation for up to three years.

Penalties for Second DUI Offense in California

​​​​​​ The penalties for a second DUI offense may include:
  • Up to one year in county jail (minimum of 96 hours)
  • Up to $1,000 in fines plus penalty assessments
  • Suspension of your driver's license for two years
  • Enrollment in an alcohol and drug education program
  • Installation of an ignition interlock device (IID)
  • Summary, or informal, probation for up to five years.

California Penalties for Third DUI Offense

The penalties for a third DUI offense may include:

  • Up to one year in county jail (minimum of 120 days)
  • Up to $1,000 in fines plus penalty assessments
  • Suspension of your driver's license for three years
  • Enrollment in an alcohol and drug education program
  • Installation of an ignition interlock device (IID)
  • Summary, or informal, probation for up to five years.

The Penalties for Felony DUI in California

Although DUI offenses are typically prosecuted as misdemeanors in California, you could face felony charges if you are arrested for a fourth, or subsequent, DUI offense. Similarly, you could be charged with a felony offense if you cause an accident that results in injury or death to another person—even if it is your first DUI offense. This will result in much harsher penalties, including time served in a state prison.

Fourth DUI Offense in California

The penalties for a fourth DUI offense may include:

  • Up to three years in state prison (minimum of 16 months)
  • Up to $1,000 in fines plus penalty assessments
  • Suspension of your driver's license for four years
  • Enrollment in an alcohol and drug education program
  • Designation has a "habitual traffic offender" by the DMV
  • Possible seizure, or forfeiture, of your motor vehicle.

Enhanced Sentencing Factors for DUI in CA

Factors that Could Lead to Enhanced Sentencing

The penalties listed above are for standard DUI offenses. If certain aggravating factors are present in your case, you could face enhanced legal penalties. Some of these "aggravating factors" include:

  • You refused to submit to chemical testing
  • Your blood alcohol content was .20% or greater
  • You caused an accident while under the influence
  • You were driving recklessly or at excessive speeds
  • A child under the age of 14 was in the car

Seek a Positive Result with a Los Angeles DUI Attorney

At Stephen G. Rodriguez & Partners, we understand the seriousness of DUI charges and are committed to protecting the rights, freedoms, and futures of clients who reach out to our firm for help. We want to stress that the penalties at stake can be extremely serious – especially if this is a multiple DUI arrest or other aggravating circumstances are present. Because of this, we encourage you to discuss your case with our legal team as soon as possible after an arrest. Your initial consultation won't cost a thing!

To learn more about your case and how our Los Angeles DUI lawyers can help, contact us today for a free case evaluation.

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