If you are arrested for driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs in Chatsworth, you can expect to face criminal charges. The severity of the charges and subsequent consequences depend on a variety of factors, including the quality of your defense attorney. When you put your case in the hands of an expert Chatsworth DUI lawyer, you can have the confidence that comes with securing a superior legal representative who will deliver the best possible result.
California’s Driving Under the Influence (DUI) Charges
The charges you face after a DUI arrest depend on your history of DUI convictions, whether anyone was hurt or injured because of your impaired driving, and your blood alcohol concentration (BAC).
These variables bring complexity to DUI cases, making it essential to retain the services of an experienced Los Angeles DUI Attorney. Your attorney will ensure you are not charged unjustly and fight to have your charges reduced or even dismissed. If your charges stand, your lawyer will negotiate to minimize your punishment.
How Your History of DUI Convictions Affects Your Case
Repeat offenders face more serious charges and consequences than first-time DUI offenders, provided the offense did not cause serious harm.
If your arrest marks your first offense, you will most likely face misdemeanor charges. Penalties may include one, but likely several, of the following consequences:
- License suspension of four months or more
- maximum jail sentence of up to six months
- Fines and fees
- Potential installation of an interlock ignition device
- Attendance at DUI classes, typically for three months
- Several years of DUI probation. If you receive probation, you must honor all imposed conditions.
You also experience indirect consequences of higher insurance premiums, higher transportation costs if your license is suspended, and a much more hectic schedule as you manage increased travel times or arrange alternative transportation for those depending on you to get to school, work, appointments, or other activities. A skilled DUI attorney in Chatsworth can mitigate these consequences and help you move on from the incident.
Second or Third-Time Offenses
Second offenses increase the intensity of first-offense consequences. You are more likely to experience multiple consequences, such as:
- An up to two-year license suspension
- Up to a year in jail
- Increased fines and fees
- DUI classes for between 18 and 30 months
- Mandatory ignition interlock device installation
- Several years of DUI probation
A third-time offense increases potential jail sentences to up to 16 months in state prison, increases fines and time required in DUI classes, and increases license suspensions to a possible three years.
If you are convicted of DUI charges for a fourth time within a 10-year period, you can face misdemeanor or felony charges depending on the specifics of the case. However, judges are typically not lenient for fourth offenses, and you need a high-quality Chatsworth DUI attorney to handle your defense.
Convictions can bring a three-year prison sentence, a four-year license revocation, and status as a Habitual Traffic Offender (HTO) for three years, along with the additional fees and penalties that come with first, second, or third offenses.
Other Factors Affecting Charges
Age is a factor in determining DUI charges. Those under the legal drinking age of 21 will be charged with DUI even with a BAC as low as .01% and face a year-long license suspension along with other criminal penalties. Those 21 and older generally face charges if their BAC is .08% or higher.
Even with a BAC below that level, you can be charged with DUI if officers observe indications of impairment, such as bloodshot or watery eyes, slurred speech, and lack of balance.
Drivers of commercial vehicles or drivers transporting paying passengers can be charged with DUI if their BAC is .04% or higher. Commercial drivers face a one-year suspension of their commercial driver’s license (CDL) for a first offense and lifetime revocation if convicted a second time within ten years.
DUI with Injury
If someone is injured in your alleged DUI incident, you can be charged with “DUI with injury,” under California Vehicle Code 23153. This is a wobbler charge, meaning it can account as either a felony or misdemeanor, a determination usually made by the prosecution. Your best protection against felony charges is a DUI lawyer in Chatsworth with strong negotiating skills.
A Chatsworth DUI Attorney Will Build a Powerful Defense
It is not a good idea to fight DUI charges alone or with an inadequate defender. Following your arrest, do not speak to law enforcement about the alleged incident. After your booking, upon release, contact a Los Angeles DUI attorney.
If you are kept in custody, you have the right to three phone calls within three hours of your arrest. Exercise your right and call an experienced DUI attorney in Chatsworth. Your attorney will be your voice, speaking for you and protecting you from saying anything that can be used against you later. Additionally, your lawyer will:
- Investigate the events of your arrest to ensure legality. If you were pulled over without reasonable cause or for an unlawful reason, if officers did not conduct sobriety tests properly, or if your rights were compromised in some other way, your lawyer will seek dismissal of charges
- Analyze the results of any chemical tests taken after your arrest. Faulty procedures and even some medical conditions can yield false positives
- Document statements from relevant experts supporting your defense
- Gather additional evidence, such as photo and/or video footage and/or witness testimony to support your defense or prove your innocence
Throughout your case proceedings, your DUI Lawyer in Chatsworth will communicate with you, updating you on all developments and advising you of the best course of action.
A Los Angeles DUI Attorney Contact Will Against Conviction and Penalties
California takes DUI offenses seriously. An experienced Los Angeles DUI attorney takes your right to a powerful defense just as seriously. Contact us as soon as possible after your arrest. Your dedicated lawyer will take charge of your case from the start, working to bring you the most favorable outcome possible.