One of the most serious crimes you can be charged with in California is driving under the influence (DUI). The state takes drunk driving offenses seriously and imposes harsh consequences when defendants are convicted.
When you need to take action on your defense and clear your name of the drunk driving charges against you, you may require the legal guidance and support of an experienced Pacific Palisades DUI lawyer. Contact our team today to learn more about what happens after you have been arrested for drunk driving, how the criminal process works, and the steps you could take to dodge a conviction.
When You Can Be Charged with a DUI in Pacific Palisades
Drunk driving charges can apply if you are intoxicated or impaired by drugs or alcohol and in control of a motor vehicle. You do not necessarily need to have a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) level of .08% or more to be charged with a DUI under California law.
If police can determine that your intoxication levels make it impossible for you to operate a vehicle safely the way a sober person would, you can still face DUI charges. However, if your BAC levels reach .08% or more than .15%, you can expect to be charged criminally.
What the District Attorney Will Need to Prove
For the prosecuting attorney to obtain a conviction for drunk driving in Pacific Palisades, they must show that the elements of the offense have been met. These elements include the following:
- The defendant was impaired by drugs or alcohol.
- The defendant was in control of a motor vehicle.
Misdemeanor vs. Felony DUI: Which Charges Will Apply
It should be noted that DUIs are considered a wobbler offense under California law. In some situations, you could be charged with a misdemeanor, while others warrant felony-level DUI charges.
Misdemeanor charges might be more appropriate if you have never been charged with a DUI before. You might also be more likely to face misdemeanor-level DUI charges if no one was injured or killed and there were no severe property damages. However, if there are aggravating factors present, it is far more likely your DUI charges will be increased to the felony level.
Such aggravating factors could include the following:
- The offense involved the presence of a firearm.
- A child was present during the offense.
- A victim suffered severe bodily injury or death.
- There were extensive property damages.
- Your BAC levels reached .15% or more.
It will be up to your DUI attorney in Pacific Palisades, CA, to carefully scrutinize the details of your case and figure out if we can get felony-level charges reduced to a misdemeanor. Ultimately, working with the district attorney may prove helpful if you hope to avoid some of the harsher penalties of a felony DUI conviction.
Why Choose a DUI Lawyer in Pacific Palisades
Your DUI lawyer in Pacific Palisades, CA, will be responsible for preparing a compelling defense. Although you do have the right to work with a public defender free of charge, doing so could be one of the worst decisions you make for your defense.
Although public DUI attorneys may be good at their jobs, they are often too overloaded and stressed to give each case the individualized preparation it deserves. If your attorney cannot provide your case the attention it needs, you will likely be convicted of the charges against you.
Having a private Pacific Palisades DUI attorney handle your case is the best way to be proactive with your defense strategy. Your lawyer will:
- Scrutinize evidence obtained by police
- File court motions to toss out evidence
- Work with the district attorney to get a plea agreement
- Prepare a compelling defense strategy for trial
A DUI Sentence Could Be Devastating
Your DUI lawyer will work tirelessly to defend you when you have been charged with drunk driving. Sentencing for a DUI conviction can be devastating. Here are some of the top penalties you need to be prepared for if you are found guilty:
Traditionally, if you are convicted of drunk driving in Pacific Palisades, you will face a wide array of criminal penalties, such as:
- Drivers license suspension
- Installation of an ignition interlock device (IID)
- Community service
- Jail or prison time
- Court fees
- Payment of restitution to victims
Your penalties will depend on whether you were convicted at the misdemeanor or felony level. For instance, if you were charged with a misdemeanor DUI, you could expect to spend up to one year in a Los Angeles county jail. However, if you were convicted at the felony level, you could be ordered to spend up to three years in a California state prison.
Other court-ordered requirements you may need to meet when you are found guilty of a DUI include the following:
- Mental health counseling
- Attendance at group therapy
- Completion of a drug or alcohol treatment program
- Completion of a HAM program
- Completion of a MADD VIP program
- Attendance at DUI school
- Purchase of SR-22 insurance
The Effects of a DUI Conviction on Your Life
Your DUI conviction will result not only in criminal penalties but collateral consequences as well. Here are some of the top ways people’s lives are affected after a guilty DUI verdict:
- Reputational damage
- Loss of your professional license
- Loss of job opportunities
- Eviction from their housing
- Child visitation or custody troubles
- Loss of firearm rights
Meet with a Reputable Pacific Palisades DUI Lawyer for Help Today
If you are found guilty of driving under the influence, it is likely your entire life will be affected for years to come. You have the right to defend yourself when you have been charged with a criminal offense. Working with a respected Pacific Palisades DUI lawyer may be your best opportunity to clear your name of these charges and put this traumatic experience behind you.
Get started on your case as soon as today when you contact our office to schedule your defense strategy session. You can reach us by phone or through our online contact form to schedule your no-obligation consultation today.