1st Offense DUI Attorney | Understanding DUI Laws

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Over 3 Decades Of Drunk Driving Defense Experience | Los Angeles DUI Lawyers

Being arrested for a 1st DUI in Los Angeles can be an overwhelming experience. The process, which involves the criminal court and DMV, is complex and confusing even for those with prior DUI convictions. Therefore, in order to obtain the best possible outcome of your case, you must seek counsel from an experienced DUI lawyer with a track record of success defending drunk driving charges in Los Angeles. The DUI attorneys Sitkoff & Hanrahan, LLP, Eugene Hanrahan and Stephen Sitkoff, have each specialized in Los Angeles drunk driving defense since 1987. With over 70 years of combined California DUI defense experience as former senior prosecutors and law enforcement academy instructors, Mr. Hanrahan and Mr. Sitkoff are recognized among the best DUI lawyers in Los Angeles. If you have been arrested for a 1st offense DUI, contact our LA drunk driving lawyers now at (888) 579-4844 for a free no-obligation case analysis to learn how we can best defend you and your driving privilege.

First Offense DUI Charges In Los Angeles: The Criminal Court And DMV

Whether you have been arrested for a DUI in Los Angeles or any other city in Southern California, you face two separate legal actions taken by the criminal court and California DMV. Both independent actions are equally important and require dynamic defense representation to ensure your case is either resolved at the lowest possible level with no suspension of your driver’s license. Prevailing in one does not necessarily guarantee success in the other as your license can still be suspended even if your DUI attorney successfully negotiates a reduction of your drunk driving charges to lesser offenses, such as Wet Reckless, Dry Reckless, or Exhibition of Speed. With the 2 independent actions that make up the DUI process and how each of their respective outcomes can impact the outcome of your case differently, you should consult with an experienced DUI attorney immediately to learn more about each of your potential outcomes.

First Offense DUI | DMV License Suspension Hearing

After your release from custody following your drunk driving arrest, unless you do not have a California driver’s license or did not have your license in possession at the time of arrest, you will find your driver’s license missing from your property. This is no mistake as you will find amongst the various documents you are released with, a pink DMV document which will serve as your temporary license for the next 30 days. In addition, this document serves as your formal notice to contact DMV within the next 10 calendar days to request a DMV hearing to contest the DMV’s Admin. Per Se (APS) suspension. It is imperative that your timely request be made within the 10 day timeframe, for your failure to do so WILL result in an automatic 4-month suspension of your license as soon your temporary license expires. The DMV APS suspension can be imposed even if your DUI matter is still pending in criminal court. Fortunately, you will be able to obtain a restricted driver’s license. However, you must first complete a 30 day period of mandatory NO DRIVING. If your driving privilege has already been suspended by DMV, contact us now to learn the steps you must take in order to obtain your restricted license.

First Offense DUI | Los Angeles Criminal Court

The other independent aspect of the DUI process involves the criminal court. The location of your drunk driving arrest in Los Angeles will determine which LA Superior Court you will be ordered to appear in for your DUI arraignment. For example, drunk driving arrests in West Los Angeles would result in an initial court date being scheduled at the LAX Courthouse, whereas a DUI arrest in Downtown LA would result in your court hearing to be scheduled in the Metropolitan Courthouse or Criminal Courts Building in Downtown Los Angeles. The criminal court imposes the criminal sanctions and penalties, and among the mandatory punishments for a 1st Offense DUI conviction is a 6-month driver’s license suspension, completion of a DUI education program, and significant fines. The license suspension that will result from your DUI conviction is triggered by the criminal court’s reporting of your conviction to DMV and will be imposed concurrently with your APS suspension if you lose your DMV APS hearing as well.

First Offense DUI Consequences And Punishments In Los Angeles

Southern California driving under the influence charges are prosecuted under California Vehicle Code section 23152 (misdemeanor) or 23153 (wobbler: felony or misdemeanor). The specific subdivisions of both VC 23152 and VC 23153 are determined by the circumstances in your case. For example, driving under the influence with a blood or breath alcohol level of above 0.08% would be prosecuted under VC 23152(b), whereas a DUI with a blood alcohol level above 0.08% involving injuries to another other than yourself would be prosecuted under VC 23153(b). Depending on your prior criminal history and the seriousness of victim’s injuries, you could be charged with a felony DUI under VC 23153(b). There are several criminal courts in Los Angeles County with the court location having some degree of influence over your DUI lawyer’s ability to obtain a reduced charge in your case. In the event your case is not dismissed or reduced to a lesser offense, you face the following potential punishments and consequences for a 1st DUI in Los Angeles:

1st Offense DUI VC 23152 | Misdemeanor DUI (non-injury)

6 months imprisonment in county jail
$1,000 fine
Summary probation up to 5 years
3-month or up to 12-month drunk driving education program
6-month driver’s license suspension
Mandatory ignition interlock device (IID) or breathalyzer
Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) Victims Impact Panel
Hospital and Morgue (HAM) program
Community labor or service

1st Offense  DUI VC 23153 | Felony DUI Causing Injury

Up to 3 years imprisonment
Up to $5,000 fine
Formal probation up to 5 years
3-month or up to 12-month drunk driving education program
1-year driver’s license suspension
Mandatory ignition interlock device (IID) or breathalyzer
Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) Victims Impact Panel
Hospital and Morgue (HAM) program
Community labor or service
Victim restitution

Beyond the First Offense

Being charged with a DUI in Los Angeles for the first time can have both minor and major repercussions. In some cases of a first-time DUI charge, you may be charged with a misdemeanor and given a fine. You may also be put on probation.

Depending on your sentence, probation can last from three to five years. Fines can be $1,000 or more, depending on whether your DUI caused injury. In addition, your license will be suspended for half a year, and you’ll have to go to driver’s education classes centered around driving under the influence.

But what happens if you are arrested for DUI in Los Angeles a second time?

The Second Offense

The penalties for a second DUI offense are more severe than with a first offense. Similar to the first offense, you could be put on probation again, or your current length of probation could be extended.

You’ll likely be mandated to attend driver’s education courses for up to two and a half years. You could also be incarcerated up to three days as well as having an ignition interlock device installed on your car. An ignition interlock system is a small device that uses a breathalyzer to see whether you’ve been drinking. It won’t let you operate your vehicle if you’ve been drinking.

The Third Offense

If you are charged with a third DUI, you may be given jail time, which can last up to one year. However, you may be able to avoid incarceration if you swear to give up your license for a three-year period. You will also be labeled as a traffic offender, and any other driving charges you face will have incredibly severe punishments.

If you are charged with a DUI in Los Angeles, be sure to contact a reputable defense attorney in Los Angeles to help ease the consequences. Our experienced DUI attorneys can help lessen the impact of your DUI-related mistakes so you can get your life back on track.

Call To Speak With Our Los Angeles Drunk Driving Lawyers Today

Whether you are facing a 1st offense DUI misdemeanor or felony DUI, contact us now at (888) 579-4844 for a free telephonic case review or in-person consult in our West Los Angeles office. We have the experience and expertise to provide you with a thorough and candid assessment of your DUI case and options. We proudly serve the following Los Angeles County cities: Long Beach, Torrance, Pasadena, Glendale, Van Nuys, Pomona, West Covina, Burbank, Santa Clarita, Norwalk, Santa Monica, Alhambra, Downey, Bellflower, Inglewood, Hawthorne, Ventura, Thousand Oaks, Simi Valley, Rancho Cucamonga, Corona, Huntington Beach, Orange, and Newport Beach.

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