LOS ANGELES DUI LAWYER
Two glasses of wine with dinner can cost a lot more than the $20 you will pay at your favorite restaurant. Driving impaired is dangerous, and Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) has effectively lobbied for very harsh DUI laws. The .08 limit doesn't leave much room for drinking when you have to drive. And in Los Angeles and Southern California, driving controls our lives. This Fourth of July Weekend, on Thursday and Friday nights alone, there were nearly 300 DUI arrest in LA county. That's about 6 DUI arrests per hour in one city.
First, it is important to realize that getting arrested for DUI is scary and serious, but know that your life will move on. For the most part, you will probably keep your job, your friends, your life and your liberty. The process is very expensive and time-consuming, but you can overcome it.
DUI cases are complicated. Not only does a DUI arrest usually trigger two separate charges in Superior Court (driving while intoxicated, and driving with a BAC of .08 or higher), but also a DMV automatic license suspension. If you are arrested for DUI, you only have 10 days to request a DMV hearing. The DMV hearing can save your license or at least delay your suspension to give you more time to make accommodations.
In court, you will probably be charged with VC 23152(a) and VC 23152(b). You will want a passionate criminal defense attorney, who really wants to help you achieve the best outcome possible. Sometimes, negotiating a lower charge is possible and sometimes it is best to assert your right to a jury trial. Breathalyzers are not always accurate and there are many potential defenses to DUI charges. The first court date is called an arraignment. Your DUI attorney will get the police reports and chemical test results and begin negotiations with the prosecutor on your behalf.
Similarly, you'll want qualified representation with the DMV hearing process. Your attorney will be able to challenge the probable cause for the stop and arrest and perhaps save your driving license.
Speak to a DUI defense attorney (or several attorneys) about your case. Most offer free consultations and can give you a better idea of what defenses might be available to you.
For a more detailed account of the common defenses your Los Angeles DUI Lawyer will argue on your behalf, review the following articles, part of my DUI Defenses series:
How Accurate are Breathalyzers?
Did Police Follow Proper Testing Procedure
Do Field Sobriety Tests Prove Anything
Alcohol and Drugs are NOT the Only Causes of Bad Driving
Sequence of a DUI Arrest
The government has the burden of proving that you were under the influence of alcohol or a drug, or above the legal limit of .08 at the time of driving. Before the traffic stop even starts, the police officer is gathering evidence against you for DUI. The officer will follow you long enough to observe you on both sides of the lane, or maybe even touching or crossing over a line. This gives the officer the first piece of evidence that the government can use to say that you were driving under the influence. Upon initial contact at your window, the officer is looking for signs of alcohol, including the odor of alcohol, glassy or bloodshot eyes, the odor of marijuana, drugs or alcohol in plain sight, your speech, demeanor and more. If based on your driving pattern, smell and or/ any of the signs just mentioned, the officer may initiate a more formal DUI investigation.
The officer will ask you to step out of the vehicle. At this point, the officer is already observing your balance and agility. The officer will then request that you perform a series of field sobriety tests. You may refuse these tests (and SHOULD!) Next, the officer will ask you to blow in a handheld breathalyzer called a "PAS" or "Preliminary Alcohol Screening" device. You should (and may) refuse this test as well. At this point, an officer must have enough evidence to have probable cause that you are guilty of DUI. Without field sobriety tests and without a PAS test, it can be difficult to prove that there was probable cause at the time of arrest. If there was not probable cause at the time of arrest, even if a later-performed chemical test yields a reading above the legal limit, the case in court can be thrown out and you can win your DMV APS Hearing.
If the officer does arrest you for DUI, you will be given the option to provide either a breath or blood sample. A blood test is generally more accurate. If you believe that you are above the legal limit (or the PAS indicated that you were minutes earlier), you may opt for a breath test, as it allows your attorney to argue for accuracy more persuasively. The benefit to DUI suspects of a blood test is that a sample is retained, and can be re-tested by the defense. If the government fails to properly preserve a sample, then that failure by the crime lab can be used to call into question the validity of the test performed by the same technicians in the same lab. If there are multiple chemical tests (possibly including a PAS test or both breath and blood), the pattern between the different results may give rise to a Rising BAC defense. That is, the government must prove that your BAC was above .08 at the time of driving. A .10 two hours after driving might very well mean that you were at a BAC of .05 while driving. This would not be against the law.
If you have been charged with DUI, you need an experienced, knowledgeable and aggressive attorney to fight for your rights. Call the Law Offices of Nicholas Loncar to discuss your case in detail with a Los Angeles DUI lawyer.
LA Sheriff's Inmate Locator
Los Angeles Superior Court
Los Angeles Police Department
Los Angeles Felony Bail Schedule
Los Angeles Misdemeanor Bail Schedule
Nicholas M. Loncar, Esq.
Los Angeles Criminal Defense Attorney
t: 213-375-3775 | f: 213-375-3099
1200 Wilshire Blvd | Suite 406
Los Angeles, CA | 90017
By Nicholas Loncar
"Mr. Loncar has a great reputation in the legal community. I highly endorse his service to anyone in need of legal help."
-Attorney Andrew Leone
ATTORNEY PROFILE |
PRACTICE AREAS |
KNOW YOUR RIGHTS |
PASSION AND PERSONAL SERVICE
The Law Offices of
Nicholas Loncar, located on Wilshire Boulevard in Los Angeles, provide tenacious, passionate and affordable criminal defense to clients throughout Southern California. If you're facing criminal charges or are under investigation, contact our office today for a free consultation.
LA Attorney Nicholas Loncar
is deeply committed to criminal defense and
fights hard for his clients
in every case.