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Drunk driving is a serious problem, and we all want safer streets for families and our communities. That said, people make mistakes from time to time. Maybe you shouldn’t have had that last drink before leaving the party, or maybe you were called away earlier than expected due to an emergency. In some cases, overzealous policing results in false accusations of drunk driving. This can occur when police forget that drunk driving is against the law and that responsible adults are allowed to have a glass or two of wine or beer with dinner before driving home. Still, in others, the police mistake issues related to a medical condition as signs of intoxication, resulting in unfounded criminal charges.
Whatever the reason you were arrested, these charges are very serious and can cause serious problems in your life - fines, possible jail time, as well as damage to your reputation and even loss of employment. Don’t let a simple mistake or lapse in judgment derail your life. With over 50 years of courtroom experience, the Los Angeles criminal defense lawyers at The Law Offices of David S. Chesley are here to help. If you would like a free consultation about your DUI case, call us at 800-755-5174 or send us an email via our online contact form.
We all know that drunk driving is against the law. Unfortunately for those facing drunk driving charges, the law is actually somewhat complicated. There is the “subjective” standard found in California Vehicle Code Section 23152(a), which prohibits any person from driving a vehicle while under the influence of alcohol. Section 23152(b),(d) and (e) prohibit driving a vehicle with a specific blood alcohol content (BAC):
Regardless of the code section under which you are charged, you are facing serious legal penalties. For this reason, if you’ve been arrested for DUI in any capacity, you should contact a Los Angeles criminal defense lawyer as soon as you can.
What’s the Difference?
Under the subjective standard of 23152(a), the prosecution does not need to prove that you had a specific BAC in order for you to be convicted - they just need to prove that you under the influence.
In order to prove that you were under the influence, the prosecution will rely on the testimony of the arresting officer. The officer will likely first testify to the behavior that led him or her to pull you over, such as:
From there, the officer will testify to your behavior during the traffic stop that led to your being charged with DUI. Here are some examples of the facts that the prosecution will want the officer to testify to:
If field sobriety tests were administered, the prosecution will want the officer to testify that you failed the tests given.
The point here is that you can be convicted of DUI if they can prove that you were under the influence of alcohol, even if they can’t prove you had the requisite BAC. To be clear, the prosecution may want to introduce evidence regarding your BAC to support their case, but technically speaking, it isn’t required for them to do so.
First-time DUIs are typically a misdemeanor, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t take these charges seriously - it’s still a criminal conviction on your record with the potential for jail time and serious fines. In addition, a criminal conviction can harm your reputation and even make it hard to find a job. The potential consequences get even more serious if (1) you have prior DUIs on your record; and/or (2) someone was injured as a result of your driving under the influence. The number of prior convictions and the severity of the injuries will lead to harsher penalties. Below is a chart that summarizes the potential penalties you may be facing:
|1st offense - misdemeanor||Up to 6 months in county jail||Up to $1,000||Revoked for 6-10 months, but driver is eligible for a restricted license|
|2nd offense - misdemeanor||Up to 1 year in county jail||Up to $1,000||Revoked for two years; driver is eligible for a restricted license after 12 months|
|3rd offense - misdemeanor||Minimum 120 days up to 1 year in county jail||Up to $1,000||Revoked for three years; driver is eligible for a restricted license after 18 months|
|DUI with injury - misdemeanor||Minimum 5 days to 1 year in county jail||Up to $5,000 plus restitution to injured parties||1 to 3 years|
|DUI with injury - felony||16 months to 16 years in state prison||$1000-$5000, plus restitution to injured parties||Five years|
|Felony DUI (charged when you have 4 or more DUI convictions within a ten year period)||16 months, two years, or 3 years in state prison||Up to $1,000||Four years|
As you can see, the penalties become more severe with more convictions and injuries. In addition to the penalties listed above, you will also be ordered to attend DUI school for 3 months or as long as 30 months, depending on your case. It’s also important to note that some DUI charges carry total revocation of your license, with no eligibility to get a restricted license.
In determining the penalties laid out above, there are certain aggravating factors that will affect the penalties imposed if you are convicted. Here are some of the most common aggravating factors:
Defending Against DUI Charges
Facing DUI charges can be extremely intimidating, and you may be tempted to just admit everything, plead guilty, and hope for mercy from the judge. This is probably the worst possible strategy. An experienced DUI attorney in California can evaluate your case, spot the prosecution’s weaknesses, and get you a result that’s fair. Your Los Angeles criminal defense attorney may be able to raise legal defenses, potentially including the following:
There are a number of other defenses that can be raised, but you needed someone who will aggressively contest every aspect of the prosecution’s case if you want to avoid suffering the harshest penalties available. Your California criminal defense attorney should work to get your charges dismissed altogether or at least reduced to something that’s fair.
In many cases, this means getting your DUI reduced to either a “dry reckless” or a “wet reckless.” A charge for dry reckless driving is a reckless driving charge without any alcohol involved. A “wet reckless” is more problematic - it is a charge only available as part of a plea bargain, and implies that there was alcohol was involved in the violation. While it carries reduced penalties (e.g. you may keep your license, avoid jail time, pay less in fines, etc.), it will be treated as a DUI conviction if you are charged with DUI in the future.
Contact a California DUI Defense Attorney Today to Schedule a Free Case Evaluation
If you or a loved when is facing DUI charges, you need a lawyer who will fight for your future. The criminal defense lawyers at The Law Offices of David S. Chesley offer our clients aggressive, experienced legal representation to get you a fair result. Call us at 800-755-5174 or email us today if you would like a free consultation.
According to VC 23152 (a), it is illegal for any person to drive under the influence of alcohol.
As experienced defense attorneys, we have various instances of the successful defense of DUI marijuana cases.
The drug can be any controlled, illegal or prescription substance that can impair a person’s ability to drive a vehicle safely.
A hit and run case is when the driver after hitting another car(s) or damaging the property did not stop and left the scene without notifying other drive or property owner and law enforcement.
You must consult an experienced defense lawyer for your legal representation in court to avoid conviction or to reduce charges to minimum.
Multiple defendants each facing 7 years charged with smuggling prescription drugs into California from Mexico our client was the only defendant who received NO JAIL TIME!
Client facing 5 years for possession of deadly weapon we negotiated a plea for NO JAIL TIME!
Client facing 3 life terms for multiple felony counts of Child Molestation and Sodomy with child we proved the charges were fabricated by victims mother DISMISSAL of all charges at preliminary hearing!
Strike case: Client charged with possession of methamphetamine facing 25 years we filed a Romero Motion which was granted case REDUCED TO MISDEMEANOR!
Client's estranged girlfriend alleged Client broke into her room and choked her facing 14 years in State Prison we won at trial JURY ACQUITTAL.
Police allegedly discovered 3 bags of marijuana in client's glove box faced 6 years we filed a 1538.5 motion to suppress resulting in DISMISSAL of all charges!
Client allegedly sold rock cocaine to undercover officer faced 10 years following our argument client received NO JAIL TIME!
Client facing 15 years for Armed Robbery we proved misidentification Judge DISMISSED the case!
Rodrigo L. San Fernando, CA (Sherman Oaks Yelp Review)
I am truly pleased with my experience with the Law Offices Of David S Chesley. They answered all my questions and provided me with great advice and legal services. My case resolved quickly. Thank you!
Ricardo Esteves Los Angeles, CA (Los Angeles Google Places Review)
I left court yesterday with my last case being wrapped up. Two court appearances and that's it. He represented me in a couple of different cases and was impressive to say the least. Always a phone call or text message away. Confident and aggressive when he needed to be. Calming and thorough when meeting with me. Attorney Chesley did exactly what he said he would and I got the results I needed. He seemed to know all the right people at the Temple Street courthouse. You can always get in contact with him quickly and he is a great lawyer. I highly recommend his legal services.
Erica Geller Ontario, CA (Ontario Facebook review)
My brother was given a very caring attorney that was assigned to his case and we had very helpful case managers throughout the process. I strongly recommend David Chesley to anyone who is in trouble. I called in to get help on my brothers case and right away I liked their service. My brothers charges were eventually dismissed after the attorney got him into a program, now he could go on without the trouble of having anything on his record
Elizabeth F. San Diego, CA (San Diego Google Places Review)
I retained Mr. Chesley and his firm and from the beginning they were extremely professional both in communicating the status of my case to me, explaining the situation as a whole, and just downright taking care of business. It was money well spent for a job well done. Thanks again to David and Melissa others that worked on my case. I recommend this firm to anyone in need of legal representation. Don’t just accept things the courts force on you, call this firm and protect yourself.
Leon Hanley Los Angeles, CA (Los Angeles Avvo review)
I contacted Mr. Chesley and his firm because some unfortunate events had left me in a jam. Detectives were demanding I testify or be prosecuted for a crime I didn’t commit. (I wasn’t involved or even at the scene of the alleged crime when it supposedly took place.) Mr. Chesley explained to me that he had been through similar situations with his clients before and understood exactly what was going on. His response to what took place was nothing short of amazing. No matter how small my concern, Mr. Chesley addressed it in a timely manner. He advocated for what is right and empathized with me in dealing with the Court system. After meeting with the supervising D.A. and providing alibi evidence he was able to get me out the situation. I’m very grateful to have found him.
Britanny Givens Newport Beach, CA (Newport Beach Google Places)
I hired David Chesley for my criminal defense in 2012. he was recommended to us for is success results and his low fees. David is very smart and his professional legal advice was honest & much appreciated during these stressful time. David's knowledge, advice, and communication about what we were to expect was reassuring and beneficial to me. He charged me a reasonable flat rate and didn't charge me any surprise fees. In my case David Chesley was able to negotiate with the prosecution attorney for the best result I could hope for. He had success at getting my criminal charges dismissed with the judges approval. You will not be disappointed if you hire The Law Offices of David S. Chesley.
Andrew A. North Hollywood, CA (Better Business Bureau review)
David is very professional, yet very casual. Although it is typically not easy to speak straight up with an attorney, he is very easy to talk to. He replied to my questions quickly and was available all hours. Not only did he get my case resolved with a dismissal, he went above and beyond and got me an expungement without me even requesting it. He never beats around the bush and tells you like it is. At the same time is willing to work overtime to get the results you request. I would use David's services again in the future.