The Law Offices of Jonathan Franklin Represents Clients in the Los Angeles Area

If you were arrested in Southern California for driving under the influence, or DUI, a negative chain of events may lead to jail time, fines and a suspended driver's license. If you have already been convicted of DUI, also called DWI in other states, a new drunk driving charge can have even more serious penalties.

Call 310-273-9600 Immediately for a Free Consultation

Any time you face a DUI charge in California, it is vital you retain an experienced attorney. Experienced legal counsel can successfully resolve various issues that arise from DUI arrests. In California, anyone charged with DUI will immediately have their driving privileges suspended by the arresting officer. After your license is confiscated, you are given a piece of paper. This paper is a temporary license that indicates your license is suspended for 30 days if you do not schedule a DMV hearing. You have 10 days after your DUI arrest to schedule a DMV hearing.

At the Law Offices of Jonathan, we have helped many clients facing DUI charges challenge and overcome their situation. Contact us at 310-273-9600 to schedule your free consultation.

You Were Accused of DUI According to California's DUI Statute

California defines DUI as having an impaired driving ability because of drugs or alcohol while operating a motor vehicle.

The state sets a limit to how much alcohol can be in your body at the time you are operating a motor vehicle. The blood alcohol concentration, or BAC, is how California compares the amount of alcohol in your bloodstream to the state's limit. The state's limit is 0.08 percent. This means that a BAC of 0.08 percent or more may result in a DUI arrest because you are legally under the influence of alcohol.

The 0.08 percent legal limit is just for drivers over the age of 21 years old. If you were stopped while on the job as a commercial driver, you are held to a higher standard. The legal limit is much lower. You can be arrested if you have a BAC over the legal limit for commercial drivers of 0.04 percent.

If you were under the age of 21 years old when stopped for suspected DUI, you face the toughest BAC limit. The legal age to drink in Southern California is 21 years old. The BAC level for anyone under that age is 0.01 percent. This means you can be arrested for DUI in Southern California if the smallest amount of alcohol is detected in a breath or blood sample.

Elements of a DUI Charge According to California's Vehicle Code Section 23152

Drunk driving is defined according to Vehicle Code Section 23152. Elements are sections of the statute's definition the prosecution must prove to convict you or your family member beyond reasonable doubt. Reasonable doubt basically refers to the prosecution showing enough evidence that a judge or jury does not question whether you committed the crime.

Drunk driving, according to the VC 23152 (a), has two elements prosecutors must prove to convict beyond a reasonable doubt. The first element is that you were driving a motor vehicle at the time of your arrest. This element has a catch. You are not required to be operating the motor vehicle at the time you are approached by the arresting police officer. An arrest may happen even if you are sitting in the driver's seat and parked.

The second DUI element is you were under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs at the time you operated the motor vehicle. Under the influence of alcohol or a combination of drugs and alcohol means that you could no longer operate a motor vehicle with ordinary care required by law.

You can be Accused of DUI According to the Subsections of VC 23152

The statute has four subsections. This means that you or your family member may be accused of the following:

  • VC 23152(a): You were under the influence of alcohol regardless of your BAC level.
  • VC 23152(b): You were under the influence of alcohol in a per se manner given your BAC level was at or higher than 0.08 percent.
  • VC 23512(c): You were operating a motor vehicle while impaired by drugs. This subsection is called driving under the influence of drugs (DUID). According to the law, the type of drug you are accused of consuming does not matter. The drug can be a prescription drug, illegal narcotic or an over-the-counter (OTC) medication.
  • VC 23152 (d): You operated a motor vehicle while under the influence of alcohol and drugs. This means you are accused of committing DUI drugs and DUI alcohol.

Prosecutors will generally charge you with VC 23152(a) and VC 23152 (b) simultaneously. You can be convicted of DUI, if you are charged with DUI under one or both subsections. However, the court will only sentence you for one offense. Prosecutors like to charge DUI suspects with both charges to increase charges of gaining a DUI conviction. The punishment for both subsections are the same.

Felony DUI Charges in California

California has two more statutes involving DUI. VC section 23153 is when operating a motor vehicle under the influence of alcohol causes an accident that results in an injury to another person. VC section 23153 is not a misdemeanor. Instead, it is a felony.

Another criminal charge connected to DUI in California is Penal Code 191.5. According to PC 191.5, a driver cannot cause a person's death while operating a motor vehicle under the influence of alcohol. The criminal charge, which is also a felony, is a vehicular manslaughter statute.

The Criminal and Administrative DUI Process in California

You may be surprised by the complex and often unexpected steps of the DUI process. Many clients are surprised and confused by the DUI process. From DUI accusation to resolved case, the Law Offices of Jonathan Franklin is there every step of the way. Call us at 310-273-9600 to schedule your free consultation.

We'd like to explain some one of the basics of a DUI arrest to help you understand what you or your family member may face:

After a DUI arrest, your California license is taken by the arresting officer. In exchange, you are given a pink colored driving license, which is called the Notice of Suspension. The notice is only valid for 30 days after an arrest unless the DMV administration overturns the suspension.

DMV hears are not automatic. You or your attorney must request a DMV hearing from the DMV within 10 days of the arrest. This 10 day period does include weekends. If no hearing is requested within that time period, a hearing cannot be requested later. The license remains suspended.

The process is different for out-of-state drivers. If your license was issued in another state, your driver's license will not be taken by the arresting officer. You will receive a Notice of Suspension. Your driver's license will be suspended by the state that issued the driver's license. California will inform your state about the DUI arrest.

In California, when you obtain your driving license, you agree to submit to a chemical test if asked by law enforcement when stopped for DUI. This is referred to as implied consent. If you refuse to take a chemical test, you face tougher penalties with both your license suspension with the DMV and your criminal case with the court.

California Penalties for DUI in California

In California, a DUI charge is a misdemeanor. However, the criminal charge may increase to a felony if you are accused of causing serious injury or being charged with a fourth or subsequent DUI. If you were previous convicted of wet reckless or DUI and charged with another DUI within a 10-year period, you face tougher penalties, as well.

The basic punishment for a DUI conviction without serious injury depends on the number of offenses:

  1. First Offense
  • Up to six months in jail.
  • $390 to $1,000 fine.
  • License suspension for six to 10 months.
  • Attend a DUI school for three to nine months.

You may be able to obtain a restricted license. A restricted license only allows you to operate a motor vehicle while traveling from work, school or DUI class.

  1. Second DUI
  • Ninety-six hours to 12 months in county jail.
  • $390 to $1,000 fine.
  • Attend a DUI class for 18 to 30 months.
  • Suspended driver's license for two years.

You may receive a restricted driver's license after the first year of having a suspended license.

  1. Third DUI Offense
  • 120 days to 12 months in county jail.
  • $390 to $1,000 fine.
  • Attend DUI classes for 30 months.
  • Suspended driver's license for three years.

After your license has been suspended for 18 months, you may apply for a restricted driver's license.

  1. Fourth or subsequent DUI Offense
  • This is a felony punishable by:
  • 16 months to 3 years in state prison.
  • $390 to $1,000 fine.
  • Attend a DUI class for 18 to 30 months.
  • License suspension for four years.
  1. DUI with Injury

A DUI with injury is a wobbler. This means the charge can be a misdemeanor or felony. Penalties for a misdemeanor DUI with injury are:

  • Five days to 12 months in county jail.
  • $390 to $5,000 fine.
  • Pay full restitution to victims.
  • Attend DUI class for three to 30 months.
  • Suspended driver's license for one to three years.

If you are convicted of felony DUI with injury, you face:

  • 16 months to 16 years in prison.
  • $1,015 to $5,000 fine.
  • Pay restitution to victims.
  • Attend DUI class for three to 30 months.
  • Suspended license for one to five years.

All basic penalties may be increased depending on the circumstances involving the DUI arrest such as:

  • Having .15 BAC or higher.
  • Refusing to take a chemical test. This will increase your jail sentence and require a mandatory license suspension from the DMV administration.
  • Having a child under the age of 14 in the motor vehicle at the time of your alleged DUI offense. This is considered child endangerment.
  • Driving recklessly or speeding excessively while under the influence of DUI. This criminal charge involves speeding 20 miles per hour over the legal limit on city streets. It is speeding over 30 miles per hour over the limit on highways.

Although your DUI penalties can be enhanced depending on specific factors, it can also decrease with the help of a good attorney. For instance, your DUI defense attorney may be able to negotiate a first DUI down to a wet reckless charge. Your defense attorney may successfully negotiate approval for a restricted driving license. Your attorney may also be able to help you avoid having an ignition interlock device, or IID, on your motor vehicle, in some situations.

Your attorney can also advocate for alternative sentencing. An alternative sentence may include house arrest, community service or residential sober living in a treatment facility.

Possible California DUI Defenses

At the Law Offices of Jonathan Franklin, we aggressively fight DUI charges. Some of the most common DUI defense strategies include:

  • The arresting officer stopped you without probable cause.
  • You were not informed about your right to refuse breath or blood tests or field sobriety tests. If you were informed, you were not informed about the consequences of refusing any of those tests.
  • You were not given the choice of breath or blood tests to take to determine your BAC level. You may have been given a choice of tests, but an extra blood sample was not saved for independent testing later. The arresting officer to not follow proper procedure when administrating any test to determine your BAC level.
  • The arresting officer did not observe you continuously for 15 minutes before giving you a breathalyzer test.
  • Your DUI breath test was skewed because of mouth alcohol, diabetes, a high protein or low carb diet or other factors.
  • You were not under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs at the time of the DUI arrest. You are a bad driver. This can be used if your BAC level was under 0.08 percent at the time of the arrest.
  • You failed the field sobriety tests because of physical symptoms such as nervousness, weather conditions, physical exhaustion or other conditions.
  • You BAC was still rising at the time your breath or blood test was administered. When consuming alcohol, the blood alcohol content in your blood will continue to rise until it peaks. If you take a breath test at the wrong time, it may not indicate the true BAC level at the time you were operating a motor vehicle.

Contact the Law Offices of Jonathan Franklin to Resolve Your DUI Criminal Charge

Just because you were accused of DUI, does not mean you will be convicted. Mechanical, procedural or biological factors are used to successfully defend you. For instance, there may be legal defenses available to you based on the stop of your vehicle. Furthermore, the police may not have properly conducted the blood or breath test. In all of our cases, we will work diligently in a effort to get charges dismissed or reduced.

The Law Offices of Jonathan Franklin thoroughly investigates all factors and builds a vigorous defense to achieve a positive outcome in a DUI case. Possible positive outcomes involve reduction of the original DUI charge, dismissing the criminal charge or a not guilty verdict at trial.

DUI Defense Attorney Jonathan Franklin is also an experienced plea negotiator. He is ready to defend you at trial. In situations where it is better to take a plea bargain, he will negotiate a plea agreement that assists you in positively resolving the situation.

Contact the Law Offices of Jonathan Franklin today about your:

  • Misdemeanor DUI.
  • Felony DUI.
  • Driver's license suspension.
  • DUI with injuries.
  • Traffic violations.
  • Hit-and-run.

To schedule a free initial consultation with the Law Offices of Jonathan Franklin, call us at 310-273-9600. We are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.