Legal Guide

DUI in Los Angeles

DUI laws of California also govern Los Angeles. Drinking under the influence of alcohol or drugs is a serious criminal offense because it can cause accidents and you can be held responsible for traffic disturbance, injuries, deaths, and property damage. You can also hurt yourself seriously and damage your car or vehicle.

Driving under the influence can be of Alcohol, Illegal Drugs, and legal drugs. After the arrest with DUI, many thoughts and questions come to mind which can terrify you. These questions are described as following.

  1. Terrible thoughts of getting jail
  2. Whether you will be able to keep your driving license or not?
  3. How many fines and penalties you may face?
  4. How much DUI lawyer in Los Angeles cost?

If you are arrested (Police can arrest you in a DUI case under Vehicle Code section 23152(a) or Vehicle Code section 23152(b) ) with DUI then get ready to face one or more following consequences.

  • Your driving license can be automatically suspended
  • Now you have only 10 to request a DMV hearing
  • Your driving license can be suspended for 3 months depending upon the type of offense charged against you
  • You can get penalties as high as up to $20,000 depending upon conviction
  • You can be sent to jail in either a misdemeanor or felony charge

Whatever may be your charges, Los Angeles DUI lawyer can beat it. With the support of your lawyer, you will be able to reduce the charges, the evidence against you can be blocked and you get a light sentence or even be released.

DUI charges in Los Angeles

DUI charges in Los Angeles are usually a misdemeanor. First DUI, Second DUI, and Third DUI are misdemeanors if the cases don’t involve any accident causing injuries, deaths, and damage to properties. Fourth DUI and all DUI with injuries, deaths, and property damage are a felony.

DUI Legal Process in Los Angeles

  • Arrest

The first step in the DUI legal process is arrest. Police arrest you if you are suspected of DUI. If you show any sign of DUI like erratic driving behavior or being involved in accidents, then the police officer stops you and asks for field sobriety. Your failure to respond to this test makes you suspect of DUI. After arrest, you will be taken to the hospital if injured otherwise to the police station where a breath analyzer test or Blood Alcohol Concentration tests will be conducted.  The police officer will get your driving license and will issue a pink copy which can also act as your temporary driving license for 30 days. After the arrest, you have 10 days to challenge your driving license suspension in a DMV hearing.

  • Arraignment

During your first hearing in the court (arraignment), your lawyer and prosecutor both present themselves in front of the judge.  At this stage, you enter a plea of guilty or not guilty. You are also informed about the charges against you. At this stage of the case, evidence is not evaluated by both sides, it is recommended to enter a not guilty plea. Your lawyer will also ask you not to accept any deal in exchange for the guilty plea.

  • Pretrial

Many DUI cases are usually solved at this stage. At this stage, the prosecutor will share all evidence against you with your lawyer. Your DUI lawyer will evaluate the evidence and bring something out of it which is helpful for you. For example, where your rights are respected all the time, question mark about the collection of evidence, and he can show doubts in conducting alcohol confirmatory tests. By evaluating evidence, your lawyer may be able to make a deal with the prosecutor to reduce the charges.

  • Trial

Your lawyer can recommend going to trial or when the prosecutor refuses to bargain. This happens when the case is weak. But trial can go either in your favor or against. Your lawyer will convince the jury and confirm some doubts in all the cases with you.

The trial can be a lengthy process and take weeks to complete depending upon the complexities involved, number of witnesses, and time is taken by DUI experts to prove the evidence

  • Sentencing

After the completion of the trial, the sentencing phase is started. Here you can be convicted either by plea bargain or as a result of the trial. You can be sentenced to jail for up to one year in case of misdemeanor and more than one year for felony charges.  There can be some alternate sentences as given below.

  • Instead of jail, the judge can order for house arrest
  • to attend an alcohol program
  • to attend counseling program
  • Rehab program
  • Community services


Probation can be of two types.

  • Summary probation: This type of probation includes fulfillment of terms of probation without reporting to the probation officer
  • Supervised Probation: This type of probation involves reporting to a probation officer who can ask you to get some tests reports and drug rehab classes and anger management classes.

Probation can be for one to 5 years. You can be sent to jail if involved in a violation of probation.


You have the right of appealing against your charges but appeal means the start of the entire DUI legal process from the beginning.


 You have also the right of expungement after the completion of probation. This is recommended for you to get benefits of expungement in getting job and license.


  1. First DUI

You can be fined approximately $1800.  This amount includes the actual fine and assessments fee. You can be sent to jail for 48 hours. This imprisonment can be waived off but will cause an increase in the suspension of a driving license for 90 days. Your license can be suspended by two authorities. DMV can suspend for 30 days and 90 days from criminal penalties. You can be asked to complete an alcohol treatment program for 3 months.

These are minimum suspension and penalties. Maximum penalties can be fine and fee up to $3600, jail for 6 months. A substantial increase in alcohol treatment programs and duration of license suspension is also expected.

  1. Second DUI

You can be asked to pay a fine and fee of $1800 and jail for 96 hours. Your license can be suspended for one complete year and restricted face driving for 2 more years. Restricted face driving means driving is allowed from house to school, workplace, and back.  You can be asked to complete an alcohol treatment program for 18-30 months.

These are minimum suspension and penalties. Maximum penalties can be fine and fee up to $4000, jail for 12 months. License suspension can be increased up to 2 years along with restricted driving for 2 years.

  1. Third DUI

You can be asked to pay a fine and fee of $1800 and jail for 120 hours. Your license can be suspended for 3 years and restricted face driving is not allowed. You can be asked to complete an alcohol treatment program for 30 months.

These are minimum suspension and penalties. Maximum penalties can be fine and fee up to $18000, jail for 12 months. License suspension can go up for 2 years.

You can get more punishments and fines depending upon charges. For example, if you are charged with DUI and injured others, caused property damage, are below 21 years of age, or having high levels of BAC. You have to face felony charges if arrested for 4th DUI or you refuse to take a breath analyzer test, Blood Alcohol Concentration test, or field sobriety test.

 DMV hearing

After the arrest, you can request for DMV hearing within 10 days. This hearing is requested to avoid automatic suspension of driving license. This type of hearing does not take too much time. You have to answer the following questions.

  1. Was your arrest legal
  2. Was your BAC 0.08% or higher
  3. Evidence was sufficient for the police officer to confirm that you were driving with DUI

These questions are not easy to handle. Usually, police officers are not biased and have good reasons to arrest you with DUI. As these questions can be difficult to answer and people are usually not prepared for this, it is highly recommended to hire a DUI attorney otherwise your driving license may be suspended for a considerable period. 

As it is explained that entire process of a DUI case is complicated and surprisingly another person with the same DUI charges may get different punishment and penalties in comparison with you. So, don’t go for the option of getting a public defender or a wrong or incompetent DUI attorney. Because it will be simply wastage of time and resources and can lead to some serious punishment, fine, and punishment like permanent suspension of driving license and long term imprisonment. The best option is Los Angeles DUI Lawyer because the competency and experience of the attorney will reduce your punishments or fines and also save some money. So, Select a DUI defense attorney to precede a successful case.

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