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What are your options for defense against a DUI in California?

Car keys and fallen empty glass on the tableWith a California DUI charge, you have a handful of options for mounting a defense.

The most common way to defend against the charge is to challenge the integrity of the evidence against you and/or attack the observations of the officer and his / her credibility. However, there are two other main types of DUI defense in California:

1. Affirmative Defenses

Necessity argues that the driver had to drive while intoxicated because they had to drive away in order to avoid a “greater evil” such as a serious threat of harm.

Duress argues that the driver was under duress, i.e. they were threatened or forced by someone else to drive.

Entrapment stipulates that the officer encouraged the driver to drive after becoming intoxicated.

Mistake of Fact argues that the driver honestly did not realize they were intoxicated, i.e. they thought the impairments of their prescription medication had already worn off.

Involuntary intoxication argues that the driver ingested alcohol without their knowledge, i.e. they drank from a punch bowl not realizing it was spiked.

2. Common Defenses

Improper stops is the most common defense used, and it states that the officer did not have reasonable suspicion to make a stop, which is a warrantless seizure and not lawful per the 4th amendment.

Accuracy or Administration

The administration of the field sobriety test can be challenged. The horizontal gaze nystagmus test is often challenged. Accuracy or administration of the portable breathalyzer test is common. The officer may not have been trained to use it, or there could have been issues with calibration. An experienced attorney can attack breath test results due to contamination or blood draw improper and / or no preservative in vial.

Chain of custody or administration of blood test argues whether the blood sample was tampered with or otherwise mishandled.

What Are the Possible Outcomes?

If you are facing Los Angeles DUI charges, the possible outcomes are contingent upon what are called “aggravating and mitigating factors”. If, for example, you were involved in a car accident while you were driving under the influence, the charges could be higher. The same is true if this is your second or third DUI.

In each situation the judge has a legal set of minimum and maximum fines, license suspension times, jail times, and probation parameters that they can employ. A skilled California DUI defense attorney will fight for the minimums at all times.

  • The best case scenario is a charge being dismissed, community service time in lieu of jail time, and a restoration of your driving
  • Beyond that, for a first offense, the judge could order probation in lieu of any jail time.
  • For second and third offenses, reduce the charges or win at trial or work out a great deal because your attorney wins at trial and prosecutors are more willing to make a deal.
  • For more severe situations where injuries or fatalities occurred, receiving a minimal charge of negligent manslaughter while intoxicated rather than second degree murder can significantly reduce the fees and prison time.

Repeat Offenders

For 2nd time repeat offenders your attorney will fight for the minimum sentencing which is usually:

  • Between $500 and $2500 in fines and penalty assessments
  • 96 hours in jail to be served through jail-alternative work programs or house arrest, or, get custody credits for the day or two you may have been in jail.
  • 2 years license suspension (which can be finessed to 3 months)
  • 5 years or less informal probation and 18 month DUI school

For 3rd time repeat offenders, the minimum sentencing includes:

  • Between $390 and $1,000 in fines
  • 120 days in jail
  • 3 years license suspension
  • 3 years probation and at least 18 month DUI school

What to do if you have been charged with a DUI in California

If you have been charged with a DUI, you will need access to an extensive knowledge of California DUI Laws.You have the right to a defense regardless of your inebriation.

Protect your rights. Los Angeles DUI Defense Attorney Jon Artz has over 40+ years of experience fighting California DUI charges for our clients, and have the determination to get you the relief you need.

Call Jon Bryant Artz today for a free case evaluation to help you answer all of your questions, concerns and help you take the next steps.

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