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Los Angeles Felony DUI Laws and Penalties

It really wasn't your fault this time. After your last DUI, you took every precaution. You had only two glasses of wine over the course of a two-hour a leisurely dinner. The Los Angeles traffic was heavy when you left the restaurant, and when the car in front of you came to a sudden stop, you had no place to go. The next thing you knew, you were blowing a 0.08 and are slapped with a felony DUI. However, all is not lost if you place that first phone call to Jonathan Franklin DUI Attorney.

There's No Time to Waste

The most critical period of time during which to build your defense is during the first few days after your arrest, sometimes even before formal charges are filed. An experienced, proactive attorney will use that time to get a head start on interviewing potential witnesses and gathering evidence for your defense.

Protect and Serve?

Once you have been picked up for a felony DUI, you have lost that privilege. The only protecting and serving the police are going to do in your case is to protect whomever they have deemed the victim or victims and serve them justice by aiding the prosecution in building a case against you.

When the police are against you, it is imperative that you retain an attorney who understands their game and knows exactly how to oppose them. As a former prosecutor, Jonathan Franklin DUI Attorney employs seasoned law enforcement officers to conduct independent investigations geared towards finding the necessary evidence to exonerate you. They do this by:

  • Canvassing the area where you were stopped and taken into custody
  • Locating, interviewing, and/or re-interviewing witnesses
  • Locating and viewing all available surveillance video in the area of the alleged offense
  • Locating specific evidence that corroborates your recollection of the events
  • Performing background checks on prosecution witnesses to determine whether or not they are credible.

The DMV Is A Harsh Taskmaster

Breaking DMV rules results in swift punishment. They will automatically suspend your driver's license, which requires an immediate request for a DMV Administrative Per Se hearing. If you refuse to submit a blood sample or submit to a breathalyzer test, your suspension period will jump from four months for a first offense to an entire year. If a death is involved, a lifetime suspension is likely.

Long-Term Effects

As you may already know, a DUI charge is a serious threat. It's tentacles can reach much further than just your driving record. It can facilitate hefty fines, job loss leading to long-term financial challenges, increased car insurance rates, and criminal charges that may involve jail time.

A felony DUI ups the ante. Special circumstances such as:

  • Children in the vehicle
  • Reckless driving charges
  • Speeding
  • Hit and run
  • Serious bodily injury
  • Death

can lead to increased punishments. In California, a felony DUI charge carries with it a mandatory punishment of three years in prison, much higher fines, and three to five years of probation requirements that usually include an extended DUI school program. A fourth DUI charge within a ten-year period in the Golden State is also a felony charge.

In Los Angeles county, installation of an IID (Ignition Interlock Device) is required, which is a Breathalyzer that is connected to your ignition. It prevents your car from starting if it detects alcohol on your breath.

Other possible consequences may include mandatory AA attendance and orders to attend various adult education programs.

Building a Strong Defense

The early bird gets the worm, and the dedicated team of John Franklin DUI attorney will get right out there to start collecting evidence for your defense, while it is still there, and taking steps to preserve that evidence.

Likewise, a good DUI attorney will want to interview you as soon as possible in order to glean every detail of the events that led up to and occurred during the incident while it is fresh in your mind.

Next, your attorney should take the necessary steps to schedule the DMV Administrative Per Se hearing that we discussed above. The request must be made within ten days, or proceedings will begin to suspend your driver's license. This a critical second step in building your defense, because the DMV will move swiftly to suspend your license, within the first 30 days of your arrest.

A skilled DUI attorney will present evidence to show:

  • The initial charge should be dropped or a not guilty verdict will result if there is a trial
  • Your driver's license should not be suspended
  • You should not be remanded to jail or prison

There is another important advantage connected to scheduling a DMV Administrative Per Se hearing, and that is the ability of your attorney to gather more evidence. How? There is no prosecutor present at these proceedings. It's just you, your attorney, and the judge/prosecutor. Because there is no representation from the DA's office, your attorney has the opportunity to gather evidence without disclosing anything the prosecutor might want to know.

Determining Your Specific Defense

After you and your attorney discuss the details of your case and a motion for your DMV hearing is filed, your attorney should be able to provide you with a viable defense. An example of a typical, winnable defense is based on scientific evidence that challenges field sobriety test results.

An experienced DUI attorney will know precisely what defense to use against errors in breath-testing machine calibration or unlawful searches. Some of those defenses include:

  • Challenging the legality of the traffic stop
  • Showing impropriety of police administered testing, i.e., breath test and blood samples
  • Showing your rights were not read to you before you were questioned after you were taken into custody
  • Showing insufficiency of the evidence
  • Challenging the police investigation

Breaking It Down

These are some of necessary legal arguments your DUI attorney should be able to present on your behalf:

  • No Reasonable Suspicion - A police officer cannot pull you over unless he or she has a reasonable cause to do so. If they do not have a reasonable suspicion in mind that you are breaking a law, they will be violating your constitutional rights if they pull you over.  For example, if you are driving erratically, a police officer could be concerned that you are driving under the influence, or that you are simply a danger to others on the road. It's also just as likely that they could suspect that you are medically impaired or something has gone wrong with your vehicle. If any of your actions are creating a dangerous situation, a police officer has the right and the responsibility to pull you over. But, an officer cannot stop you simply because you are driving an expensive car in an impoverished neighborhood, because you are not breaking any laws. And any evidence collected at that stop is inadmissible in court. This challenges the legality of the traffic stop.
  • No Probable Cause - Let's say you missed a stop sign or one of your tail lights is out. The police officer now has the legal right to pull you over for those offenses. But that still does not mean he or she is automatically permitted to administer any drug or alcohol testing. In order to do that, they need some other evidence that demonstrates that you may be driving under the influence. If a DUI test is administered without legally obtained evidence to support it, then that testing is not admissible in court. This shows impropriety of police administered testing.
  • No Miranda Rights - The laws regarding your Miranda rights are not as straight forward as they appear. There are variables involved. Did you know that when it comes to many DUI cases, your Miranda rights are not required to be read to you upon your arrest? While they are not required to read them to you at the time of your arrest, they do have to do so before they question you. If you are questioned without being read your rights, your answers are not admissible in court.
  • Inaccurate Test Results - Sometimes a false positive test result occurs. The officer has no way of knowing that at the time, so they arrest you based on that result. There are many possibilities as to why this happens. Perhaps you take prescription medication that can cause this or the equipment is faulty. Sometimes it's due to operator error. Because of these variables, it is extremely important that your attorney knows how to recognize these things. If you have a false positive result, the arresting officer no longer has sufficient evidence against you.
  • Non-Compliant DUI Checkpoint - The State of California has a list of regulations that the law enforcement officers working at DUI checkpoint sites must strictly follow. Supervisory police officers are present with the checkpoint officers to ensure compliance and everyone's safety. All drivers who are stopped must be done so without prejudice. If these strict guidelines are not followed, your DUI attorney may challenge their investigation and have your case thrown out of court.

It's Not Just Alcohol!

California law defines a DUI as "driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs." And this category of drugs is not limited to illegal recreational drugs. Any medication, a.k.a. drug, that impairs your ability to operate a motor vehicle qualifies. This includes legally prescribed prescription drugs or legally purchased OTC (over-the-counter) drugs, or anything else in your system that can impair you.

If a police officer believes that you are driving impaired, he or she may arrest you. They will, however, need to gather additional information to prove that you were impaired at the time of your arrest.  In other words, their opinion does equal legal fact.  For example, you do not meet the criteria to be charged with a DUI simply because you test positive for a drug you have a prescription for. When you take prescription medications, you are going to always have some of that medication in your system as long as you are taking them as prescribed. Based on these factors, a DUI attorney can challenge the validity of a positive result when that result only shows an appropriate level of a prescription drug in your system.

Measuring the Benefits

In addition to providing critical legal protection from the onset of your arrest, there are many other benefits to hiring a skilled and dependable DUI attorney.  A felony DUI charge can be embarrassing on a personal level, detrimental to your career, and devastating emotionally, especially if there was a serious injury or fatality involved.

Jonathan Franklin DUI Attorney will take the pressure off of you by relentlessly pursuing your defense on your behalf. Once your case is reviewed, a plan of action is created, and your DMV hearing is held, your DUI attorney can attend the many other court cases to follow without you, so that you don't have to keep missing work or attending to personal obligations.

An experienced DUI attorney also realizes that many defendants facing a felony DUI charge have never been in trouble with the law before and have no familiarity with the legal process. Unlike career criminals, they can be confused and intimidated by what is required. A good DUI attorney will be by your side every step of the way, explaining the process and what to expect.

Even if you have some experience with the criminal justice system via a prior DUI or unrelated offense, or you have used another attorney in the past, you still need the specific protection and direction from a skilled, experienced DUI attorney when facing a felony DUI.

Hiring the Best Felony DUI Attorney Near Me

If you are arrested for a felony DUI in the Southern California region, Los Angeles attorney, Jonathan Franklin DUI Attorney, is a knowledgeable, experienced, dedicated, and relentless defender of your legal rights. He will also explore every possible legal avenue to help you rebuild your life as quickly and quietly as possible. Take the first step to regaining your life, and give this former prosecutor a call at 234-464-6700 to schedule an appointment for your free consultation today.

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Contact Information

Jonathan Franklin DUI Attorney
6777 Hollywood Blvd Ste 508
Los Angeles, CA 90028