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Drunk Driving / DUI

Driving Under the Influence (DUI) can be a very serious criminal offense depending upon the circumstances of your case. If you have been charged with driving under the influence in the State of California you may face stiff fines and penalties including license suspension and significant jail time. You need to seek the advice of an experienced and aggressive California DUI defense attorney immediately. The Law Offices of Jonathan I. Kelman can provide you with the knowledge and experience that is crucial in your defense against DUI charges.

Under current California DUI law, a first offense is punishable in jail up to a maximum of 6 months. The usual period of probation is three years. There is also a fine which, along with mandatory penalty assessments, totals approximately $1500. Additionally, a driver’s license suspension of 6 months may be imposed, and attendance in a state-approved alcohol program will be required. The length of the alcohol program will vary depending upon the high level of your blood-alcohol content. Lastly, some courts may also require community service, attendance in Alcoholic Anonymous meetings, and installation of an ignition interlock device (IID).

Additionally, if so-called “enhancements” are proven or admitted, the law requires more severe minimum penalties. For example, these involve: having a child under 14 years of age in the car, speeding in excess of 20 mph on surface streets or 30 mph on highways, refusing to submit to chemical testing, or having one or more prior convictions within the previous ten years. The speed enhancement carries a minimum 60-day jail sentence. If your case involves a refusal to submit to chemical testing for blood-alcohol content, your driver’s license suspension is for one entire year with no possibility of obtaining a work-restricted license. One, two or three prior convictions carry increased jail sentences and longer license suspensions. Four or more prior convictions changes the offense to a felony, punishable by commitment to state prison.

For a first time DUI conviction, a license suspension of 4 months is also imposed by the DMV. However, this suspension may be reduced to 30 days followed by 5-months of a work-restriction if you submit proof of:

  1. an SR22 from your insurance carrier;
  2. enrollment in an approved DUI alcohol program, and;
  3. a driver’s license re-issue fee.

Unfortunately, the court may also impose a suspension as well.

Under California law, California vehicle code sections 23152 and 23153, the following regulations apply:

  • It is a crime for anyone with a blood alcohol level of .08 percent or higher to operate a motor vehicle on a public roadway.
  • If you are under the age of 21, it is a crime to operate a motor vehicle on a public roadway with a blood alcohol level of over .01. This means that even one drink may put you over the legal limit.
  • It is a crime to drink any alcoholic beverage in a motor vehicle upon a public roadway.
  • It is a crime to have an opened container holding any amount of alcoholic beverage in a motor vehicle on a roadway unless the container is kept out of the immediate control of the occupants.
  • Anyone arrested for driving under the influence must submit to a chemical test (blood, breath, or urine) to determine the alcohol content of the blood. Failure to complete or refusal to take the test will result in suspension of the driver’s license for one year.

If you are arrested for driving under the influence in Los Angeles and your blood alcohol level is .08 percent or more, your driver’s license will be taken away by the arresting officer at the time of your arrest. A 30-day temporary permit will be issued by the Department of Motor Vehicles to allow for administrative hearing and review. If you refuse to take a test, your license will be suspended for one year, if you lose your administrative hearing.

The Department of Motor Vehicles will suspend your license and issue a temporary permit for 30 days. YOU MUST SCHEDULE A DMV HEARING WITHIN 10 DAYS OF YOUR ARREST IN ORDER TO EFFECTIVELY FIGHT YOUR LICENSE SUSPENSION. Make sure you get assistance from your DUI defense attorney immediately after your arrest when challenging the DMV suspension. The Law Offices of Jonathan I. Kelman will provide the necessary guidance and skill through this critical DMV process. Believe it or not, you can actually win these DMV Administrative Hearings with an experienced Los Angeles DMV attorney and avoid a license suspension, but you must act immediately.

In California, law enforcement agencies have the right to stop your vehicle if they suspect that you may be driving under the influence. If you are pulled over, you are only required to present identification and vehicle documentation. You are not required to answer any questions regarding your destination, number of drinks consumed, etc. You are not required to perform any roadside tests such as walking a straight line, reciting the alphabet, touching your nose, or moving your eyes from side to side. You are not required to submit to a roadside P.A.S. breathalyzer test but you are required to submit to testing at a regulated facility. You will be given the choice of submitting to a breath test or a blood test. You will not be given the opportunity to contact a California DUI defense lawyer until after the test is performed. If you refuse the test, your penalties will be much stiffer.

Los Angeles DUI Cases

There are many types of evidence in Los Angeles DUI cases:

  1. Your driving symptoms are usually what first attracts the police officer’s attention and typically may involve weaving, lane straddling or erratic driving.
  2. Your personal behavior and appearance may include an odor of alcohol on your breath, bloodshot eyes, slurred speech, flushed face, unsteady gait, difficulty following directions, etc.
  3. You will be required to do FSTs (Field Sobriety Tests). These may include walk-and-turn, touch-the-nose, one-leg stand, modified position of attention, alphabet recitation, horizontal gaze nystagmus, and hand-pat. Many studies have shown that only a few of these FSTs are effective in detecting intoxication; the others are unreliable and have been disapproved across the country. Additionally, many police agencies use a roadside breath-testing device called a PAS (Preliminary Alcohol Screening) unit. These PAS units are very unreliable and are supposed to be used only to aid the officer in making a decision after he or she has given the other FSTs. Submission to a PAS test is not legally required unless you are under 21 years of age.
  4. Your incriminating statements, whether made spontaneously or in response to questioning can also be used against you in a court of law. You are not required to answer any questions at any time. A refusal to submit to chemical testing may be interpreted as an incriminating statement.
  5. Your chemical test results. In California, this involves a choice of breath or blood (or urine. if breath and blood are unavailable or the officer believes you are under the influence of a drug). All breath machines used in California are all susceptible to numerous problems and none of them are reliably accurate. Blood analysis is considerably more accurate, although possible problems exist here as well (fermentation of the sample, coagulation, lack of sterilization, etc.). Urinalysis is the least reliable test for blood-alcohol concentration.

If your blood alcohol content is over .08 you will be arrested. Make sure that you do not answer any questions until you consult with an experienced California drunk driving defense attorney. The Law Offices of Jonathan I. Kelman is committed to upholding your rights. We employ an aggressive defense and can often reduce or dismiss the charges against you. Our sole priority is to achieve a resolution that you can live with, without significantly affecting your lifestyle.

In California, close to 30% of DUI arrests do not result in convictions, and this is often due to the aggressive defense of an experienced and knowledgeable DUI attorney. In many cases, a conviction will not automatically lead to jail time. There are many forms of alternative sentencing that may be available to you. The Law Offices of Jonathan I. Kelman will make sure that all alternative sentencing options are presented to the judge. The Law Offices of Jonathan I. Kelman will vigorously defend your rights to a fair and unbiased trial and guarantees that you will receive the undivided attention you deserve.

Given the complexity of criminal defense in general and DUI offenses in particular, it is vital that you choose a DUI defense attorney who combines experience with a good track record, a thorough understanding and familiarity with the law and the local courts, and a commitment to each and every client. If you have you been accused of Driving Under the Influence, your time to get the right experienced DUI defense attorney is limited. The Law Offices of Jonathan I. Kelman has successfully represented numerous clients charged with DUI-related offenses throughout the State of California. The Law Offices of Jonathan I. Kelman prides itself on aggressive representation with a personal touch. Armed with the knowledge and experience to build a winning defense, Jonathan I. Kelman is accustomed to taking on the criminal justice system and achieving the best results for his clients.

When your future is on the line…Call the Law Offices of Jonathan I. Kelman immediately. Your phone consultation is free and completely confidential.

Office Locations

12711 Ventura Blvd.
Ste. 410
Studio City, CA 91604

11755 Wilshire Boulevard
15th Floor
Los Angeles, CA 90025

106 1/2 Judge John Aiso
Ste. #110
Los Angeles, CA 90012

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