The DUI Process

Drunk Driving and the DUI Offenses

If you have been arrested for drunk driving, driving under the influence, DUI or DWI, you need legal advice and assistance of an experienced Los Angeles drunk driving defense attorney or DUI attorney. Call the Law Offices of Lawrence Wolf to begin protecting your rights TODAY….

The laws in California regarding driving under the influence (DUI, DWI) or drunk driving have changed dramatically and are very strict. You could be facing mandatory jail time and license suspension. You need the advice of an experienced DUI Lawyer immediately to begin protecting your rights and to save your driver’s license privileges.

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.

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.

Anyone arrested for driving under the influence in California must submit to a chemical test (blood, breath) 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. YOU MUST CALL THE DMV WITHIN 10 DAYS TO SAVE YOUR LICENSE.

If you are arrested for driving under the influence in California 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 review and appeal, then your license will be suspended for four months. If you refuse to take a test, your license will be suspended for one year.

Some sobering facts about DUI (Driving Under the Influence)

  • Every 33 minutes, someone is killed in an alcohol-related crash.
  • Alcohol-related crashes in the United States cost the public more than $110 billion in 1998, including more than $40 billion in monetary costs and almost $70 billion in quality of life losses
  • Drivers with prior DUI convictions are over-represented in fatal crashes and have a greater relative risk of involvement in a fatal crash
  • About one-third of all drivers arrested or convicted of driving while intoxicated or driving under the influence of alcohol are repeat offenders.
  • Impaired driving is the most frequently committed violent crime in the U.S.

Penalties for a DUI Conviction

If it is your first conviction, you will be fined $390 to $1,000 and serve 96 hours to six months in jail with three to five years of probation.

With each subsequent violation the penalties are enhanced.

Any previous conviction in any state is considered to be a prior conviction in the state of California. Penalties are enhanced with each prior conviction

If you exceed the maximum speed limit by 30 mph on a highway, or 20 mph on any other roadway, an additional 60-day penalty enhancement will be added to your sentence.

Your penalties will be extended up to 90 days for DUI if there is a minor child under the age of 14 in the vehicle at the time of arrest.

If you are convicted of a DUI while driving with a minor child under the age of 14, you may also be convicted of child endangerment, which is a misdemeanor and is punishable by imprisonment in the county jail for up to one year, or in the state prison for two, four or six years.

The state of California has a “zero tolerance” policy for drivers under the age of 21. This means that you can be convicted of a DUI in Los Angeles if your blood alcohol level is as low as .01. Your penalties are different and often stiffer.

The signs a police officer looks for when stopping a suspected drunk driver

  • Driving much higher than the posted speed limit or much lower than the posted speed limit
  • Drifting over lanes, weaving in and out of lanes, straddling the center line
  • Turning without signaling, making very wide turns, turning abruptly
  • Stopping for no apparent reason, braking too quickly, slow response to traffic signals
  • Appearing intoxicated
  • Operating lights not on, stereo volume exceedingly loud

Know your rights when you are stopped

The police can ask you any incriminating questions such as “how much have you had to drink”.

You are not obligated to respond to any questions and you have the right to speak to a Los Angeles DUI attorney. You are not obligated to submit to a field sobriety test (touching finger to nose, walking straight line, etc) without speaking to an attorney first.

You must be read your Miranda rights during your arrest. If you have not been read your Miranda rights, any incriminating conversation between you and the officer is inadmissible.

You are required to submit to a chemical test, either a blood test or breath test (urine tests are no longer eligible evidence in the state of California). Blood tests are more accurate than breath tests. Blood tests must be saved and made available to your attorney for independent testing. Breath tests are less reliable and cannot be saved for future scrutiny. If you are CERTAIN that you have not exceeded the legal limit for DUI, you should demand a blood test.

The Procedures Following a DUI Arrest

You must surrender your license immediately following the arrest and you will be given a temporary license to drive for a period of 30 days following the arrest. You must contact the DMV and request a hearing disputing the suspension, within 10 days of the arrest, or your license will automatically be suspended after 30 days.


Get your questions answered - call me for your free, 20 min phone consultation (310) 277-1707.

Los Angeles Criminal Defense Attorney Disclaimer: The felony, misdemeanor, traffic, criminal defense, drunk driving, DUI, theft, drugs, three strikes law, juvenile law, or other legal criminal defense information presented at this site should not be construed to be formal legal advice, nor the formation of a lawyer or attorney client relationship. Any results portrayed here were dependent on the facts of that case and the results will differ if based on different facts.