First Time DUI – Virtually everyone has done it at some point. You have briefly rationalized that you have “only” had two beers or that it is late at night and there are “never” police officers on your drive home anyway. It is a terrible mistake and error in judgment, but it happens to thousands of Californians each year. Attorney Robert S. Kahn understands that DUI charges happen and defends clients in the greater Los Angeles area against drunk driving charges to help them move on with their lives.
Your First DUI
If you have never been convicted of a criminal offense or a drunk driving charge, the repercussions for a first-time offender range from relatively minor to severe, depending on the circumstances. Things that may affect the charges filed against you and the charges you are eventually convicted of include:
- Whether you have a DUI on your record
- What your blood alcohol content was at the time of your arrest
- Why you were pulled over initially
- Whether you cooperated with the arresting officer(s)
- Whether there was a minor in the vehicle with you
- Whether you injured other parties or property
Most often, a first-time offender will be charged with a misdemeanor. Misdemeanors can carry jail time and significant fines in California, but an experienced criminal defense attorney will advocate for a lesser sentence as well as the possibility of participation in diversion programs, drug/alcohol classes, or probation. Successful completion of many of these programs may lead to the charges being dismissed and not placed upon your record.
Subsequent DUIs in California
Subsequent offenses, unsurprisingly, do not allow for some of the leniency that first-time offenses may permit. California law charges subsequent offenses very seriously, especially when death or serious injury occur as a result of the drunk driving. Subsequent offenses almost certainly involve jail time, increased driving restrictions and license suspension/revocation periods, as well as felony charges that may impact your ability to drive again, find housing, or find employment.
Defenses to DUI Charges
Although many people think DUI charges are relatively easy for the prosecutors to prove (after all, you probably took a breathalyzer test, right?), there are many procedural and substantive issues that can arise to a criminal defendant’s benefit. There are strict procedures and protocols arresting officers, booking officers, and prosecutors must follow when dealing with an alleged offender; if even one of these rules was not followed, you may be entitled to a dismissal of charges. You have certain rights, and the government has certain responsibilities, that a criminal defense attorney can help protect and enforce.
Los Angeles, California DUI Defense Attorney
Regardless of whether this is your first drunk driving offense, it is important to understand the severity of the charges filed against you and the impact these charges may have on your future. In order to ensure that your legal rights are protected from the time you are arrested all the way through trial, contact the McElfish Law Group as soon as possible after your arrest. Attorney Robert S. Kahn has knowledge of the criminal court system in the greater Los Angeles area and will work hard to ensure the best possible outcome.