A misdemeanor DUI in Los Angeles is an unsettling experience that can bring with it anxiety about your future. During these stressful times, you need someone you can trust by your side.
If you're dealing with a misdemeanor DUI charge in Los Angeles, Chudnovsky Law is here to help you.
Why Choose Chudnovsky Law
Don't take any chances when defending your rights. Chudnovsky Law is a well-respected firm, consistently ranked among the top-rated attorneys in Los Angeles, Orange County, and throughout California.
We've received numerous awards and stellar ratings, including:
- Top 100 Trial Lawyers by the National Trial Lawyers Association
- Five-Star Ratings on Google for our offices in Los Angeles, Orange County, and Long Beach
- 10.0 Superb Rating on AVVO
- And many more
Not only do we bring extensive legal experience to the table, but the Los Angeles criminal defense attorney at Chudnovsky Law also understands the unique challenges you face. With offices conveniently located in Los Angeles, Orange County, Long Beach, Santa Monica, and Santa Barbara, we are never too far to offer our legal services.
Misdemeanor DUI in California
The penalties can range from fines, probation, and mandatory alcohol education courses to potential jail time. And beyond these penalties, a misdemeanor DUI conviction can also have long-lasting repercussions on your personal and professional life.
What to Do After a Misdemeanor DUI
If you find yourself facing a misdemeanor DUI charge, take action immediately:
Invoke Your Right to Remain Silent
When facing a misdemeanor DUI charge, always invoke your Fifth Amendment right to remain silent. This constitutional right protects you from self-incrimination. It might seem counterintuitive, especially if you feel you have nothing to hide or that you can talk your way out of the situation. However, remember that anything you say can and likely will be used against you in court.
Law enforcement officers have training in techniques to make it appear as though they are on your side, aiming to gather as much information from you as possible. Authorities can take even seemingly innocent comments out of context and use them to build a case against you.
For example, if you mention that you only had a couple of drinks, this statement can establish guilt or at least raise questions about your sobriety.
Also, stress and nervousness from the DUI stop can affect your ability to think clearly and articulate your thoughts. Even if you believe you're speaking accurately, you might inadvertently say something that harms your case. It's also easy to misinterpret the questions posed by law enforcement, and your answers might not accurately reflect what you intend to say.
For these reasons, the best course of action when faced with a misdemeanor DUI charge is to politely inform the officer that you choose to remain silent and that you want to consult an attorney.
At Chudnovsky Law, we strongly recommend that our clients exercise this right. As soon as you invoke your right to remain silent and request an attorney, law enforcement should stop questioning you until your legal counsel is present.
Your attorney can then guide you on what to say and what not to say, providing you with the legal shield you need during interrogations and any subsequent legal proceedings.
By using your right to remain silent, you give your defense team at Chudnovsky Law the best possible foundation to build a strong defense strategy. It ensures that you do not unknowingly waive important rights or make statements that authorities can later use against you, thereby affecting the outcome of your case.
Collect and Preserve Evidence
After a misdemeanor DUI arrest, amid the chaotic and emotionally charged situation, take proactive steps to collect and preserve evidence. The more information you can gather, the better equipped you'll aid in your defense, and the more effectively Chudnovsky Law can work on your behalf.
One of the first things to concentrate on is documenting the circumstances that led up to the arrest. Try to recall specific details such as where you were, who you were with, and what activities you participated in before being pulled over.
Did you consume any alcohol or drugs? If so, how much? And over what period of time? What was the reason given by the law enforcement officer for stopping you?
(Provide these answers only to your attorney.)
All of these elements can have a significant impact on how your case unfolds.
Any witness testimony can help you. Make a mental or written note of who saw you before and during the arrest. Collect their contact information if possible, as they may later corroborate your version of events.
Similarly, any physical or digital evidence can help you. For example, if you were at a bar or restaurant and have a receipt showing the time you left, that can help establish a timeline. Surveillance footage from the location can also help you. Even text messages or social media posts can sometimes provide information that may benefit your defense.
Remember, evidence is not just something the prosecution uses against you—it's also what your defense team uses to fight for you. It's not only about disproving the charges against you but also about providing an alternate narrative that works in your favor.
However, surveillance footage may get erased, or witnesses may forget important details as time passes. Therefore, act quickly to gather any relevant evidence in your case.
At Chudnovsky Law, we understand the process of collecting and preserving evidence. As soon as you become our client, we can secure evidence effectively. But remember, the sooner you can start this process, the better, as it offers the most extensive range of options for building a compelling defense.
By meticulously collecting and preserving evidence, you are not just a passive participant in your case. You become an active member of your defense team, empowering Chudnovsky Law to prepare the most effective strategy tailored to your unique circumstances. With the right evidence, even an uphill battle can turn in your favor.
Request a DMV Hearing
When facing a misdemeanor DUI charge, one of the most pressing and often overlooked steps is requesting a Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) hearing. This action is separate from your criminal court proceedings but carries significant implications for your life.
Namely, you have a tight window—just ten days from the date of your arrest—to request this hearing. Failure to do so will result in an automatic suspension of your driving privileges, an outcome that can disrupt your life in countless ways.
The 10-day window is not just a bureaucratic formality but a critical timeline within which you have the right to challenge the suspension of your driver's license. This period includes weekends and holidays, so act quickly.
Failing to request a hearing within this time frame will forego your opportunity to defend your driving rights, making the suspension automatic and immediate once your temporary license expires. The repercussions of losing your driving privileges can cascade into several areas of your life, affecting your employment, family obligations, and overall independence.
This hearing will typically discuss and scrutinize several key issues, such as whether the law enforcement officer had probable cause to believe you drove under the influence, whether they lawfully arrested you, and whether you had a blood alcohol content (BAC) of 0.08 percent or higher while driving.
You can contest each of these points, and by setting a DMV hearing into motion, you open the door for a detailed examination of the evidence against you.
Chudnovsky Law can represent you in this DMV hearing and challenge the allegations against you. We bring our years of experience in DUI and DMV regulations to fight against the suspension of your driving privileges. Legal representation in this hearing can drastically improve your chances of a favorable outcome, as we can analyze the evidence, question its validity, and present arguments on your behalf.
The DMV hearing is a civil proceeding, not a criminal one. The standards for evidence and the burden of proof are different, which means strategies that work in criminal court may not be applicable here. This is why having a law firm with experience in both DUI and DMV hearings is valuable.
Defenses to DUI Charges
A DUI charge can feel like a maze with seemingly no exit. However, with skilled legal representation, you can use a variety of defenses that may apply to your situation.
While each case is unique and requires a tailored approach, Chudnovsky Law has over 75 years of collective experience successfully using various defenses in DUI cases. Here are some common defenses we may consider.
Improper Police Procedure
Law enforcement officers must adhere to strict protocols when pulling someone over, administering tests, and making an arrest for DUI. Any deviation from these procedures—such as lacking reasonable suspicion for a traffic stop or not properly administering a breathalyzer test—can be grounds for challenging the evidence against you. Our team looks at every step the police take to ensure they did not violate your rights at any point.
Breathalyzer and Blood Test Errors
Breathalyzer and blood tests are not perfect. They can give false positives due to machine errors, poor calibration, or operator mistakes. If we can demonstrate that police did not conduct or interpret the tests correctly, this can cast doubt on the validity of the DUI charge.
Certain medical conditions and even some diets can affect the results of a breathalyzer test. Conditions like diabetes, acid reflux, and certain high-protein diets can produce substances in the breath that the breathalyzer may incorrectly identify as alcohol. By presenting medical records and expert testimony, we may prove that the breath test result was inaccurate.
Field Sobriety Test Flaws
Field sobriety tests, such as walking in a straight line or standing on one leg, are not accurate measures of intoxication for everyone. Factors like age, weight, medical conditions, or even the type of shoes you're wearing can affect your performance. Our attorneys can contest the validity of these tests and argue that they do not provide conclusive evidence of impairment.
Rising Blood Alcohol Content
Alcohol takes time to enter your bloodstream and affect your BAC. It's possible for your BAC to be below the legal limit while driving but rise above the limit by the time of your test.
This rising BAC defense can be particularly compelling when there is a significant time gap between when police pulled you over and when they administered the blood or breath test.
Chain of Custody Issues
A blood sample goes through several stages of handling, storage, and analysis. Any misstep in this chain of custody can compromise the sample's integrity. Our team carefully reviews the chain of custody to identify potential issues that can make the evidence unreliable.
No Actual Physical Control
In some cases, you may be charged with a DUI even if you were not actually driving the vehicle when confronted by law enforcement (e.g., you were sitting in a parked car). In such cases, we can argue that you had no "actual physical control" of the vehicle and, thus, should not be subject to DUI charges.
Though rare, involuntary intoxication can happen if you were drugged or consumed alcohol without your knowledge. If we can prove this, the DUI charges may be dropped or reduced.
By examining all possible defenses, Chudnovsky Law aims to provide you with the best possible legal strategy tailored to your specific case. Our goal is to ensure that every client receives the rigorous defense they deserve, thereby increasing the chances of a favorable outcome.
Contact a Los Angeles Misdemeanor DUI Lawyer
Don't handle a misdemeanor DUI charge in Los Angeles alone. Contact Chudnovsky Law today for a consultation. Your future may depend on it.
Feel free to reach out to us at (213) 212-5002. Let's take the first step towards securing your future together.