Los Angeles DUI Attorney
Ronald W. Hedding started his law practice in the 1970s in the Van Nuys area. He is still practicing and handling DUIs throughout Los Angeles County and the San Fernando Valley. Over the past 25 years, I have also defended DUI cases with great success and passion. It helps to have two attorneys in the family with the same name who have handled so many DUI cases in the courts throughout LA County.
We both enjoy what we do, and we take pride in helping our clients achieve the best results possible. I can represent you because we are well known in the court system and can give you an honest and straightforward assessment of your case and let you know what you can realistically expect the outcome. There is no holding back punches, and we will not waste your time and money. If you have to be involved with a DUI, you should do it once, do it right and never do it again!
A DUI is driving under the influence of alcohol or some other drug to the point that you cannot safely operate a motor vehicle. If you fail the field sobriety tests, for example, you could be charged with a DUI if they could prove your blood alcohol level was 0.08 or greater. It's then presumed that you have a blood alcohol level too high to operate a motor vehicle safely. DUI charges are covered under California Vehicle Code 23152.
Driving under the influence (DUI) of alcohol or other drugs is a crime for a car driver or a motorist in almost every state. It is illegal to operate a motor vehicle with a blood alcohol content (BAC) of .08% or greater in California. However, the number is even lower for a commercial driver that is .04%, and for drivers under the age of 21, the threshold for BAC is set at just .01%.
Driving under the influence proves disastrous not only for the driver but also for the potential parallel car. There is a likely possibility that the driver might collide with the adjacent vehicle, and the person might expose to serious car injuries. In such a scenario, the first-party driving license can be canceled.
However, hiring an experienced DUI attorney can help you guide and support them through the complex legal process and secure their future opportunities by reducing the charges or obtaining a “not guilty” verdict.
What are the Penalties For A First Time DUI In California?
Fines and penalties for DUI first, second, third, or fourth vary depending on what happened. Usually, for a first-time DUI, you could get up to six months in jail, a $390 to $1000 fine, plus a 200 percent penalty assessment on whatever fine it ends up being.
You could get a three-month, six-month, or nine-month alcohol program on a first offense DUI, probation for three to five years, and then there are other penalties they can give you, depending on the level of intoxication and precisely what you did. You can be ordered never to drink alcohol while you're on probation. Depending on how dire the circumstances are, you can even have a SCRAM bracelet put on your ankle.
If you refuse a breath test, you will be presumed to be DUI, and you will lose your driver's license for one year. Other penalties for a refusal could include jail time if the situation is serious enough. If you are arrested for DUI, the police will take your license away from you and send it to the DMV. Then, you've got a battle to try and get the driver's license back. You will need to hire an attorney, and you're going to be entitled to a DMV hearing that you can request within ten days.
You can drive as long as you have a valid driver's license. When you get arrested for DUI, you're usually given a citation to appear in court and then a temporary driver's license. You can drive on that for 30 days, as long as your license isn't suspended for some other reason. After that, you're going to be entitled to a DMV hearing, and that's going to control exactly what happens with your ability to drive in the future.
Will I Go To Jail For A Second DUI?
On a second-time DUI in California, there is a minimum of 96 hours in jail up to a maximum of one year in jail. Additionally, if you're still on probation for your first DUI, you could get another six months in prison tacked onto that.
However, just because you get arrested for the second time, DUI doesn't necessarily mean you have to plead guilty to it. It is possible to get the charge reduced to a wet reckless or a lesser charge that doesn't trigger the mandatory minimum of 96 hours in jail. If you've got to do the 96 hours in jail, it is sometimes possible to serve the time in a private prison and do it in 48-hour weekend blocks.
Why Do Some People Go to Jail for a DUI?
For those people who get arrested for DUIs, most of the time, you're not going to go to jail, especially if it's a first offense and nobody got hurt in the case. Where you start to get into trouble and end up in jail is when it's a second, third, or fourth offense and somebody gets injured. Now, you're talking about facing jail or even prison time, depending on the extent of the injuries of the person.
The more DUIs you have in your past, when you catch a new one, the more likely it is you're going to be taken into custody. If you hurt somebody during a DUI, then you're going to be charged with a felony. You'll be facing a mandatory minimum of 90 days in jail, up to possibly three years in prison if it's set as a felony and it's a severe case. Other factors that influence whether or not the prosecutor or judge will attempt to put you in jail are:
- Whether you end up in a situation where you're going very fast on a highway or in a residential neighborhood. That would make you more dangerous and more likely to end up in jail.
- Another reason would be if you have a very high blood alcohol level. You'll notice a theme here, which is the more dangerous you are on the road, the more likely it is that you're going to end up in jail or prison. If that danger rises to the level of you hurting somebody, then you can bet your bottom dollar the prosecutor and judge are going to want to take you into custody.
The Real Truth About Drunk Driving Cases
We do not provide a person with the false hope that they will get their DUI case dismissed to obtain their business. Once we have had an opportunity to read the police report and discuss the matter with you, we will conduct any appropriate investigation. Once we are satisfied, we understand the circumstances of your case and have a legal opinion regarding your case; then, we will explain your options and advise you on how your case should be handled.
If you want an attorney to tell you the actual chances of winning your case and figure out the best way to deal with your particular case, Call us at (213) 542-0940 and set up the same day free face to face consultation. The time to evaluate whether you are going to trial on a DUI case is once you and your attorney have gone over all of the facts and defenses related to your case. Attorneys are salespeople telling you to fight your case in a jury trial before they have all the points that are not professional and are not there to help you!
Most everything in DUI defense is based on common sense and fairness. If the prosecutors can not prove that you are guilty, the case should be dismissed or fought with a jury. If they can prove the case against you, your attorney should negotiate the most favorable deal possible for you.
There is no magic pill or defense to win a DUI case. There are many defenses, but they are attacks on the police/prosecutor's case that make sense based on their problems, proving what they need to prove to win.
A Step-by-Step Approach To Win Your DUI Case
When you think about winning a DUI case, you have to have a realistic approach based on your particular circumstances and evaluate things the right way. For some, a win will be fighting the case before the jury and proving that they are innocent.
For others, a win will mean your attorney convincing the prosecutor to give you the best possible deal. While others will not get a complete dismissal, their charges will be reduced to something less than a DUI. The crucial first move is finding an attorney who will be honest with you about which category you fit in.
Once you know your target win, you can put the road map together and execute the plan to get the win. Therefore you must find an attorney that knows what they are doing in the DUI arena, who will give you an honest assessment of your case, and who has the connections and the know-how to get the job done for you!
Don't be fooled by the salesman who answers the phone for the law office you call. My office manager (who has worked for me for 16 years) understands how DUIs work in the San Fernando Valley and can give you good information about proceeding.
But, he knows that it is essential that you speak to me about exactly what happened and your chances. I have been in the trenches for 25 years and will give you REAL information about how things work and what you can realistically expect to happen. Taking control of your DUI is just a phone call away!
Why Are We So Successful Defending DUI Charges?
There are many reasons why our clients are raving about the results that we get for them. To start, we are honest with them before they hire us regarding the potential outcome of their DUI case. As I continue to represent people every day, I hear stories about them calling other attorneys and being lied to about the possibilities of their case. Or being told a bunch of “mumbo jumbo” does not make any sense.
Most people realize that the judicial system is set up to be fair and reasonable, and using your common sense is the way to go. Attorneys promising or saying things that don't make sense (but sound great because you don't want a DUI conviction) are simply not telling the truth most of the time and are looking to take your money and run.
We will tell you the truth about your chances and be realistic with you, so you come away understanding what is likely to happen to you. If you are charged with a felony DUI, the prosecutor must prove specific elements of the crime to obtain a conviction. These elements are covered in the California Jury Instructions under California Vehicle Code 23153(a). Another reason we are so successful is that we have done so many DUI cases over such an extended period that our experience helps us achieve a result that most attorneys can not.
But, when you have traveled a road time and time and again and had success, you know what to watch out for, and you know when it is time to strike. Only battle-tested skill and experience can prepare an attorney for this.
Twenty-five years in the San Fernando Valley court system, including the Van Nuys Court, San Fernando Court, Burbank Court, and the Glendale Court, has taught me that there is no substitute for experience, know-how, and relationships that are built up over time. We know the players in the system that your case is pending, and we know how to get the best result. Taking control of your DUI case is only a phone call away!
The National Advocacy for DUI Defense (NAFDD), 2013 – The National Advocacy recognized Ronald D. Hedding for DUI Defense as one of the top 100 Driving Under The Influence Attorneys in California.
When Are Police Most Likely To Strike on a DUI?
You can count on law enforcement being ready to strike on every major holiday. They will be out in force, waiting to pull over any vehicle in their path in the late hours of the night. Unfortunately, they are trying to take advantage of what should be a happy time for most people. This is where a powerful advocate must come in on your side and turn the tide in your favor!
Another time that law enforcement is more likely to be out in force is on the weekends after 10 p.m. As the night progresses past midnight, the police figure that most people driving around have probably had some alcohol, and for them, it is like shooting fish in a barrel. Even though they are not legally permitted to pull vehicles over randomly, they do it anyway and make up some excuse for the pullover. Again, savvy DUI defense attorneys know how to use this situation to their advantage and get the most mileage out of potential defense.
California Vehicle Code 23152(a)
Driving under the influence (DUI) is legally defined under California Vehicle Code 23152(a) as operating a motor vehicle under the influence of drugs or alcohol and operating a motor vehicle with a blood alcohol concentration of 0.08% or higher. Law enforcement may stop people for suspected DUI if they exhibit certain erratic driving behaviors such as swerving, disobeying traffic signs laws, running traffic lights, or weaving in and out of traffic lanes.
Before law enforcement can legitimately make a DUI traffic stop, they must have sufficient probable cause. Once a person is stopped for DUI, law enforcement will carefully evaluate the person's physical and mental condition. Suppose a person is slurring their words, can't answer questions, has bloodshot eyes, or has open containers in their vehicle. In that case, law enforcement can further investigate the situation by asking the person to submit to a breath alcohol test or field sobriety tests.
If a person is convicted of drunk driving, they face a variety of legal consequences, which may include: jail time, fines, court, and legal fees, DUI School, community service, and probation. Additionally, the person may lose their driving privileges for a set period.
Suppose you have been charged with DUI in Van Nuys or San Fernando. In that case, you need to consult with a reputable DUI lawyer immediately who has forensic knowledge, investigative resources, and legal to fight your DUI charges successfully your DUI charges.
We have successfully handled various DUI cases, ranging from misdemeanors to felonies, such as DUI accidents. Our attorneys understand the adverse consequences people face when convicted of DUI. That is why we do everything we can to fight for our clients. If you have been charged with DUI, call the Hedding Law Firm! Our skilled legal team will investigate the facts surrounding your case, contest evidence presented against you, and place every effort into your defense.
Defense Strategy For Los Angeles DUI Cases
Each court in LA County handles DUI cases a little differently. The judiciary and prosecutors try and shoot for consistency when dealing with DUI cases; however, like anything in human affairs, people and their attitudes and personalities can impact the outcome of an issue.
Your first strategy should be to hire an attorney that has handled many cases. Many different nuances can cause a case to move in the right direction or the wrong direction. Perhaps we can argue there was an unlawful traffic stop by the police.
A local attorney knows who to talk to, how to investigate, and what to say to the powers that be to achieve a result you can live with. Of course, all cases spin on their own set of facts. For example, the higher your blood alcohol reading, the more difficult it will be to obtain a result that does not significantly damage your good standing.
After hiring an experienced attorney who has litigated and negotiated many DUI cases, let them do your job for you. Most good attorneys are naturally going to try their best to get you a fair result under the circumstances of your case. The better the result, the happier you will be and the more likely you will refer their cases in the future.
Moreover, realize that there are many political pressures against defense attorneys as they weave their way through the system in their client's best interests. I have seen firsthand many different scenarios over the past twenty-five years. But, all and all, I must say that the best attorneys will obtain the best results most of the time.
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