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Best Legal Defenses for DUI in Los Angeles

Posted by Ronald D. Hedding | Oct 17, 2023

Those charged with California Vehicle Code 23152 VC DUI are looking for a way to avoid a criminal conviction and the loss of their license. 

A small percentage of cases can be defended – whether at a jury trial or by way of some motion to say that the police acted illegally or improperly and, therefore, get the case dismissed.

However, there are some legal defenses to driving while intoxicated DUI charges, such as you weren't drunk, your driving wasn't impaired, or the officer who arrested you didn't follow proper procedures.

Any experienced DUI defense attorney will tell you that a  DUI arrest does not automatically mean a DUI conviction. By fighting DUI charges with a strong defense strategy, you might avoid life-changing DUI penalties that include harsh fines and a driver's license suspension. You might be able to fight DUI charges by arguing that you were driving erratically but not under the influence.

Prosecutors often focus on your driving pattern. They routinely have the DUI arresting officer testify that you were driving in a manner consistent with somebody who was under the influence of alcohol or drugs.

Blood Alcohol Content Under .08%

Many common defenses that you should be aware of have to do with several factors associated with a DUI.  I think the first defense would be that your blood alcohol level was not .08 or greater.

Blood Alcohol Content Under .08%

They usually register your BAC by way of a breath test or a blood test.  The police do not like to do blood tests because they take so long, and often, they have to go to the hospital or a station like Van Nuys that has the facility to take your blood.  They would instead do a breath test, get it over with, and see if you're over the legal limit.

Of course, in cases where somebody is under the legal limit, a lot of times, the police are not pursuing those cases – taking the person's driver's license and sending the case to criminal court. 

So, most, not all, but most of the cases that are filed involve somebody's blood alcohol level being a .08 or greater, at least according to a breath or blood test.  That's why a smaller percentage of people can argue that their blood alcohol level was not a .08 or greater.

In all those circumstances where blood is taken, the police don't get the blood result back until two to four weeks after the arrest.  So, you don't know what the blood alcohol level is, although most people know how many drinks they've had and have a good idea whether they will be over the legal limit.

Inaccurate Breath Machine

Indeed, one defense is to argue that the breath machine is not 100% accurate.  It has a .02 error rate, either way.  So, if you blew a .08, which would generally meet the requirements for a DUI, you may have been a .06 if that breath test was not accurate.

No Driving Defense

Another potential defense besides attacking the test utilized to register your blood alcohol level is to argue that you were not driving at the time of the offense. 

In many cases, the person is pulled over on the freeway, not moving, and the police come upon them.  Or, if the person is involved in an accident, police come upon them, and they're not driving. 

The issue then becomes, how did you get to that point on the freeway if you didn't drive there? They also have to pinpoint the fact that you were going. They've got to know when you were driving for purposes of their expert at a potential trial, extrapolating backward in trying to figure out what your BAC was at the time of driving. 

If they don't have that time to drive, they won't be able to prove their case against you.  Those are two of the most common defenses in a DUI case.

Refusal to Take DUI Test

Other potential defenses center around a refusal situation where they claim you refused to take the test.  Then, it's automatically presumed you are DUI. 

Of course, they have to do certain things to get you for a refusal.  They must write under penalty of perjury what you said when they asked you to take the blood or breath test.  They also just can't offer you one test.  They have to provide you with both tests for it to be a legitimate DUI refusal.

Video Evidence

Another angle that can be used to attack the police's case is video.  Sometimes, they've got dashcam videos.  Sometimes, they have bodycam videos.  We'll get that a lot of times if it makes sense. 

We'll also check to see whether or not the machine that was used to test your blood was calibrated and had any problems close in time when your blood or breath was tested. 

So, there are many different things to check out to see whether you have a legitimate DUI. If you need the best, pick up the phone now. 

I've been working for people like you and have been down the road you're about to travel with the DMV and the court since the early 1990s. Pick up the phone.  Ask for a meeting with Ron Hedding. The Hedding Law Firm is based in Los Angeles, CA.

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About the Author

Ronald D. Hedding

What Makes Ronald Hedding Uniquely Qualified To Represent You? I've been practicing criminal defense for almost 30 years and have handled thousands of cases, including all types of state and federal sex crime cases. All consultations are discreet and confidential.