Torrance, CA DUI Attorney: Get the Urgent Help You Need
If you or your family member are charged with DUI in the city of Torrance, CA, you need the services of the top-rated DUI attorney, Hart J. Levin.
Being arrested for DUI is a frightening experience, with the potential of derailing the progress of your professional life and personal relationships for years to come. In California, a DUI prosecution can result in a court-imposed sentence that will include years of probation, expensive fines, a months-long license suspension or an ignition interlock device system, and possibly even jail. There are 36,000 DUI arrests in Los Angeles County each year; authorities are heavy-handed in administering DUI punishments, making it critical to get legal counsel ASAP.
Avoiding these consequences will depend on your DUI defense lawyer’s skill, commitment, and experience.
What Happens When You Get a DUI in Torrance, California?
DUI prosecutions in Torrance begin with stern treatment for the accused right from the start. Even people charged with a first-offense DUI in Torrance are held in police custody for 48 hours before being released. California law enforcement authorities claim the detention is for the driver’s safety, to ensure they are sober and can drive safely. In reality, the 48-hour hold is little more than a pretrial punishment, since sobriety usually returns in less than half that time.
In most cases, a first-time DUI defendant will be released after a less formal initial appearance before their formal arraignment occurs in court. DUI defendants who want to minimize or avoid the negative consequences that flow from a DUI conviction will contact the best DUI lawyer immediately upon their release if they have not already done so. We focus on defending DUI’s in Torrance and other parts of LA; you can reach Attorney Hart Levin’s DUI law office 24 hours a day, every day of the year.
California DMV Administrative License Suspension Hearing: (Admin. Per Se)
Following a DUI arrest in California, the Division of Motor Vehicles (DMV) will begin the process of suspending the accused DUI driver’s license, effective 30 days after the DUI charge is filed. Drivers can contest the suspension if they file an appropriate form requesting a full hearing within 10 days of the DUI arrest.
Without the assistance and expertise of an experienced LA DUI defense lawyer, a driver has little chance of reversing the license suspension order. But skilled DUI attorneys know how to challenge the underlying justification for the arrest and dispute the evidence of intoxication.
Defending DUI Charges in Torrance With the Help of a Top-Rated DUI Defense Lawyer
The best DUI lawyer will use every piece of information in your case to challenge the legality and reliability of the prosecutor’s evidence. That degree of comprehensive analysis is standard procedure at the Law Office of Hart Levin.
Attorney Levin examines every fact and circumstance to identify grounds to invalidate the DUI charge:
- Did the police have reasonable grounds to stop the driver’s vehicle?
- Was there enough interaction between the officer and the driver for the officer to detect clear signs of intoxication or the effects of drugs?
- Does a bodycam or dashcam recording fully support or contradict the officer’s claims?
- Did the driver perform a series of field sobriety tests (SFSTs)?
- Were the SFSTs administered properly and according to the testing protocol?
- Were weather conditions, road conditions, and lighting conditions appropriate for the performance and assessment of the SFSTs?
- Did the officer score the driver’s performance correctly?
- Did the officer read the driver the “rights for use at the scene”?
- Was a breathalyzer test performed at the station?
- Did the officer observe the driver continuously for 20 minutes prior to performing the breathalyzer to detect any belching, vomiting, eating, drinking, or smoking?
- Did the officer read and did the driver understand the Rights for Use at the Station and pre-testing rights form prior to conducting the test?
- Was the breathalyzer recently certified and properly calibrated?
- Was the breathalyzer operator currently certified?
- Was the paperwork relating to the breath test properly attested to and provided within the time mandated by law?
DUI Penalties in California
The penalties for a DUI conviction in California are strict and punishing:
1st Offense Misdemeanor DUI
Up to 6 months in county jail; $390-1000 in fines; driver’s license suspension for 4 to 10 months (or defendant may immediately drive with an IID for 6 months); DUI school for 3 or 9 months.
2nd Offense Misdemeanor DUI
96 hours to 1 year in county jail; $390-1000 in fines; driver’s license suspension for 2 years (or defendant may drive immediately with an IID for 1 year); DUI school for 18 or 30 months.
3rd Offense Misdemeanor DUI
120 days to 1 year in county jail; $390-1000 in fines; driver’s license suspension for 3 years (or defendant may drive with an IID for 2 years); DUI school for 30 months.
DUI with Injury (Misdemeanor)
5 days to 1 year in county jail; $390-5000 in fines plus restitution to injured parties; driver’s license suspension for 1 to 3 years (or instead the defendant can drive with an IID for 6 months); 3, 18 or 30 months of DUI school.
1st Offense DUI with Injury (Felony)
16 months to 16 years in state prison; $1015-5000 in fines plus restitution to injured parties; driver’s license suspension for 1 year (or instead the defendant can drive with an IID for 1 year); 18 or 30 months of DUI school.
16 months, 2 years or 3 years in state prison; $390-1000 in fines; driver’s license suspension for up to 5 years; 18 or 30 months of DUI school.
The True Cost of a California DUI
The legal penalties imposed by the courts and by DMV represent only a part of the true penalty paid by people who suffer DUI convictions. The real life consequences often affect a person’s life so negatively that they may take years to recover fully, if they ever do. Our DUI defense attorney fees are reasonable and will save you potentially thousands, even hundreds of thousands of dollars in costs in fines, car insurance – or the worst case scenario of loss of career, reputation and even family relationships.
The immediate practical consequences of losing your license even for a brief period can threaten your employment, especially if driving is a part of your duties at work. Many employers will not permit an employee convicted of DUI to remain on the job.
Social fallout from a DUI conviction is also painful. Your children and other relatives may see you differently, losing the respect they once had for you. Neighbors and coworkers can begin to distance themselves and their families from you, not inviting you to gatherings where alcohol is served.
Landlords, loan officers, and prospective employers often see a DUI conviction as disqualifying for an applicant. If job opportunities are limited either by a lack of transportation or by stigma alone, supporting a family as you once did may become much more difficult.
Hiring the best Torrance area DUI lawyer available as soon as you are arrested is the surest way to minimize the chance that these avoidable experiences. Attorney Hart J. Levin can protect you as you journey through the DUI gauntlet with as little damage as legally possible.
How Much Blood Alcohol Content (BAC) Is Illegal?
Driving under the influence (DUI) of alcohol or other chemical substances in California is determined partly by measuring the level of “blood alcohol content” (BAC) in your body. Breathalyzer machines and breath testing devices calculate your BAC level by measuring the alcohol in your exhaled breath.
To be convicted of DUI in California, the measurable BAC level of the driver must be at or above the “legal limit.” But the legal limit varies, depending on the driver’s personal circumstances and age:
Driver is 21 years old or older . . . BAC of 0.08 or higher
Driver is under 21 years old . . . BAC of 0.01 or higher
Any driver who is on probation for DUI . . . BAC of 0.01 or higher
Any driver of a vehicle requiring a CDL . . . BAC of 0.04 or higher
Any driver with a paying passenger in vehicle . . . BAC of 0.04 or higher
But a DUI can be charged without proof of a driver’s BAC. California law provides the same DUI penalties for any driver of a moving vehicle whose drinking or drug intake caused their “physical or mental abilities [to be] impaired to such a degree that the person no longer has the ability to drive a vehicle with the caution a sober and ordinary person would use under the same or similar circumstances.”
Will I Lose My License?
A DUI conviction in California does include a provision requiring a license suspension, but there are conditions under which you may still driver even after a DUI conviction.
California DUI license suspension laws can be complicated. Any prior DUI or “wet offenses” can affect the length of a driver’s license suspension. Likewise, whether their BAC was above 0.08, 0.15, or 0.20 will determine if the suspension will be longer as an enhanced penalty for being dangerously impaired or worse.
Further complicating the issue is the ability of the DMV to issue a suspension that remains intact even if the driver is later exonerated of the criminal DUI charge. The assistance of an experienced Torrance DUI lawyer is essential to minimize the length of your DUI-related license suspension or to avoid a suspension altogether.
How Long Will a DUI Stay on My Driving Record?
Drivers convicted of DUI in California can often get their record of conviction expunged from the public’s view. To be eligible for a DUI record expungement, the driver must first complete all the conditions of their sentence, paid all fines and restitution. Unfortunately, if the driver served time in prison as part of their sentence, they are not eligible for expungement. However, time in “county jail” does not count as prison time.
The expungement process requires a driver to produce evidence of rehabilitation justifying the court’s clearing the DUI conviction from public record. For those with multiple DUIs, proving rehabilitation can be more challenging, but the law does permit them to obtain DUI expungement in the court’s discretion.
DUI Defense Before Trial in Torrance
The most effective DUI lawyer in Torrance begins the defense of a client long before trial by using every opportunity to highlight the flaws in the prosecutor’s case and the holes in the evidence the government needs to win a conviction. This intense defense work involves filing well-drafted motions to suppress illegally obtained evidence, discrediting unreliable evidence obtained through faulty investigative methods, and disputing the police officer’s unsupported conclusions.
Hart Levin’ history of getting DUI charges dismissed before trial and winning DUI acquittals at trial make Torrance County’s best DUI lawyer a persuasive negotiator who can also convince prosecutors to reduce a DUI charge to a lesser offense with fewer or no negative long-term consequences.
Expert Torrance DUI Lawyer: We Are Available 365 Days a Year to Help You
With experience in over 6,000 DUI cases, Attorney Hart J. Levin earned his reputation for successful outcomes through his hard work, exceptional knowledge of California DUI legal procedures, and highly developed negotiation and courtroom skills. He concentrates his special legal practice on defending DUI and related offenses, from 1st offense DUI charges to serious felony DUIs in which someone is severely injured or killed.
You won’t find a more experienced, more committed, or more skilled DUI lawyer anywhere in California.