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DUI Plea Bargains: Your Options

Updated: Apr 22

What Gets You Out Of A Los Angeles DUI Charge

You may be concerned about the fines you will face if you have been convicted of a DUI. Driving under the influence of alcohol or narcotics in California is punishable by thousands of dollars in fines, lengthy periods of probation and DUI education requirements, and even prison time. The California DMV will revoke your license even before you are convicted.

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Sentences in California are being reduced.

A DUI conviction in California carries severe penalties. A first-time DUI conviction can result in up to six months in jail, and subsequent DUI offenses can result in up to a year in prison. For a DUI, you could face up to five years of probation and up to 30 months of mandatory DUI education courses.

California rule, on the other hand, gives judges some leeway in sentencing. For a first-time DUI offense, a judge can sentence you to as little as two days in prison. For certain prisoners, the judge can waive their right to a prison sentence completely in return for probation and 12 hours of DUI education courses.

Your DUI lawyer can be able to seek a sentence reduction on your behalf. You could avoid an expensive trial in exchange for a guilty plea and a guaranteed, lower sentence.

Is it Possible to Get a DUI at the age of 18?

Is it possible to be arrested for DUI at the age of 18 in Los Angeles, California? If you drive a car with a blood alcohol content (BAC) level above the legal limit, you could face DUI charges. DUI charges may be brought against anyone, regardless of age.

In reality, getting a DUI is easier if you are under the age of 21. For drivers under the age of 21, California has different BAC levels. Find out all about the DUI charges that are used in California, the punishment for a DUI arrest for someone under the age of 21, and some potential DUI defenses right here.

California's "Zero Tolerance" Law for Drivers Under 21

Individuals under the age of 21 are technically prohibited from consuming alcohol in California. It is illegal to consume alcohol before reaching the age of 21. Individuals who drink while under the age of 21 in California are subject to "zero tolerance" rules.

If you are stopped for a DUI under the age of 18, you might be subject to one of these zero-tolerance rules. If your blood alcohol concentration (BAC) is 0.01 percent or higher, you can face charges. This means that even a single drink of alcohol will result in a ticket. Mouthwash can often be enough to push the blood alcohol level above the legal limit.

Section 23136 of the Vehicle Code governs zero-tolerance DUIs. If you are convicted of a VC 23136 violation in California, your driver's license can be suspended.

In California, there are additional charges for underage DUIs.

Other special charges are used by the justice system for drivers under the age of 21 who are charged with a DUI. Let's presume the blood alcohol level is higher than 0.05 percent. You could face charges under Vehicle Code Section (VC) 23140 in this case. Convictions under VC 23140 have more severe consequences. If you are convicted of this crime, you can face the following penalties:

  • Fines

  • Restriction on the license

  • A period of time spent in an alcohol education program

A Los Angeles DUI lawyer may be able to assist you with these charges. Right now, your DUI lawyer will start working on your defense.

DUI Charges for Drivers Under the Age of 21

Even if you are under the age of 18, you can face "standard" – or adult – charges if you are arrested for a DUI. If your blood alcohol concentration (BAC) exceeds the legal limit for adults, the court will usually charge you with a regular DUI. Drivers over the age of 21 are required to keep their blood alcohol content (BAC) below 0.08 percent.

If your BAC is at or above 0.08 percent in California, you may face criminal charges under Vehicle Code Section 23152(a). A conviction under VC 23152(a) will result in the following penalties:

  • Thousands of dollars in fines

  • Up to six months in prison

  • Your driving rights can be limited

  • A period of time spent in an alcohol education program

In Los Angeles, a DUI arrest remains on your criminal and driving records. You will face tougher penalties each time you are accused of a subsequent DUI. If you are convicted of enough DUIs within a 10-year span, you can face felony charges. As a result, it's important that you treat all DUI charges in California seriously. Find a DUI lawyer to help you through the case.

DUI Marijuana in California

Although the use of medical marijuana has been legal in California for several years and restricted recreational marijuana was legalized in November 2016, it is still illegal to drive while under the influence of marijuana. When marijuana is used while driving, it makes no difference if it is recreational or medical marijuana. And if you had a prescription and were driving while inebriated, you could still face a DUI fee.

  • When dealing with a semi-legalized drug, it's important to note that communicating with a legal professional can be extremely beneficial. Marijuana laws are subject to change on a regular basis, and they are usually riddled with nuanced legislation, exceptions, and guidelines.

  • Consultation with a drug recognition specialist, called a drug recognition evaluator, is becoming a common procedure during marijuana DUI investigations (DRE). These officers have received advanced training to assess (1) disability; (2) if a medical condition or drugs contributed to the impairment; and (3) if drugs contributed to the impairment, what class of drug it was.

The DRE procedure is a collection of measures that physicians have used to assess drug and alcohol-induced disability for decades. Either at the scene or later at the police station, the test takes place. In the end, these assessments are based on 12 variables, including the officer's accuracy, training, and experience.

Typically, the DRE would recommend that the driver submits to a lab examination of blood, saliva, and/or urine. This may serve as further evidence of disability.

California's Legal Marijuana Laws and DUI

The fact that California has legalized marijuana has no bearing on DUI laws. Adults over the age of 18 can possess, use, and cultivate marijuana, but they cannot legally drive afterward.

It is illegal in California to drive a motor vehicle when under the influence of any drug that affects the nervous system, brain, or muscles. Marijuana use has been shown to impair healthy and fair driving capacity, putting other people at risk.

Medical Marijuana Legalization and DUI

Since recreational marijuana usage is now legal in California, some people will mistakenly believe that driving restrictions will be relaxed as well. This is a misconception.

If you're using medical marijuana or recreational marijuana, DUI laws remain the same. The California marijuana DUI law is extremely preventive, but even if a driver has a legal prescription, he or she will face DUI charges.

Driving while medicated will be a violation of California's DUI law since marijuana can affect a driver's ability to safely operate a vehicle. Your DUI lawyer can explain more details of the new legislation.

DUI with Prescription Medication

A drug that needs a prescription DUI happens when a driver's ability to drive is harmed by the effects of prescription drugs. The disability could occur before the driver gets in the vehicle, or it could develop as the medication takes effect while driving. Regardless of whether the legal drug was administered by a doctor, whether the driver takes a substance that has a "substantial impact" on them, they would be considered "under the influence."

The prescribed drug will have to have a significant impact on the driver's ability to safely navigate a vehicle in order to be deemed a DUI. The DUI disability law covers all drugs that can make a driver intoxicated, which means that the impairment may be induced by alcohol or a prescription drug from a doctor.

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Even if you take the correct dose, a variety of prescription and over-the-counter drugs can impair your motor skills and coordination. The following medication side effects can impair a driver's ability to operate a vehicle:

  • Nauseous

  • Feeling dizzy

  • Drunkenness

  • Inability to focus or pay attention

  • Fainting

  • Sluggish movement

Different drugs, on the other hand, may have different effects on different individuals. Prescription medications that impair attention, motor skills, concentration, or judgment may be just as dangerous as alcohol. Any of the above signs of disability can lead to slowed reaction times, risky driving, or even an accident.

DUI with Ambien (Sleeping Pill)

It is possible to be arrested for a DUI after taking an Ambien sleeping pill. Ambien is a sleeping pill that is taken before bed to help people sleep through the night. If Ambien is taken before driving, the driver should prepare to be pulled over and arrested for an Ambien sleeping pill DUI, as drivers must be alert while behind the wheel.

However, taking Ambien can often result in "night driving." Sleep driving is described by the FDA as operating a vehicle while partially asleep after taking a sedative-hypnotic product.

People have been known to take Ambien, fall asleep, wake up, and fall asleep again while driving their car in some cases.

Other Sedative-Hypnotic Sleeping Medications-Related DUI Charges

Any sedative-hypnotic drug has been known to induce sleepwalking and, on rare occasions, sleep-driving. These drugs are prescribed on a daily basis and are used to help people sleep. If a driver operates a vehicle after taking some kind of sleeping drug, the same DUI penalties apply.

DUI for Gamma-Hydroxybutyric Acid GHB

GHB is a neurotransmitter that causes euphoria, relaxation, and lowered inhibitions. It's used lawfully as a prescription, illegally as a party drug, and illegally as a means of committing sexual harassment.

Inadequate GHB intake can lead to dangerous and impaired driving skills. It's important to keep track of how much medicine is consumed; if too much is consumed too quickly, a person can pass out, become less alert, or lose concentration.