Seppi Esfandi

Greater Los Angeles DUI Lawyer

Charged with a DUI?

DUI (Driving Under the Influence) is one of the most frequently charged crimes in the Los Angeles area. If you find yourself facing a drunk driving charge, it is crucial to understand the legal process and the potential consequences. We will guide you through the DUI process in any Greater Los Angeles courtroom, explain the importance of hiring a proficient Los Angeles DUI attorney, discuss the possible defenses you can use, and outline the penalties you may face.

Hire an Experienced Los Angeles DUI Trial Lawyer

Affordable Los Angeles DUI Attorney Seppi EsfandiSeppi Esfandi is a Top-Rated Los Angeles DUI attorney that’s dedicated to defending your rights. Esfandi Law Group has obtained favorable and positive outcomes in a wide range of California DUI Cases for over 22 years. We carefully examine every DUI case to identify any and all substantive and procedural weaknesses and challenges. With focus on the evidence, police behavior, testing, timing, witnesses and driver’s side of the story, Seppi utilizes and formulates a vigorous, personalized representation to accomplish the best possible outcome.

Need a Free DUI Consultation? CALL: 310-274-6529

Defining a Los Angeles DUI Charge

Under Vehicle Code 23152(a) VC, a person can be charged with driving under the influence of alcohol even if there is no evidence of a blood alcohol content (BAC) of 0.08 percent or higher. There are various reasons why someone may face DUI charges in these situations. For instance, the chemical test results may still be pending at the time the case is charged, the driver may have refused chemical testing, or the driver may be under the legal limit but exhibiting signs of intoxication.

To prove that the defendant has committed the crime of driving under the influence of alcohol, the prosecutor must establish the following elements:

  1. The defendant drove a vehicle.
  2. When the defendant drove, they were under the influence of alcohol.

Being “under the influence” means that the person’s mental or physical abilities are impaired to the extent that they are no longer able to drive with the caution of a sober person under similar circumstances. It is important to note that the manner in which a person drives is not sufficient evidence of being under the influence, although it can be a relevant factor.

In order to stop a vehicle, a law enforcement officer must have probable cause that the driver is violating the law. This typically involves an independent violation of the Vehicle Code, such as speeding or improper lane changes. Mere suspicion or speculation that the driver may be drunk or impaired is not sufficient grounds for a traffic stop.

During a traffic stop, an officer may observe various symptoms of intoxication and may request the driver to perform field sobriety tests to determine their level of impairment. If the officer has reasonable suspicion that the driver is under the influence, they may request a breath sample on a Preliminary Alcohol Screening (PAS) device or proceed to arrest the driver on suspicion of DUI. Refusal to submit to chemical testing can result in additional charges.

The Most Common California DUI Charges:

What to Expect When Facing a DUI in Los Angeles

Many people get behind a motor vehicle, assuming they are in perfect condition to drive. However, the law does not always agree. Los Angeles County takes DUI cases very seriously and has some of the harshest penalties in the nation. The maximum legal blood alcohol concentration (BAC), while operating a motor vehicle, is 0.08%. If you exceed this number and are pulled over, you will be arrested and face serious consequences. Luckily, an experienced DUI attorney can help you avoid the steep penalties involved with a DUI. Here is an overview of what to expect:

  • Arrest: After 30 days of your arrest, your license will be suspended unless you request a hearing with the DMV to try to intervene within 10 days.
  • Arraignment: You will face a criminal proceeding that will begin with an arraignment, in which the charges against you will be read to you. You will then enter your plea of “guilty” or “not guilty”. However, you should never plead guilty unless an attorney advises you to do so. Your attorney will then attempt to negotiate a favorable outcome, without needing to go to trial.
  • Pre-trial and Trial: During a pre-trial phase, the prosecution shares all the evidence with your attorney. An experienced attorney will carefully examine this evidence to find all substantive and procedural weaknesses, undermining the testimony of the arresting officer. These strategies can be used to negotiate a plea bargain, or during a trial to win your case.
  • Possible Dismissal: If your DUI lawyer discovers a flaw in your case, he may argue to the prosecuting attorney that it’s no longer worth pursuing. If successful, your case may be thrown out and you won.
  • Not Guilty/Plea Bargain/Sentencing: If you convince the court of your innocence, you will be found not guilty and you won. If you are convicted, either at a trial or by accepting the plea bargain, the judge will issue a sentence. Even in this phase, your attorney will formulate a strategy to obtain the lightest sentence possible.

What if I’m Drunk and Pulled Over?

Steps to Take During a DUI
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Other Important Factors:

Chemical Testing and Timing is Crucial

Since Breathalyzer tests are quite accurate, readings of 0.08% or higher often result in a guilty verdict or conviction of the charges. If you are at risk, only take the blood test or the urine test.

Law Enforcement in Los Angeles are required to give you a choice between a breath, blood or urine test. If they failed to do this, call an attorney immediately because the police violated proper procedure. The police are also required to inform you that refusing either test is a crime. You must take one or the other.

So once again, if you’re drunk, DO TAKE THE TEST, but only take the blood or urine test.

Different substances can impact a driver in a multitude of ways, such as one’s judgment, alertness, concentration, motor skills, etc. Marijuana, ecstasy, LSD, Cocaine or virtually any recreational drug may affect one’s driving ability according to California law. For drivers suspected of drug-impaired driving, drug testing screens are typically performed in laboratories so that the results can be admissible in evidence during the trial. Chemical tests performed usually include blood or urine.

Even over-the-counter or prescription medicines may affect your ability to drive. Be sure and tell your attorney if you are taking any of these medications.

Chemical testing is a key issue. Accused drunk drivers often fear that if the test results are above the legal limit, they are inevitably guilty. However, there are many challenges to the validity of blood and urine tests.

An experienced Los Angeles DUI lawyer, such as Seppi Esfandi, has an arsenal of proven strategies to attack the results of chemical tests.

Will I Lose My Driver’s License?

If convicted, you may lose your license for a period of time. There are three main kinds of driver’s license suspensions and this includes:

  1. Administrative Suspension: After 30 days of your arrest, your license will automatically be suspended. This process can be intervened by requesting a DMV hearing within 10 days of your arrest. Your chances of success will increase with the presence of an experienced attorney.
  2. Full Suspension: If you are convicted of a DUI, your driver’s license could be revoked. During this period of suspension, you cannot operate a motor vehicle.
  3. License Restriction: If your license is restricted, you are only allowed to drive to/from certain places, such as work, doctor appointments, court appearances, etc.

These penalties are difficult to deal with. It is vital to choose an experienced and well-informed Los Angeles criminal defense attorney to assist in your case. Your lawyer can help you in a multitude of ways. This includes stopping the administrative suspension, making sure you understand the requirements needed to get your license reinstated, etc.

Multiple DUI Charges

Multiple DUIs within a ten year span have higher stakes with each conviction. Click on the links below for information regarding these penalties:

We’re Here to Help

Here are three things a good DUI defense attorney can do:

  1. Have them dropped – Now, while this is not easy to do, in some cases, your defense lawyer may be able to get your DUI charges dropped before you even get to trial. They make this possible by getting key evidence thrown out. Since the burden of proof falls on the prosecutor, if the key evidence is thrown out, there is no case.
  2. Have them dismissed – Your DUI defense attorney can get the case dismissed by finding flaws the prosecutor has during the trial. If your lawyer can discredit the evidence enough, they can ask the judge to dismiss the case.
  3. Have them reduced – While this is usually the last resort for your lawyer, they can help you negotiate a bargain that will help get your charges reduced.

Building a Strong DUI Defense

When facing a DUI charge in Los Angeles, it is crucial to develop a strong defense strategy tailored to the unique circumstances of your case. While there is no one-size-fits-all approach, certain aspects of DUI defense strategies are commonly employed. By conducting a meticulous investigation and paying attention to detail, your defense lawyer can identify evidentiary weaknesses that can be leveraged during plea negotiations or presented in court.

In some cases, the prosecution may be willing to negotiate a reduced charge. This could include a wet reckless charge, or dry reckless charge, which are substantially lesser offenses than a standard DUI. Your attorney will advocate on your behalf to secure the best possible outcome, whether that’s a dismissal, a reduction in charges, a favorable plea agreement, or trial.

Examination of Probable Cause

One critical aspect of a DUI defense strategy is examining the probable cause for your vehicle stop and subsequent arrest. This involves scrutinizing the actions of law enforcement officers to ensure that they had valid reasons to initiate the traffic stop and suspect that you were driving under the influence. Any inconsistencies or violations of your rights during this process can be used to challenge the validity of the arrest.

Compliance with California Code Title 17

During the investigation and collection of chemical evidence in a DUI case, it is essential to ensure that the arresting officer complied with the California Code under Title 17. This code outlines specific protocols and procedures that must be followed when conducting chemical tests, such as breathalyzer or blood tests. Any deviations from these regulations can cast doubt on the accuracy and reliability of the test results.

Maintenance and Calibration Records

Another crucial element of a DUI defense strategy is the examination of maintenance and calibration records for the breathalyzer or other testing instruments used. These records provide insights into the reliability and accuracy of the instruments. Additionally, reviewing the use logs of these instruments can help identify any potential issues or inconsistencies that could be used to challenge the validity of the test results.

Subpoenaing Witnesses

To strengthen your defense, your Los Angeles Drunk Driving Lawyer may choose to subpoena the arresting officer and/or the lab technician for cross-examination at your DMV hearing or trial. Cross-examining these witnesses can help uncover any discrepancies or weaknesses in their testimonies, potentially undermining the prosecution’s case against you.

Review of Audio and Video Recordings

In today’s digital age, law enforcement officers often utilize audio and video recording devices, such as police vehicle dash cams and body cameras. Obtaining and thoroughly reviewing these recordings is a crucial step in a DUI defense strategy. These recordings can provide valuable evidence that may support your case or reveal procedural errors or inconsistencies that can be used to challenge the prosecution’s version of events.

Independent Retesting of Chemical Specimens

To ensure the accuracy and reliability of chemical specimens (blood and/or urine) collected during a DUI investigation, it is advisable to have them retested by an independent toxicology lab. This step helps verify the validity of the initial test results and can uncover potential errors or contamination that could weaken the prosecution’s evidence.

Access to Police and Investigative Reports

As a client, you have the right to access all the evidence against you. Your involvement in reviewing and understanding the evidence is crucial for achieving a successful resolution to your case. A reputable Los Angeles Drunk Driving Lawyer will provide you with copies of all police and investigative reports, allowing you to fully comprehend the prosecution’s case and collaborate effectively in building your defense strategy.

Reducing the Charge

If all else fails you can always reduce the charge to a wet reckless or dry reckless via DUI plea bargaining. The most common plea reached is to reduce the California DUI charge to one of the following:

  • wet reckless” charge (California DUI Vehicle Code § 23103 per § 23103.5);
  • dry reckless” charge (California DUI Vehicle Code § 23103); and
  • exhibition of speed” charge (California DUI Vehicle Code § 23109(c)).

Each of these reduced charges carries with them a reduction in penalties as well.

Hire a Los Angeles Drunk Driving Lawyer

Facing a DUI charge in Los Angeles is a serious matter that requires expert legal representation. By understanding the DUI process, the different types of charges, and the strategies to build a strong defense, you can navigate through the legal system with confidence. Remember, every case is unique, and it is crucial to consult with an experienced Los Angeles DUI Lawyer who can assess the specifics of your situation and develop a tailored defense strategy. With the right guidance and a strong defense, you can protect your freedom and your driver’s license.

Have you been wrongly accused, or need to tell your side of the story? Our experienced and affordable attorneys will be sure to fight for your innocence and achieve the desired results. The sooner you call us the higher your chances are to win your case.

Need a Los Angeles Drunk Driving Lawyer? CALL NOW: 310-274-6529

Attorney Seppi Esfandi can provide the guidance of a Certified Expert in California DUI Cases who has over 23 years of practice defending all types of DUI and criminal cases.

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R. Hodges
June 02, 2020
5
Seppi was so kind and professional. He made me feel at ease and took care of all my concerns. So grateful for him and his team!

How to Win Your Case

We cannot stress enough that you read, understand and follow these 10 basic rules if you are criminally charged or under investigation:

  1. Don’t ever talk to the police
  2. Do not discuss your case with anyone
  3. Everything you tell your lawyer is confidential
  4. Tell police you need to contact your attorney
  5. Never consent to any search by the police
  6. If the police knock on your door, don't answer!
  7. Realize the consequences of a criminal conviction
  8. Your lawyer (not you) will contact any witnesses
  9. Information on your cell phone is evidence
  10. Early Intervention is the key

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