Los Angeles DUI and Double Jeopardy

  • May 26, 2017

    If you are charged with DUI and believe it may fall under double jeopardy laws, a Los Angeles DUI Attorney may be able to help. Shockingly, Los Angeles drivers charged with DUI are being charged with two separate offenses under the California Vehicle Code: Driving under the influence, which is in violation of code 23152 (a) and driving with an alcohol blood level of at least 0.08 percent, which is in violation of code 23151 (b). Many drivers question whether this is in violation of their constitutional rights, specifically double jeopardy.

    Typically, prosecutors will charge an offender with driving under the influence. If the driver has a blood alcohol level over 0.08, they will also be charged for that offense. Both charges will be pursued under different theories of liability. Prosecutors will have a pretty easy time of making a case because of the leeway they are given under the California Vehicle Code Section 25132 (a) and (b). Under a, the prosecution would not need to prove blood alcohol content, but they would have to establish that the driver was legally under the influence at the time they were stopped. Under b, the only thing that needs to be proven is that the driver was operating the vehicle both under the influence and that the blood alcohol level was over 0.08. If it is a “refusal case,” (which means the driver refused to take a chemical test), the driver can only be charged with one single count of driving under the influence.

    The double jeopardy issue has been played out in court for quite some time. The California appellate court ruled that although defendants can be convicted on both charges, they cannot be punished if both charges happened during a single incident. The court ruling gives prosecutors the means to make multiple charges without violating the defendant’s Fifth Amendment Rights. If the defendant ever faces future charges of DUI, only one charge can be used under the enhancement rule. Now is the time to find a Los Angeles DUI Lawyer to help your explore your legal options.

    Questions about double jeopardy have been lingering within the California court system for years. DMV Administrative actions, which automatically trigger suspensions when a defendant has been arrested for DUI, has also come under fire for double jeopardy.
    Under the California Vehicle Code Section 23152, the arresting officer is required to provide a notice that the defendant’s licence will be suspended 30 days after the arrest.

    If the driver is a first-time offender, over the age of 21, and did not refuse a chemical test, the suspension will last four months. Drivers can contest the suspension by filing an administrative hearing appeal request with the Department of Motor Vehicles. The Hearing Officer, who is not an officer of the court, will make the final decision on whether the suspension is warranted. Because of these laws, it is important to find a team of Los Angeles DUI lawyers that can help.

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