DUI & VEHICULAR CRIMES
Understand Your Rights Upon
A Traffic Stop
Right to Refuse Answering Questions:
If you are stopped for driving under the influence, you have a right to refuse responding to any questions without a lawyer present. You may simply state that you do not wish to answer any of the questions behind asked of you.
Right to Refuse FST and PAS:
In California, you may refuse all field sobriety exercises/tests as well as the preliminary alcohol test (PAS test). Nevertheless, once transported to the police station, you are required by law to submit to a chemical test of your choice (breath or blood). Your failure to do so may be deemed a “refusal” and subject you to jail time and an automatic suspension of your driver’s
Los Angeles DUI lawyer Sara Azari knows how profoundly a charge of driving under the influence can impact a person’s life: Jail time, over a thousand dollars in fines, loss of driving privileges, hefty probationary terms including lengthy DUI classes, hours of labor-intensive community service including a visit to the local morgue, and even a reduction of future employment opportunities are all very real consequences for those convicted of DUI.
What most people don’t know, however, is that a charge of driving under the influence does not always lead to conviction. In many cases, the counsel of an experienced DUI attorney can help individuals avoid a DUI conviction. If you live in Santa Monica, Los Angeles, or anywhere in the U.S. and have been charged with DUI or drunk driving, lawyer Sara Azari can offer you knowledgeable and aggressive representation that will allow you to pursue the best possible resolution to your case.
DMV Administrative Hearings
Ms. Azari also represents her clients before the DMV in parallel administrative proceedings resulting from a DUI arrest. This proceeding determines whether the individual’s driver’s license should be suspended or revoked. The DMV action is an independent proceeding that is entirely separate from the court case. While a conviction in the court case will be communicated to the DMV and in turn impact a client’s driving privilege, the DMV’s decision to suspend an individual’s driver’s license does not impact the criminal proceedings.
In California, a driver arrested for a DUI must request a hearing within 10 days of the arrest. A failure to do so, will result in a waiver of the hearing and an automatic suspension of his/her driver’s license. Seeking representation by a skilled attorney with substantial experience in defending DUI charges will ensure that the client is protected in both the DMV proceedings and the court matter and that a defense is presented in both proceedings bearing in mind the client’s 5th amendment right to remain silent and other considerations inherent to parallel proceedings.
Ms. Azari has successfully set aside DMV actions that would otherwise lead to a suspension or revocation of her client’s ability to drive.
Driving on a Suspended License /
Driving without a Valid License
The charge of driving on a suspected license often follows a DUI conviction and suspension of their license. This is a separate misdemeanor crime that will not only be charged and prosecuted, but may also lead to a violation of the individual’s probation status if they are on probation at the time of their arrest.
Drivers who drive in California but have a valid out-of-state driver’s license may be arrested and charged with driving without a valid license. With through investigation and presentation of evidence regarding a client’s residence and intent to travel as opposed to reside in California, Ms. Azari has successfully represented her clients towards a dismissal of such charges.
DUI - Driving Under the Influence of Alcohol, Drugs or Both / and/or Driving with a Blood Alcohol Level of 0.08% of Higher
A conviction for driving under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs can profoundly negatively impact an individual’s life. DUI sentences can entail a term of probation to up to one year in the county jail (for a misdemeanor), a fine ranging from $390 to $1000, loss of driving privileges, hefty probationary terms including lengthy DUI classes, suspension or revocation of one’s driver’s license, hours of labor-intensive community service including a visit to the local morgue, and even challenges to future employability.
In many cases, the counsel of an experienced attorney such as Ms. Azari can help individuals avoid a DUI conviction following a charge for the offense. Some of the defenses that may be successfully presented are that the individual was not observed driving the vehicle (the no-driving defense); that the blood alcohol was not over the legal limit; and/or that the drugs detected in the driver’s blood were not quantified and therefore could not lead to a conclusion that the driver was impaired.
Ms. Azari has obtained a “not guilty” verdict in complex DUI matters and would be able to fully investigate the circumstances to provide her client with the best defense or mitigation possible.
The offense of hit-and-run can be charged as either a misdemeanor or felony in California. It can be established by proof of 1) a collision and 2) flight from the scene of collision (note: even the slightest movement of a vehicle away from the scene of the collision is deemed as “flight”). Proof that a vehicle is registered to an individual is not evidence that they were driving the vehicle at the time of the collision. If you or someone you know are suspected of a hit-and-run, you may be contacted by law enforcement to provide a statement and allow inspection of your vehicle. It is crucial that you immediately seek representation by an experienced attorney and avoid having any contact or communication with law enforcement.
A hit-and-run is classified as a felony if it causes injuries to others.
The crime of vehicular manslaughter may be charged when during the course of driving a vehicle, the accused negligently engages in a lawful act, an infraction or misdemeanor that may cause death and that as a result of doing so, someone is killed. Common examples of vehicular manslaughter are:
hitting and killing a pedestrian while texting and driving;
making an illegal U-turn and hitting and killing a bicyclist;
or speeding on the highway and causing an accident as a result of which another driver is killed.
Vehicular Manslaughter may be charged as a misdemeanor or felony. It therefore carries a jail sentence of up to six months following a misdemeanor conviction, and a prison sentence of up to six years following a felony conviction.