In California, driving is a mainstay of daily life. We spend a lot of time in our cars. As drivers, we know about basic driving violations that occur every day. This includes speeding, running a red light, and more offenses that many drivers have faced at any point in their lives. However, there are more serious crimes that drivers may face. Often these driving crimes present an even greater risk of danger to drivers on the road. They can range from DUIs to vehicular manslaughter depending on the circumstances. Rather than just paying a fine, these crimes may lead to serious punishments like jail time and more. More than this, these types can have lasting effects on your life.
If you have been charged with a driving crime in Los Angeles, you can get help. At Los Angeles Criminal Lawyer, our team specializes in criminal law and they can help you with your case. Being charged with a driving offense can be stressful and frightening to anyone, especially if driving is your main source of income, it can have a major impact on your life. This is why finding the best help is crucial. With a professional criminal attorney, you can receive legal assistance in order to fight against a criminal driving offense. You deserve to have the best help on your side, no matter what your situation may be.
Common Types of Driving Crimes in California
In California, there is a wide array of different driving crimes that may arise in different situations. These are more significant crimes than simple speeding tickets or running stop signs. Even though these are still dangerous acts on the road, the driving crimes listed below present an even greater danger to all drivers on the road. While some may be more specific than others, there are some common driving crimes. Common criminal charges may include, but are not limited to:
- DUIs and DUIs on drugs,
- Vehicular manslaughter,
- Driving on a suspended license,
- Hit and run, and
- Evading a police officer.
These are considered to be serious crimes in the state of California. For these charges, a conviction may lead to certain penalties that may be increased depending on a few factors such as if someone was injured or killed. Also, the defendant’s previous criminal history, if any, will be used to determine the severity of punishment if convicted. Of course, a conviction with any of these serious offenses can lead to a suspension of your license which may have a significant impact on your life.
Most people know what a DUI entails: driving under the influence of alcohol. It is one of the most common driving offenses that may occur. Despite this, it is important to know what a DUI exactly entails since can have serious consequences not only on you but on the other drivers and pedestrians around you. Under California Vehicle Code § 23152, it is considered to be a crime to drive under the influence of alcohol. More specifically, it is illegal to operate a vehicle with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.08% or greater. Also, you may still be charged with this offense if you are impaired even with a BAC level below the legal limit. Simply put, if you present a danger to yourself and the other drivers around, you may be charged with this criminal offense. Also, it is important to note that for some drivers, the legal BAC limit may differ depending on circumstances.
- Steven attended a party with friends and was drinking all night long. Once the party was ending, Steven decided to drive back home despite his state. While driving along the freeway, he gets pulled over by a patrol car. The officer tests his BAC level which reads at over 0.08%. Steven is charged with a DUI.
If you have been charged with DUI offense, then you may face certain punishments if you are convicted. Depending on the circumstances of the incident as well as the defendant's previous criminal history, the possible punishments may vary.
For a first-time offense, the punishments may include up to six (6) months in county jail and/or a maximum fine of $1,000. Also, your license may be suspended for up to six (6) months. For consecutive DUI offenses, you may face increased consequences and harsher punishments. Also, if someone was injured or killed due to the DUI, then the penalties may be further increased. Other possible punishments may include DUI school, vehicle impoundment, community service, and more.
DUI on Drugs
Just like with a standard DUI in which a driver is under the influence of alcohol, drugs may also impair drivers and lead to a DUI offense. Also, as described under California Vehicle Code § 23152, driving a vehicle while under the influence of any drug is considered to be a criminal offense. Similar to alcohol, drugs can significantly affect your ability to operate a vehicle which can present a dangerous situation to anyone on the road. This offense may apply not only to illegal drugs but prescription medications and medical marijuana as well. It is also illegal to operate a vehicle while under the influence of both alcohol and drugs.
- A patrol officer notices a driver recklessly operating his vehicle. He pulls him over and notices that the driver is under the influence of marijuana. The officer charges him with a DUI offense.
With a first offense, the defendant could possibly face up to five (5) years of DUI probation, a maximum fine of $1,000, and/or up to six (6) months in county jail. Also, your driver’s license may be suspended for up to six (6) months. Similar to a standard DUI offense, subsequent offenses may lead to increased punishments and penalties. Also, if the DUI on drugs offense resulted in a vehicular accident, an injury to another individual, or in the death of another individual, then the punishments may be increased even further.
Vehicular manslaughter is an especially serious offense in the state of California. Under California Penal Code § 192(c), this crime is described as the unlawful killing of another individual while operating a vehicle. You may be charged with this offense if you have been driving negligently. Also, you can still be charged even if you unintentionally killed another individual while operating a vehicle. Depending on the circumstances surrounding the incident, this may be charged as either a misdemeanor or a felony.
For a misdemeanor offense, there are certain details that must be considered. In order to be charged a misdemeanor, you must have committed a lawful act in an unlawful manner, the act presented a danger to other individuals, you acted with ordinary negligence, and the act caused the death of the other individual.
In cases of vehicle manslaughter with gross negligence, is similar to that described above; however, in this situation, you may have acted with gross negligence. This indicates that the driver in the situation was acting recklessly and they knew that their actions were reckless and could potentially cause great harm. This may be tried as either a misdemeanor or a felony depending on the circumstances.
If you have been charged with vehicular manslaughter, the penalties and punishments you may receive will depend on the circumstances of the case and your criminal background, if any. If charged with a misdemeanor, the possible punishments include misdemeanor probation, up to one (1) year in county jail, and/or a maximum fine of $1,000. If you face vehicle manslaughter with gross negligence and you are charged with a felony, then the punishments may be increased to include formal probation, up to six (6) years in state prison, and/or a maximum fine of $10,000.
Driving on a Suspended License
In California, driving with a suspended or revoked license is a serious crime and may lead to harsh punishments depending on the situation. Under California Vehicle Code § 14601, the crime is described as driving a vehicle while your driver’s license has been suspended or revoked even though you knew about the status of your license. This is considered to be a serious offense since licenses are usually revoked or suspended due to past crimes or since the driver may present a danger on the road. Usually, licenses are suspended or revoke when you have too many points on your record for negligent driving, you have a mental or physical disability, or you have been previously convicted of a DUI offense.
- Emma fears that her father’s ability to operate a vehicle will be significantly affected by his physical disability. So, she contacts the DMW to revoke her father’s license. Even though her father has received notice that his license has been suspended, he still drives. One day he is pulled over and charged with driving on a suspended license.
This type of offense may lead to a misdemeanor in California. However, the possible punishments and penalties will be determined by the circumstances such as why your license was suspended, if you have received any previous driving on a suspended license charged, and your previous driving history. Depending on the circumstances and details of the offense, the punishments may vary. Time in a county jail may range from five (5) days to six (6) months. The fines for this offense may range from $300 up to $1,000. Also, you may even have to install an ignition interlock device within your vehicle.
Hit and Run
Hit and run offenses are a common type of driving offense that is commonly heard about in the news. As its title suggests, it indicates a situation in which you may have hit another vehicle or individual with your own car and left the scene of the incident. Under California Vehicle Code § 20002, it is considered to be a crime if you have left the scene of an accident without properly identifying yourself to the affected individual if you have damaged another individual’s property. In California, if you have been in an accident of any kind, you are legally required to remain on the scene and identify yourself. This law applies to all types of accidents no matter whose fault it was, whether or not if there was an injury. Hit and run offenses apply to situations in which you knowingly leave a scene of an accident.
In California, a misdemeanor hit and run involve the damaging of another individual’s property such as their vehicle. However, under California Vehicle Code § 20001, a felony hit and run may be charged if another individual was injured or killed as a result of the accident.
- One day, while leaving work, Jeff accidentally backs into another vehicle in the parking structure. Rather than staying or leaving a note to identify himself, Jeff leaves the scene despite being aware of the accident.
The punishments and penalties for a hit and run offense are quite significant. If you have been charged with a misdemeanor offense, then the punishments may include informal probation, up to six (6) month in county jail, a maximum fine of $1,000, any restitution towards the individual whose property you have damages, and two points on your driving record. A felony hit and run offense may be charged as either a misdemeanor or felony depending on the circumstances of the case—despite what its name may suggest. As a misdemeanor, the punishments may include up to one (1) year in county jail and/or a maximum $1,000 fine. If charged as a felony, the punishments include up to four (4) years in state prison and/or a maximum fine of $10,000.
Evading a Police Officer
In California, if a police officer wants to pull you over or asks you to stop your vehicle, you must do so. If you fail to follow the officer’s order or if you attempt to flee from the officer, then you may be charged with an evading a peace officer offense. Under California Vehicle Code § 2800.1, it is considered to be a crime if you willfully attempt to flee from an officer of the law who is pursuing you in a car or on a bicycle. More specifically, if you intentionally evade a uniformed police officer who had lights flashing, a siren, and a police vehicle with distinctive marks, you may be charged with this offense. Under state laws, you are legally obligated to stop when an officer signals you to do so. Even if you did not commit an illegal act before evading the police officer, you may still be charged with this offense. Of course, when it comes to this crime, there are a couple of points to keep in mind. In order to be convicted, you must have intentionally fled. Also, the pursuing officer must be in uniform and must have clearly signaled to you with their siren and their police lights.
- While on the freeway, Kate was speeding and an officer signaled to pull over with lights and sirens. However, Kate decides to evade the officer by weaving through traffic.
If you have been charged with an evading a police officer offense, then you may face certain punishments. In California, this considered to be a misdemeanor offense. The punishment may be made to include misdemeanor probation, up to one (1) year in county jail, impoundment of your vehicle for up to thirty (30) days, and/or a maximum fine of $1,000. Also, your license may even be suspended as a part of your punishment.
Finding a Qualified Criminal Lawyer Near Me
When you are driving on the road, there are many precautions and rules you must follow to ensure the safety and well-being of everyone else on the road. Besides minor crimes such as speeding or running red lights, there are more serious crimes that may occur on the roadways. These include DUIs, vehicle manslaughter, driving on a suspending driver’s license, hit and runs, and evading a police officer. These are considered to be more serious criminal acts since they present real dangers to anyone on the road. By committing these types of crimes, you present a threat to the safety and well-being of all other drivers and pedestrians around. These crimes could potentially cause injury or death to another individual. If you have been charged with any of these serious criminal offenses, then you could potentially face severe punishments if convicted.
If you have been charged with any of these criminal offenses, or any similar type of offense, then you may need legal help to assist you with your case. Once again, these offenses can potentially lead to severe punishments. So, it is crucial that you receive expert legal assistance—especially if you feel that you have been wrongfully charged. At Los Angeles Criminal Lawyer, we have some of the most experienced and qualified criminal attorneys around. With our expertise, you can be assured that you are receiving the best help you can find in the Los Angeles area. Please contact our criminal lawyer in Los Angeles at 310-502-1314 as soon as you are able to so that we can help you right away.