Drunk driving is a serious offense in Orange County, and having a DUI conviction on your criminal record can adversely affect nearly every aspect of your life, possibly carrying severe consequences that can follow you for years to come. If you have been arrested for a DUI or drunk driving in Orange County or the surrounding counties, it is imperative that you enlist the expertise of the best DUI attorney Orange County.
Your freedom and your future could be at stake, and you have a Constitutional right to hire an attorney to represent your case. Even the most serious DUI cases in Orange County can be won with the right Orange County DUI attorney on your side and a strong legal defense. Contact our Orange County criminal defense attorneys at Seyb Law Group today to discuss your legal rights.
Hire the Best Orange County Defense Attorney
Unlike large, impersonal law firms where quantity often trumps quality, our legal team at Seyb Law Group takes a personal interest in our clients and their legal needs.
What does this mean? We won’t pass off your DUI case to a junior attorney just to get it done; you will work with a top DUI defense attorney whose legal expertise will best serve your defense.
At Seyb Law Group, we believe in working directly alongside our clients and their loved ones throughout the case, and our reputation for being passionate, honest, and aggressive has earned us a great deal of respect in the courtroom.
We also offer a free consultation, which means you can have our knowledgeable DUI defense lawyers assess the strengths and weaknesses of your case with no obligation to hire our firm.
At Seyb Law Group, we have years of experience protecting the rights of the accused in our community, and our DUI defense attorneys have won more than 1,000 DUI cases in Orange County and the surrounding areas. With our extensive legal resources and our proven history of success in defending DUI cases in Orange County, our seasoned legal team can help you develop a strong defense in your Orange County DUI case.
Driving Under the Influence
Driving under the influence (DUI) of drugs or alcohol is considered a criminal offense in every state, and as such, DUI charges are handled by a criminal court. In Orange County, it is illegal for any person who is under the influence of any alcoholic beverage or drug or any person with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.08% or higher (21 years or older operating a regular passenger vehicle), 0.04% or higher (operating a commercial vehicle), or 0.01% or higher (younger than 21 years old), to operate a motor vehicle.
In most DUI cases, an officer will pull someone over if they are driving dangerously or erratically, but police also often set up Sobriety Checkpoints, where they can randomly stop and question motorists and observe them for signs of intoxication.
If you are pulled over or stopped at a checkpoint and the officer believes you are under the influence of drugs or alcohol, he may conduct a field sobriety test or a roadside breath test to determine your level of intoxication, if any.
Whether you consent to the breath test or not, the officer has the right to arrest you if he has probable cause to do so. Once you are brought to the police station or formally arrested, you will be asked to take a chemical test to measure your BAC. Under California’s Implied Consent law, you have automatically consented to such a test upon being arrested for a DUI, and if you refuse to submit to a test, your driver’s license will be suspended or revoked.
California DUI Vehicle Code § 23152 (a) VC
In California, Vehicle Code § 23152 (a) VC makes it a crime to operate a motor vehicle “under the influence” of alcohol, meaning your physical or mental abilities are impaired enough that you can no longer drive as well as a cautious sober individual. This law is the “subjective” standard for DUI in Orange County, whereas Vehicle Code § 23152 (b) VC sets forth the “per se” definition of DUI, which involves driving with a BAC of 0.08% or higher.
Penalties for a DUI Conviction in Orange County
Although drunk driving may seem like a relatively minor offense, the consequences of a DUI conviction in Orange County are far-reaching and long-lasting, possibly leading to criminal and administrative penalties, including jail time, considerable fines, and a loss of your driving privileges.
Under Vehicle Code § 23152 (a) VC, most first, second, and third-time DUI offenses are prosecuted as misdemeanors in Orange County, while fourth and subsequent DUIs occurring within ten years are generally prosecuted as felony offenses. There are also aggravating factors resulting in a felony DUI charge, including being involved in a DUI accident that causes bodily injury or having a BAC of 0.15% or higher. DUI penalties for a misdemeanor conviction in Orange County typically include the following:
- Up to one year in county jail,
- Informal probation for three to five years,
- Participation in a court-approved DUI school,
- Fines between $390 and $5,000, and
- A minimum six-month driver’s license suspension (unless you initiate and win a DMV DUI hearing).
- Prior DUIs can amplify the penalties and the court’s motivation
There are also significant legal consequences associated with refusing to submit to a chemical test after being arrested for a DUI. In Orange County, these so-called refusal enhancement penalties can be added to the standard DUI penalties and may include the following:
- First DUI offense: one-year driver’s license suspension, with possible jail time up to 48 hours and nine months of alcohol education courses
- Second DUI offense: two-year driver’s license suspension, with possible jail time up to 96 hours
- Third DUI offense: three-year driver’s license suspension, with possible jail time up to 10 days
It is important to remember that failure to submit to a chemical test following a DUI arrest can result in charges for the DUI and the refusal.
DMV Hearing and Criminal Court
If you are arrested for drunk driving in Orange County, you will face two separate proceedings: a criminal court case and a DUI hearing with the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV).
A DMV DUI hearing is an administrative procedure, and the sole purpose of the hearing is to determine whether your driver’s license will be suspended due to your arrest. When you are arrested for a DUI in Orange County, the arresting officer will confiscate your license and give you a “Notice of Suspension,” which acts as a temporary license for 30 days and also gives you notice that you have ten days to request a DMV DUI hearing to keep your license from being suspended.
If you fail to request a hearing within ten days of your arrest, your license will automatically be suspended at the end of the 30 days. In most cases, when you hire a private DUI attorney, that attorney will represent you in both the DMV proceedings and in criminal court.
What to Do After an Arrest
Being arrested for DUI can be scary and confusing, and it’s easy to make a grievous mistake if you aren’t familiar with the legal protocol surrounding DUI cases. The following are the two most important steps after a DUI arrest.
Don’t Talk to the Police
After being arrested and taken into custody for questioning, your Miranda rights must be read. According to the Miranda warning, you have the right to remain silent, and your choice to remain silent is not reason enough to convict you of the crime, nor is it considered obstructing justice, so long as you do not willfully “resist, delay or obstruct” the officer in the performance of his or her on-the-job duties. If you aren’t careful, you could accidentally make incriminating statements that could damage your case, and staying silent is an easy way to avoid this mistake. The police can question you without a lawyer present, but you are not obligated to answer.
Contact a Knowledgeable DUI Defense Lawyer
In addition to remaining silent, you also have the right to an attorney. The facts of every DUI case are unique, which is why hiring a defense attorney with experience handling Orange County DUI cases should be your first course of action following your DUI arrest. An experienced DUI attorney will have a more comprehensive understanding of Orange County DUI law and what defenses are most effective in such cases. Bring your police report and any other documents pertaining to your case to the consultation to give your attorney the clearest picture of the charges you are facing and the path to the best possible outcome. With an experienced DUI attorney on your side, you may be able to secure a more satisfactory result in your criminal case – a more favorable plea bargain perhaps, or a dismissal of the charges altogether.
Should You Represent Yourself?
If you have been arrested for or charged with driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs, you have the right to represent yourself in court, but that is rarely a good idea. Unless you are intimately familiar with the intricacies of Orange County DUI law, representing yourself will put you at a severe disadvantage in court. Your lack of knowledge concerning the court rules will only serve to irritate the judge in your case.
DUI law in Orange County is complicated and constantly changing, and the science involved in DUI cases today is quite complex, which means hiring just any defense attorney is not in your best interest when facing DUI charges. If you are going to trial for a DUI, you should be represented by an attorney specializing in DUI defense.
Best Defense Strategies in Orange County DUI Cases
Your attorney can use many different strategies to defend you against DUI charges in Orange County. With a strong defense, your attorney may be able to get your charges reduced and your penalties minimized or may even be able to get the DUI charges dropped altogether, so you and your attorney must work together to build the strongest defense possible. Some common DUI defenses in Orange County include arguing the following points:
- Your Constitutional rights were violated
- The arresting officer engaged in racial profiling or other misconduct
- The BAC results from the breathalyzer test were not accurate
- The arresting officer did not have probable cause to make the initial stop
- The officer made an illegal arrest
- The arresting officer observed signs of intoxication were due to another cause – illness, allergies, fatigue, sun exposure, etc.
- Alcohol was not the reason for your driving issues
- The arresting officer failed to follow proper procedure in your arrest (i.e. did not read you your Miranda rights)
How Hiring a DUI Attorney Can Help
Orange County is one of the most aggressive counties in California in terms of prosecuting DUI cases, and the only reasonable way to defend yourself is to hire a skilled DUI trial lawyer. The following are some important ways to hire a knowledgeable DUI defense attorney who can help your case. An experienced criminal defense lawyer will:
- Use all available resources to build a strong defense in your case (i.e., interviewing witnesses or hiring a private investigator)
- Investigate the circumstances of your case and offer legal advice on how you can fight these charges
- Keep track of important legal deadlines
- Attempt to negotiate with the prosecutor
- Work to get your conviction expunged
It is important to remember that you only have ten days from the date of your arrest to request a DUI hearing with the DMV or risk having your driver’s license suspended, so don’t wait to hire legal representation.
Contact Our Experienced Orange County DUI Lawyer Today
Over the years, our DUI defense attorneys at Seyb Law Group have provided our clients with exceptional criminal defense representation and have established a record of success in handling DUI cases in Orange County and the surrounding counties.
Our primary goal at Seyb Law Group is to protect your rights and help you get the best possible outcome in your Orange County DUI case. We have represented thousands of individuals accused of driving under the influence in Orange County and the surrounding counties and have won countless not-guilty verdicts.
We are passionate about protecting the rights of individuals unfairly accused of drunk driving and aggressively defending them against DUI charges. Contact our Orange County DUI defense attorneys today to discuss how to best defend yourself against DUI charges in Orange County California.