At the Orange County DUI Attorney Law Firm, we know that the DUI process can be a stressful situation. If you are facing DUI charges, you know that the punishments you are facing can have a lasting effect on your life. It is imperative that you contact an attorney as soon as you can, in order to make sure that you fully understand what punishments you may face, and how to go forward during this stressful time. Vincent Ross, our chief trial attorney, has almost three decades of experience representing clients in DUI cases, and has consistently obtained favorable outcomes for his clients.
We acknowledge that the cost of a DUI in Orange County is expensive. The non-monetary effect of a DUI can be just as, or even more overwhelming in some cases. If you, or someone you know has been arrested for DUI in Orange County, representation from an experienced and affordable attorney can be very advantageous and will provide you with better odds of reducing, or even dismissing the charges against you.
The advantages of having an attorney from the Orange County DUI Attorney Law Firm represent you can include, but are not limited to:
- Exemplary representation during your DMV hearing;
- A defense team with resources and time to handle your case with the utmost attention;
- Experienced attorneys who have enjoyed success in obtaining plea deals for clients; and
- Exemplary representation during your criminal trial, if your case requires it.
If you have been arrested for DUI, there may be questions you would like the answers to. The information provided in this article will summarize the DMV hearing process, the criminal process of your case, and how hiring the Orange County DUI Attorney Law Firm to handle your case can benefit you.
DMV Hearing Process
If you are going through the DUI process for your first time, you may not know that you will have to go through two different proceedings. The first process is the DMV hearing and the second is the criminal process.
At the DMV hearing you will be able to challenge the suspension of your driver’s license. During this hearing, it is permitted for you to have your attorney present, which can work as an advantage for you. The DMV hearing is rather similar to the criminal process, but it will not determine if you are guilty or not guilty of the DUI charges against you. The only thing that will be decided is, whether you get to keep your driving privileges or not. The answers to the following questions will determine whether you will be able to keep your driver’s license or if it will be suspended:
- Did the police officers have a reasonable suspicion that you were under the influence of drugs or alcohol when operating the motor vehicle? This addresses whether or not the police made a valid presumption that you were driving under the influence.
- Did the police officers have probable cause to warrant an arrest for driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol? Probable cause necessitates more facts than a showing of reasonable suspicion, and the standard for probable cause is met when the police can point out specific facts that indicate you were driving under the influence.
- Were you properly informed the consequences you would face if you refused the blood or breath test? If you choose to refuse the blood or breath test, you must be apprised that the refusal could result in your driver’s license being suspended. In California, when an individual is issued a driver’s license, the individual gives implied consent to agree to subject to a post DUI arrest tests.
- After being explained the consequences a refusal could result in, did you submit to the blood or breath test?
After the administrative judge has obtained the answers to these questions, the judge will issue a “notice of findings of facts.” The notice of findings of facts will contain the administrative judge’s decision on the issue of your driver’s license suspension. As stated above, this decision does not impact your criminal case in any way, and cannot be used as evidence of your guilt or innocence.
Prevailing At The DMV Hearing:
If the administrative judge determines that not enough evidence has been presented at the DMV hearing to warrant a license suspension, the administrative judge will set aside your driver’s license suspension and reinstate your driving privileges. Although the outcome in the DMV hearing has no impact on your criminal case, it can be beneficial for numerous reasons. Success in a DMV hearing can help your attorney negotiate with the District Attorney for a possible plea deal. Also, prevailing at your DMV hearing can show that the evidence the prosecution has against you is not strong. On the other hand, it is important to remember that prevailing at the DMV hearing does not mean that your license will not be suspended. You will be able to retain your driving privileges throughout the criminal case, but if you are found guilty after the criminal case has concluded, the DMV will then suspend your license. For this reason, we highly encourage you to seek out representation by a competent and knowledgeable attorney who can stand by your side during the entire DUI process.
Unfavorable Outcome At The DMV Hearing:
f you do not prevail at the DMV hearing, and the administrative judge determines that there is enough evidence to warrant suspending your license, the notice of findings of facts will state the date your suspension will end. Usually, your driver’s license suspension will last for 1 year. However, the suspension period is determined by numerous factors and will vary from case to case. Similar to when an individual prevails at the DMV hearing, the decision will bear no weight during your criminal case, and the suspension could be set aside if found not guilty in the criminal case.
How The Orange County DUI Attorney Law Firm Can Increase Your Chances Of Prevailing At The DMV Hearing
Vincent Ross, one of the best attorneys in the business, has trained all of our attorneys. Mr. Ross has been practicing DUI defense law for nearly thirty years, and is our chief trial attorney. No matter the specific circumstances of your case, we have most likely represented a client in a similar situation. As such, our attorneys know precisely what to look for in order to build you the best defense available. Some of the arguments our attorneys can make in your defense are:
You Were Not Operating The Motor Vehicle When You Were Arrested
This argument often goes unused, but it can be one of the most effective defenses available. In order for an individual to be convicted of a DUI, the individual must be operating the car, and be under the influence at the same time. Sometimes, an individual will be arrested for DUI, because the individual was in, or within close vicinity to his or her vehicle while being under the influence. However, this does not mean that the individual was operating, driving, or controlling the vehicle. Remember that during the DMV hearing, one of the questions answered is whether the arresting officer had probable cause to make the arrest. If the individual is never seen controlling the vehicle, an argument can be made that the arresting officer did not have probable cause to warrant a DUI arrest.
An Unlawful California DUI Checkpoint Resulted In Your Arrest
DUI checkpoints in California must adhere to certain guidelines set forth by the California Supreme Court. These guidelines are:
All operational decisions must be made by the supervising officers;
The criteria for stopping cars must be unbiased and neutral;
The locations where the checkpoints are located must be reasonably safe, checkpoints can only last a reasonable amount of time; and be implemented at a reasonable time of day/night; and
Drivers that are stopped can only be held for a reasonable amount of time.
If you have been arrested at a checkpoint that you believe failed these mandatory guidelines, your arrest may be unlawful, and the DMV should not suspend your driver’s license.
The Police Lacked Reasonable Suspicion To Warrant A Traffic Stop
As previously stated, in order to conduct a traffic stop, the police officer must have a reasonable suspicion that you are violating some law. Sometimes, the police may believe you are under the influence, based on the time of night you are driving, or even because you are driving on a specific road. Even if the police officers were correct in assuming you were under the influence, if you did not violate any traffic laws, the police officer had no right to conduct the traffic stop. If you believe that you were subjected to an unreasonable traffic stop, the evidence obtained as a result of that stop can be considered inadmissible.
Improper Administering Of The Initial Breath Test
If you were stopped for being suspected of DUI, you were probably given a Preliminary Alcohol Screening (PAS) Test. Title 17 of the California Code mandates that an officer administering the PAS test waits to administer the test for 15 minutes. This waiting period is required in order to reduce the possibility of alcohol contained in the mouth to influence the test and result in a false positive, or unnecessarily increased result. The officer administering the test must also observe the individual during the 15 minutes to ensure that the individual does not eat, drink, smoke, or vomit, prior to taking the test because any of these instances can impact the test results.
These are just some of the numerous arguments that our attorneys can make on your behalf during the DMV hearing. Our attorneys will do everything in their power to increase the probability that your driver’s license will not be suspended at the conclusion of the DMV hearing.
The Criminal Process
After the DMV hearing has concluded, the criminal part of your case will commence. The first part of the criminal case is called the arraignment. At this stage, you will be able to plead no contest, not guilty, or guilty to the charges you are facing. Unless you enter a plea of guilty, the criminal case will then move to the “pre-trial” stage. This is when your attorney will be able to file various motions, and can request any necessary hearings. Also, your attorney will be able to negotiate with the District Attorney in an attempt to reduce, or dismiss the charges against you. Often, the District Attorney will offer a plea bargain deal that allows the defendant to plead to a lower offense than a DUI, such as a wet reckless or some similar charge.
If a plea bargain agreement is not reached, the case will then proceed to trial, where the prosecutor is required to prove you are guilty of the charges against you beyond a reasonable doubt. During trial, our attorneys will assert various arguments on your behalf, such as:
Insufficient probable cause;
You were not read your Miranda Rights;
Presence of false positive test results;
Unlawful DUI checkpoint; and/ or
Violation of Title 17.
Call The Orange County DUI Attorney Law Firm To Schedule Your Free DUI Consultation Today
A DUI conviction can remain on your criminal record permanently. It can also have a lasting impact on your personal and professional life. Additionally, a DUI conviction can result in a financial and emotional burden for you and your family. California has very strict DUI laws. As stated previously, a DUI conviction can result in the loss of your driving privileges, substantial fines, and even incarceration.
For these reasons, we highly recommend that you do not represent yourself in any DUI case. The attorneys at the Orange County DUI Attorney Law Firm will represent you diligently and competently to help you obtain the best outcome for your case.
DUI cases are surprisingly complicated and can be governed by varying laws throughout different California jurisdictions. The attorneys in our law firm are very knowledgeable and experienced in this field of law and have experience of working with police departments, prosecutors, and the California DMV. If you have been arrested for a DUI in California, do not hesitate to contact us.
We begin your defense with a free initial consultation, where one of our attorneys will assess the specific circumstances of your DUI case to see what are the best available defense strategies for your case. Our attorneys will search for inaccuracies, failure to adhere to required protocols, administrative errors, and any other details that can help dismiss the charges against you.
Contact us today at 949-377-2280 to schedule your free DUI consultation. We are proud to represent all clients in the Orange County communities in DUI and criminal cases.