If you're facing DUI charges in Garden Grove, CA, you should secure the legal representation and guidance of a committed and talented criminal defense lawyer. Hiring an defense attorney is your constitutional right. At Orange County DUI Attorney, our proven results and many years of experience make us one of the best choices for anyone looking for a qualified DUI attorney to handle their case. We understand the harsh penalties carried by a DUI conviction, and it is our goal to help you avoid harsh punishments.
An Overview of Different Types of DUI Charges Handled by Our Garden Grove DUI Attorneys
First Driving Under the Influence Offense
If you have been arrested for the first time for driving while drunk, you could be charged with the first DUI offense under Vehicle Code 23152 (a) and 23152 (b). Defendants could face:
- Three to five years of summary probation
- Attending a DUI school for three to nine months
- Fines that range from $1,500 to $2,000
- A driver's license suspension for six months
- You could also serve a six-month sentence in jail
If the court orders informal probation, you must comply with the following conditions:
- You should not drive with any BAC
- You should not refuse to participate in any DUI chemical test if you are arrested for a subsequent DUI offense
- You should install an ignition interlock device in your vehicle for six months
- You should not commit any other crime
For a second-offense DUI, the prosecutor should prove that you were driving a vehicle and had an alcohol content of 0.08% or greater in your blood during your arrest.
DUI charges in California are prior-able (penalties increase with every subsequent conviction that occurs within ten years). Typically, the court will impose the following penalties:
- Three to five years of informal probation
- Up to one year sentence in county jail
- Attend a court-certified DUI school for 18 to 30 months
- Installation of an IID (ignition interlock device) in your car for a year
- Suspension of your driver's license for one year, but you can be issued with a restricted license after 12 months
Third Driving Under the Influence Offense
If you have previous DUI convictions, you may think you will face the same penalties as the first or second conviction. On the contrary, habitual drunk drivers face more severe penalties.
Also, penalties imposed by the court or the California Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) for third-time DUI conviction depends mainly on the case's circumstances. Still, charges can be reduced during plea bargaining.
Below are penalties you are likely to face if you are convicted of a third DUI offense:
- Three (3) to five (5) years of informal probation
- Up to one year sentence
- A fine that ranges from $2,500 to $3,000
- Installation of a breathalyzer in your car for two years
- Attending a drug education program for 30 months
- A driver's license revocation for three years
Penalties and punishments for a DUI conviction can be harsh, but some circumstances will increase your penalties notwithstanding whether it is a first or subsequent conviction. The most common circumstances include:
- Excessive BAC
Under California Vehicle Code 23578, operating a motor vehicle with a blood alcohol concentration of 0.15 percent or greater is considered a special factor that could result in an enhanced sentence. Even if you receive probation, the judge could also impose life-altering conditions.
- Refusal to take a blood, urine or breath test
It is also considered a special factor if you refuse to participate in a chemical test. Since the prosecutor has no proof of your BAC, they assume your blood alcohol concentration was very high and will, therefore, sentence you in light of that assumption.
- Excessive speed
Exceeding 30mph on a highway or 20mph on any other road adds sixty days to your jail term. According to the law, the sixty days should be enacted as a consecutive sentence.
- Reckless Driving
Under section 23103 VC, reckless driving is driving in a way that puts other road users or their cars in danger even if you didn't cause an accident. Reckless driving subjects a defendant to an additional sixty days in jail.
- A minor in your car
Committing a DUI offense while a minor below 14 years of age is a passenger adds a minimum of 48 days to your sentence. It is worth noting that even if you received probation on the primary offense, the 48-day sentence is mandatory.
Vehicle Code Section 23136 VC is a zero tolerance law for underage drivers. It is illegal for anyone below 21 years to drive a vehicle with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.01% or higher. This law applies to every beverage or medicine that contains alcohol. The law applies irrespective of whether the defendant was actually impaired or not.
The first violation of the 23136 VC law attracts a mandatory withdrawal of your driving privileges for one year. The license could also be revoked for 2 to 3 years if the accused has previous DUI convictions.
Additionally, you could serve time, pay fines, face probation or attend compulsory DUI education program depending on the alcohol amount in your blood.
Also known as DUI murder, Watson murder is considered second-degree murder. It is charged when a defendant with a previous DUI conviction causes a fatality. To be convicted of DUI murder in Garden Grove, the prosecutor must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendant acted in implied malice. That means the defendant consciously ignored the fact that drunk driving threatens human life.
To prove implied malice, the prosecutor must establish that the defendant knew the dangers of drunk driving. The prosecutor will do this by showing that the defendant:
- Read a Watson warning for the previous DUI conviction
- Attended the mandatory court-approved DUI education program
- Had specialized knowledge of the dangers of impaired driving, for instance, an EMT personnel and a police officer
Watson murder is punishable by fifteen years to life imprisonment in state prison, a maximum fine of $10,000 and a strike on your record under California's Three Strikes law.
A strike could lead to a doubled over sentence for any subsequent felony crime you commit. And in any event, you have two or more strikes and commits any strike felony you risk facing twenty-five years to life imprisonment.
Moreover, the defendant could face an additional sentence if more victims survived the accident. The amount added to the sentence is three to six years for every surviving victim with great bodily harm or one year for every person suffering from less severe injuries.
DUI Causing Injury
Under California Code 23153, DUI causing injury is operating a motor vehicle while drunk and causing bodily injury to somebody else as a result. To be convicted of violating this law, the prosecutor must prove the following elements of the crime:
- You were breaking DUI laws,
- While violating DUI laws, you violated another law or acted negligently, and
- Your negligence resulted in injuring another person.
The penalties and punishment of a DUI with injury conviction vary significantly with your case's circumstances and whether it is a first or second conviction within a look-back period of ten years. You should also bear in mind that unlike Vehicle Code Section 23152, a third time DUI with injury conviction isn't a misdemeanor, but rather, a felony DUI.
If you are charged with a misdemeanor, you could face informal probation for 3 to 5 years, a minimum of five (5) days to a year in county jail, a maximum fine of $ 5,000, attend DUI school for three to thirty months and a suspension of your driving license for one or three years.
Felony DUI with injury, on the other hand, carries:
- Two to four years in state prison
- A strike on your criminal record if any other person other than you suffers severe bodily injury
- An additional three to six years if any person suffers severe bodily injury
- An additional one to three years sentence for every person with an injury
- A fine of up to $5,000
- Revocation of your driving privileges for five years
- A habitual traffic offender status for three years
How our Garden Grove DUI Attorneys can Help you Fight DUI Charges
Driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs charge in California is overwhelming but can be manageable. When you engage the best advocate, there is a probability of your case being dismissed. Nonetheless, to realize this, you need to consult a Garden Grove DUI attorney immediately after your arrest.
Below are reasons why you need an attorney to fight your charges:
- Gathering and Analyzing Evidence
A competent lawyer will know how to collect and interpret evidence that will create a strong defense. They could subpoena witnesses, get the law enforcement car video of your stop, take photos of the crime scene, and present additional audio recordings.
- Legal Research and Writing
Apart from collecting and interpreting the evidence, any experienced attorney should use that evidence to formulate written motions like a Pitchess motion that supports your case. Typically, motions should be filed and heard before trial. A successful motion to dismiss often leads to case dismissal.
Most drunk driving cases don't go to trial; instead, they close at the negotiations between the prosecutor and the criminal defense attorney. Your lawyer should know what evidence is likely to persuade the prosecutor to reduce your charges or dismiss your case. These settlement negotiations may result in a case dismissal or a plea bargain to lesser charges like wet reckless, dry reckless or exhibition of speed.
Other Services that We Offer
- Help You Win the California Department of Motor Vehicles Hearing
If you are arrested for driving under the influence, you may face two distinct legal proceedings: a DMV hearing and a criminal charge in court. Unlike the DUI criminal charge, the DMV hearing is more administrative and deals only with your driver's license. The department cannot fine or sentence you, but can withdraw your driving privileges for a certain time.
If you are arrested, the arresting police officer will confiscate your license and issue you with a ‘'Notice of Suspension" that is pink in color. The notice serves as a temporary driver's license for thirty days. Additionally, the notice notifies you that you have a right to request a DMV DUI hearing within ten days of your arrest. If you fail to request the hearing within the ten-day window, your driving privileges will be suspended after the thirty days.
To schedule a DMV hearing, you should contact the DMV driver safety branch office near you. Remember to contact the DMV office to plan your hearing within ten days of the arrest.
If you use one of our lawyers to represent you in court, they could request as well as schedule this hearing on your behalf as long as you retain their service within the ten days. They will also show up on your behalf. That means you don't have to attend the hearing unless you are going to testify.
Moreover, a qualified Garden Grove DUI attorney will present the following defense at the DMV hearing:
- You weren't operating a vehicle
If the arresting officer didn't personally see you driving a car and either there isn't any evidence that can prove that you were operating the vehicle or the California DMV did not summon any witness who did, then the DMV should not suspend your license.
- Your attorney could also claim that you were arrested at an unlawful DUI checkpoint
Under California DUI laws, if you're arrested at a DUI sobriety checkpoint which doesn't meet the legal requirement, then that arrest is unlawful. That means even though you were drunk driving, the illegal arrest overrides that fact, and you could win your DMV DUI hearing.
- The police didn't have probable reason to arrest you for driving under the influence
If the arresting officer didn't have a probable cause to arrest you, then a DMV hearing officer should not suspend your license. Your attorney could argue the following reasons why the police did not have probable reason to detain you:
- You were complying with traffic rules and were pulled over as a victim of racial profiling
- You got involved in a road accident but started to drink after you reached home
- The chemical testing instrument wasn't functioning properly
In line with California's Code of Regulations Title 17, breath testing gadgets should go through an accuracy check after every 150 blows or 10 days. If you provided a sample on an instrument that did not comply with these principles, your blood alcohol concentration amount might be incorrect. As a result, the hearing officer should reverse your license suspension.
- Acquiring SR22
Once your driving privileges have been revoked or suspended either because you did not request a DMV DUI hearing, or you lost the DMV hearing, or you were convicted of DUI, an SR22 is essential to restore your privileges to drive. The SR22 is proof of auto insurance. Our skilled attorney can assist you in understanding the requirements you should meet as well as help you file different SR22 forms like the Owner's Policy Certificate, Broad Coverage Policy Certificate, and Operator's Policy Certificate.
- Representation for Out-of-State Motorist Detained for DUI in California
When driving home from Garden Grove or any other tourist destination, a citizen of another state could be arrested for DUI. Although the courts in California may not suspend your license, the conviction may still have serious penalties that could include loss of your state driver's license.
While every driver facing DMV hearing benefits from legal representation, an out-of-state driver requires more urgent representation. You don't have to come to California for your hearing since a telephonic appearance is okay. If you choose a telephonic appearance, you should retain a DUI criminal defense attorney to appear on your behalf, challenge the evidence supporting your license suspension, plea bargain, and make sure your rights are protected.
- DUI Expungement
Having a DUI on your records means paying high insurance premiums, losing job opportunities among other issues. Fortunately, clearing your record is possible, but you need a knowledgeable DUI lawyer right from the beginning of the expungement process. This is because the legal paperwork process is overwhelming and must be completed accurately and thoroughly. Any mistake in the paperwork could result in unnecessary delays or even your expungement request being denied.
Finding a DUI Defense Attorney Near Me
At Orange County DUI Attorney, we approach all clients as individuals. That means we want to know the root cause of the DUI arrest. Sometimes, the defendant may be struggling with underlying issues like alcohol addiction. In such situations, our lawyers will help you obtain treatment to start a journey to recovery.
Moreover, during your initial consultation, one of our Garden Grove DUI attorneys will discuss with you your case goals and explain possible outcomes given the uniqueness of your case. It is our commitment to try our best to ensure these goals are realized. What are you waiting for? Call us today at 949-377-2280 to begin this process.