DUI is the most common criminal offense in the United States. Because of the risk, it causes to public safety; strict penalties have been put in place for someone that is convicted of drunk driving in all 50 states. In the state of California, the crime is severely punished to discourage other motorists from operating their vehicles when impaired by drugs or alcohol.
However, it is possible to be arrested and charged with DUI in Placentia, even when you are innocent. That is why you need to know about the services of the Orange County DUI Attorney. Our professional legal services will ensure that your rights are respected and that you are accorded the best defense to either reduce or dismiss your charges.
Legal Definition of DUI under California Law
California is among the many states that have strict measures in place to discourage drunk driving. DUI is, in fact, one of the crimes that are frequently charged in the state. There are various laws in place, which makes it illegal for a person to operate a vehicle under the influence of alcohol and drugs, as provided under Section 23152 of California Vehicle Code. Drivers found guilty of committing this offense can face severe criminal penalties in court plus administrative sanctions such as suspension of their driver's license.
In the state of California, DUI is defined as illegally operating a car while you are impaired by drugs or alcohol. State laws have seven DUI offenses, all convicted as misdemeanors, which can be sentenced in accordance with Section 23152 of the state's Vehicle Code. These are:
Section 23152(a), which makes it illegal for a driver to operate a vehicle under the influence of drugs or alcohol such that their physical and mental abilities have been impaired to the point of not driving as carefully as a person that is sober would. This offense doesn’t require testing the driver’s BAC level to prove that they are indeed drunk driving.
Section 23152(b), which makes it illegal for a driver to operate a car with blood alcohol content (BAC) level of 0.08% or more. This offense doesn’t require the arresting officer to prove that you were driving under the influence as long as the DUI test results demonstrate that your BAC level is higher than the legally allowed level of 0.08%.
Section 23152(c), which makes it illegal for any driver to operate a vehicle if he/she is addicted to alcohol or any other type of drug.
Section 23152(d), which makes it illegal for any driver to operate a commercial vehicle when their blood alcohol content level is 0.04% or more.
Section 23152(e), which makes it illegal to drive a car with a passenger or to drive a hired car like a taxi with a BAC level of 0.04% or more.
Section 23152(f), which makes it unlawful to drive a car while impaired by any type of drug
Section 23152(g), which makes it illegal to operate a vehicle under a combined impairment of drugs and alcohol
Note that most DUI offenders in California are accused of both Sections 23152(a) and 23152(b) of the state’s Vehicle Code, giving prosecutors options to choose how they will convict them.
The state also has a legal BAC level that it allows for different types of drivers as follows:
- Drivers under 21 years of age and those on DUI probation are not allowed to operate a car with a BAC of 0.01% or higher
- Drivers who have a commercial driver's license are not allowed to operate a vehicle with a BAC level of 0.04% or more. This also goes for drivers who operate hired vehicles such as Uber and taxis.
- The standard BAC level for all legal drivers over the age of 21, and driving a typical passenger vehicle is 0.08%
When it comes to drugs, a driver can be sentenced for driving under the influence, if the prosecutor proves that they were impaired by a drug, substance, or medicine, which affected their driving. The types of drugs that are considered in this case include:
- Marijuana and other illegal or controlled substances
- Prescription drugs, for example, painkillers
- Over the counter medications that are capable of impairing a driver, for example, cold medicines.
What is the Role of an Orange County DUI Attorney?
Any form of drunk driving or driving under the influence is considered very serious in the state of California. That is why you need to work alongside an experienced DUI attorney to understand how the process works and also for legal defense.
A Placentia DUI attorney will, for instance, advise you on what you should say and what you should not say to avoid making incriminating statements that could worsen your situation. The arresting officer or the prosecutor will ask you many questions that could confuse you. Your attorney will be there to listen to the questions being asked and to ensure that the prosecutor is only asking relevant questions about the case at hand.
You will need the help of a Placentia DUI attorney, to help plan for your defense. There is nothing much you can do after arrest to support your case. However, your attorney will be out there, gathering evidence and collecting witness statements that will help with your defense.
An experienced DUI attorney knew to well how overwhelming a DUI arrest is, especially if it is your first DUI offense. He/she will dedicate much of their time to ensure that you do not feel alone and confused. An assurance from an experienced attorney goes a long way in relieving a defendant’s stress and anxiety.
Finally, a Placentia DUI attorney will be there to defend you against the charges you are facing. A smart attorney will use the best defense strategies to convince the court to either reduce or drop your charges. Some of the best strategies that can be used in this case are that you were illegally arrested, that you were not drunk or under the influence of drugs at the time of arrest, or that the arresting officer did not have probable cause to stop and arrest you.
Types of DUI Cases An Orange County DUI Attorney Handles
Being arrested for DUI will leave you asking yourself so many questions, for instance, whether or not you will be sent to jail if you need a DUI defense attorney and where you can get one, how long the DUI process will take and how much it will cost and so on. An Orange County DUI Attorney is just what you need to avoid worrying much and to kick-start your journey to regain your freedom. An Orange County DUI Attorney can handle all types of DUI cases, including the following:
No one is ever prepared for an arrest. For that reason, your first DUI arrest will be confusing and overwhelming. Sometimes it may occur to you that the police have enough evidence against you and that it may be difficult for you to defend yourself. A first-offender does not understand the process, and can easily make things even more difficult for themselves by not following the right procedure or filing the required documents on time. That is why the help of a DUI defense attorney is needed. With the right Placentia DUI attorney, the process will be easier and simpler.
A first DUI offense in the state of California is as severe as other DUI offenses. This means that a first-time offender will still face hefty penalties and several months in jail, and even risk losing their driving privileges for some months. However, the prosecutor will have to prove the following beyond reasonable doubt:
- That you were operating a car with a BAC level of 0.08% or higher
- That you were driving under the influence of drugs
- That you were driving under the influence of alcohol
If the three elements are fully satisfied and you are found guilty of the offense, you could face the penalties below:
- Fines that range between $390 and $2000, including penalty assessment costs
- A mandatory requirement to register yourself in a drug treatment program. If your BAC level were .2% or below, the court would make it a must for you to attend such a program for at least nine months
- Jail sentence for at least 48 hours
- Possibility of facing a driver's license suspension for 30 days
There is a lot that an Orange County DUI defense attorney can do for you as a first-time DUI offender. He/she could, for instance, try to have your charges dropped, or reduced so that you will face less severe penalties. If your driving license is suspended, your attorney could help you have it limited instead, so that you can drive to and from work, treatment program, or school.
A second DUI may sound easier since the offender already has an experience with the court and DUI processes, but it is not. This is because the offender already knows that the case will be more stringent and that he/she might receive more substantial penalties than before for committing a serious offense twice. After the first offense, so many drivers promise themselves never to go through the same ordeal again, but second offenses happen. When you find yourself arrested for DUI for the second time, it is best to get in touch with an Orange County DUI attorney.
The elements used to convict second DUI offenders are the same as those used in the first DUI case, only that the offender will have committed the same offense within ten years since they were convicted of the first offense. The penalties for the second offense may include:
- Fines ranging between $390 and $1,000
- Time in jail for between 90 days and one year
- Probation for between three and five years
- Mandatory requirement to enroll in a DUI treatment program for up to 18 months
- Compulsory SCRAM monitoring for a month and can go for over one year.
- Possibility of losing your driving privileges for two years
Penalties for second DUI offense can be less or more than those listed above depending on the seriousness of the case, whether or not you have ongoing alcohol or drug problem and the circumstances surrounding your current situation. A smart Placentia DUI Attorney will be able to prepare a strong defense for you, to have the judge reduce your sentence or drop the charges altogether. Your attorney will also help you during your DMV hearing to help prevent your driver's license from being suspended.
A third DUI offender will be a driver who has committed the same offense three times within ten years. Such an offender may not be confused when it comes to DUI and court processes but will be worried about the penalties they are likely to get and how hard it might be for them to get off the hook so quickly. However, an experienced DUI defense attorney can plan the best defense for you, to lessen your charges or have some or all your charges dropped.
Your DUI defense attorney will advise you to take a DMV hearing because, as a third offender, you are at risk of losing your driver's license for three years. Your attorney will be by your side, defending you against the charges you are facing and ensure that the hearing outcome is in your favor.
Your attorney will also take you through the court process to defend you against the DUI charges you will be facing. Some of the penalties you are likely to get as a third-offender include:
- A fine of between $2,500 and $3,000
- Time in jail for between 120 days and one year
- A compulsory requirement to register in a DUI rehabilitation program and complete it
- Probationary for between 3 and five years
You may also be required to install an Ignition Interlock Device system in your car and participate in a California victim restitution fund.
Other DUI cases, an Orange County DUI attorney can help with include:
- Fourth and Felony DUI offense
- Aggravated DUI
- DUI Homicide
- DUI Hit and Run
- DUI with a BAC above 0.15%
- DUI resulting in injury and property damage
Possible Defense Strategies That Could Help Your Case
Orange County DUI Defense is all about defending our clients against the DUI charges they are facing; that is why everyone that is facing DUI charges needs a good attorney by their side. There is a lot that a DUI defense attorney can do for you, and here are some of the defense strategies they can use to help your case:
There were errors in the way the breath tests were conducted
In California, breath test results have to be well done for them to be termed as reliable evidence that can be admitted in a DUI court. If there is a chance that the breathalyzer had malfunctioned, or the machine was not correctly calibrated, the arresting officer will not have administered the tests successfully; thus, the test results will not be correct. Your attorney should know how to argue your case to prove that the test results were not reliable evidence. If their argument is accepted, your charges may be dropped.
There was no probable cause
Again, an arresting officer must have a good reason to believe that you are driving under the influence to stop and arrest you for DUI. If there was no probable cause, but the officer stopped and arrested you anyway, any evidence they may have gathered up to that point may be dismissed in the DUI court. If you were driving okay, and observing all traffic rules, the officer might not have a good reason to arrest you even if you were drunk driving.
Your arrest was illegal
There is a possibility of being arrested illegally and charged with drunk driving. If, for instance, you were stopped at an illegal DUI checkpoint, one that does not conform to the guidelines and requirements that have been set by California laws, the arrest will be termed as unlawful. If, for instance, the checkpoint was not conducting its business as required, any evidence the officers manning that point will not be admissible in court.
Your Miranda rights were not read
After arrest, the officer is required to read your Miranda rights and to advise you against making incriminating statements that could worsen your case. If this is not done, then any evidence the officer will gather from you will not be admissible in court. If this defense strategy is used well, the court may not have enough evidence to convict you of DUI.
Find an Orange County DUI Attorney Near Me
Any DUI offense, whether first or subsequent, will leave you paying heavy penalties and serving time in jail. DUI offenders may also lose their driving privileges for between six months to life. That is why you need the best DUI defense services immediately after you have been arrested for drunk driving. If you are in Placentia, Orange County DUI Attorney will be there to help fight the charges you are facing and also ensure that your rights are respected. Call us at 949-377-2280 today.