As with any criminal charge, drunk driving is a serious offense and even a misdemeanor first DUI offense can result in significant penalties with long-lasting consequences. For example, a DUI conviction will stay on your driving record for ten years, which means anyone who runs a background check for employment, housing or education purposes will see your conviction.
At Seyb Law Group, our DUI defense lawyers will protect your legal rights under Orange County law and will work tirelessly to help you get the best possible outcome in your criminal case. Our legal team understands the importance of a good defense against drunk driving charges and we have delivered superior criminal defense representation to a wide range of clients facing all manner of DUI charges.
For more information about first-time DUI offenses in Orange County and the most effective DUI defense strategies, contact our legal team at Seyb Law Group today.
Affordable Orange County First DUI Attorney
When facing first DUI charges in Orange County, your very first course of action should be to find an aggressive and experienced DUI defense lawyer to represent your case.
The best advice we can give someone facing a DUI in Orange County is this: you should never leave your freedom and your future in the hands of an attorney who doesn’t specialize in Orange County DUI defense.
If you have been charged with DUI, you should be represented by an attorney with a proven record of success in defending criminal defense cases and a strong background in DUI defense, one who has an intimate understanding of Orange County DUI law and how to best defend you under these laws. Let our lawyers protect you from jail time, fines, driver’s license suspension, and the other considerable criminal penalties that typically accompany a DUI conviction.
At Seyb Law Group, our attorneys have more than 60 years of combined criminal defense experience and are committed to protecting the rights of individuals charged with first, second, third and subsequent DUI offenses.
Over the years, we have helped thousands of Orange County residents defend themselves against drunk driving charges and have won more than 1,000 DUI cases in Orange County and the surrounding areas. With our passionate and aggressive legal team on your side, your chances of obtaining a satisfactory result in your criminal case are significantly higher, and you may be able to secure a more favorable plea deal or get your criminal charges reduced or dismissed altogether. Call Seyb Law Group today to schedule a free initial consultation with a knowledgeable DUI defense attorney in Orange County.
DRIVING UNDER THE INFLUENCE – FIRST OFFENSE
Driving under the influence (DUI) of alcohol or drugs is a crime in all states, and per Orange County DUI laws, it is illegal to operate a motor vehicle with any of the following blood alcohol concentration (BAC) percentages:
- 0.08% or higher (for a motorist 21 years old or older operating a regular passenger vehicle)
- 0.04% or higher (for a motorist operating a commercial vehicle)
- 0.01% or higher (for a motorist under the age of 21)
Generally, an Orange County DUI offense is considered a “standard first DUI” if the individual has no prior DUI convictions and the DUI doesn’t involve any aggravating factors, such as an accident, serious injuries or an exceptionally high BAC.
California DUI Vehicle Code § 23152 (a) VC
In California, Vehicle Code § 23152 (a) VC is the law that makes it a crime to operate a motor vehicle “under the influence” of alcohol, meaning your physical or mental abilities are impaired to the extent that you are no longer able to drive as well as a careful sober individual. This law is the “subjective” standard for drunk driving in Orange County, whereas Vehicle Code § 23152 (b) VC sets forth the “per se” definition of drunk driving – driving with a BAC of 0.08% or higher.
PENALTIES FOR A FIRST DUI CONVICTION IN ORANGE COUNTY
A first DUI offense is the least serious drunk driving offense in Orange County but a first-time DUI conviction still carries stiff penalties, including a driver’s license suspension, fines, participation in an alcohol education class, and possible jail time, and without an experienced DUI trial lawyer on your side, you could end up facing many or all of these penalties. The truth is, Orange County has some of the toughest criminal courts in the state of California, and DUI cases here are prosecuted harshly. For a misdemeanor DUI conviction with no prior DUI offense, the standard criminal penalty is:
- Immediate driver’s license suspension
- Up to $1,000 in fines, plus additional fees and costs
- Up to six months in jail
- Installation of an ignition interlock device
- Participation in an alcohol education program
- SR-22 filing (vehicle liability document for high-risk insurance policies)
Additional Punishments Specific to Orange County DUI Cases
Although the court has established a standard punishment for first DUI convictions in Orange County, the penalties associated with your specific DUI charges depend a great deal on the facts of your case. For instance, there are certain circumstances under which a first DUI offense in Orange County can lead to more serious consequences.
These are known as “aggravating factors” and may include a DUI involving bodily injury, a DUI with a minor child in the car, a DUI with a BAC of 0.15% or higher, or a DUI involving excessive speed. For drunk driving offenses in Orange County, there are other possible penalties you should consider.
For example, you may be required to submit a DNA sample to a local database, you may be required to attend a Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) Victim Impact Panel, or you may be subject to search and seizure terms while on DUI probation.
DMV Hearing and Criminal Court
When you are arrested for a DUI offense in Orange County, you will face two different proceedings: an administrative DMV hearing and a criminal court case. Upon your arrest, the arresting officer will confiscate your driver’s license and give you a “Notice of Suspension,” which acts as a temporary license for 30 days.
From the date of your arrest, you have ten days to request a DMV DUI hearing, and the sole purpose of this hearing is to determine whether your driver’s license will be suspended at the end of the 30-day period. If you win your DMV hearing, you can avoid the suspension of your driver’s license, but if you fail to schedule a hearing before the 10-day deadline, your license will automatically be suspended after 30 days.
When you hire a DUI defense attorney to defend yourself against DUI charges, your attorney will likely represent you in both the DMV proceedings and in criminal court.
WHAT TO DO AFTER A FIRST DUI ARREST
Drunk driving is a criminal offense and anything you do or say following a DUI arrest can be used against you in court. The following are the two most important things you can do to protect yourself following an Orange County DUI arrest.
Don’t Talk to the Police
Facing drunk driving charges in Orange County can be confusing and scary and it’s not uncommon for arrested individuals to try to explain themselves to the police and talk their way out of DUI charges. However, talking to the police without an attorney present is risky and if you slip up and accidentally make an incriminating statement, you could end up making your situation even worse.
During the arrest process, the arresting officer would have read you your Miranda rights, and these include the right to remain silent. The police can question you without an attorney present, but you are not obligated to answer. Your choice to remain silent is not reason enough to convict you of the crime you are facing, nor can it be interpreted as obstructing justice, so long as you do not willfully “resist, delay or obstruct” the officer in the performance of his or her duties.
Contact a Knowledgeable DUI Defense Lawyer
Another important part of the Miranda warning given by police to criminal suspects in police custody is the right to an attorney. When facing criminal charges, it is your right to hire legal representation and in most cases, having an experienced DUI defense attorney in your corner is your best chance to successfully fight the charges against you.
Whether this is your first DUI offense or a subsequent offense, don’t put off taking action now that could help your case later. Orange County prosecutors have a reputation for being tough on drunk drivers and that could mean serious legal consequences for you. Hire Seyb Law Group to represent your criminal case and you will work directly with a top DUI defense attorney whose main goal is to get your charges dropped.
ORANGE COUNTY FIRST DUI DEFENSE
Under Orange County DUI law, you have the right to defend yourself against any criminal charges you are facing, including a first-time DUI, and in drunk driving cases, there are a number of legal strategies for the defense to choose from. For example, the Field Sobriety Tests used by police officers to assess a motorist’s sobriety do not produce scientific data.
These tests are subjective in nature, relying exclusively on the officer’s opinion of the situation at hand, not on scientific fact. If these tests are conducted improperly, or if a physical disability prevented you from performing the tests properly, this could become a strong component of your defense strategy.
A DUI defense attorney with experience representing drunk driving clients will have a great deal of knowledge about Orange County DUI law and which defense strategies are most effective, thereby improving your chances of a favorable outcome in your case.
Best Defense Strategies in Orange County DUI Cases
Being convicted of a DUI in Orange County can be life-changing, even for a first-time offense. Even having your driver’s license suspended can be a significant hassle, possibly forcing you to find a reliable ride from someone else or use public transportation, which will likely cost you money and could even put your job at risk.
To protect yourself from these penalties and more, it is important to develop a solid defense strategy to present to the prosecution and the court. Some common defense strategies in Orange County drunk driving cases include the following:
- The Field Sobriety Tests were improperly conducted by the officer
- A reason other than sobriety prevented you from performing a Field Sobriety Test (i.e., a physical disability)
- The officer made an illegal arrest
- Alcohol was not the reason for your driving issues (the signs of intoxication observed by the officer were due to another cause – allergies, illness, sun exposure, fatigue, etc.)
- The officer failed to follow proper procedure in your arrest
- The officer did not have probable cause to make the initial stop
- Your Constitutional rights were violated
- The arresting officer engaged in racial profiling or other misconduct
- The BAC results from the roadside breathalyzer test were not accurate
HOW HIRING A DUI DEFENSE ATTORNEY CAN HELP
DUI law in Orange County is constantly changing and fighting drunk driving charges can be complex and confusing. It is therefore extremely difficult for someone without an extensive legal background to build an effective defense in a drunk driving case.
Our lawyers at Seyb Law Group have more than 60 years of combined criminal defense experience and we will put that experience to work for you, ensuring that your legal rights are protected, investigating the circumstances of your case, and using every available resource to get your charges reduced or dismissed altogether. An attorney experienced in DUI defense can do any or all of the following to help your case:
- Research, prepare and file motions to exclude evidence or to dismiss your case
- Provide information about your character, your career, and your circumstances as mitigating evidence
- Outline all of the possible legal defenses you can use in your case
- Take your case to trial and argue any holes in the prosecution’s case, any problems of proof, or the existence of reasonable doubt
- Negotiate with the prosecutor and the judge, to reduce your DUI charges or minimize punishment in your case
CONTACT OUR EXPERIENCED DUI DEFENSE ATTORNEYS TODAY
The outcome of your Orange County DUI case depends not only on the facts of your case but on the strength of your legal defense and the expertise of your criminal defense attorney.
The unfortunate truth is that you could end up facing harsher penalties than another person facing a first-time DUI charge in Orange County, simply because your attorney wasn’t prepared or failed to present the most effective legal defense based on the circumstances of your case.
If you or a loved one has been arrested on DUI charges in Orange County or the surrounding counties, contact Seyb Law Group today to speak to an experienced Orange County DUI defense attorney.
Our legal team is dedicated to protecting the rights of individuals accused of first-time drunk driving offenses in Orange County and we will aggressively defend you against these charges.