What is DUI?
DUI which is an acronym for Driving Under Influence refers to a criminal offense where a motorist drives a vehicle while under influence of alcohol or drugs. When you decide to drive under influence, you are not only endangering your life but also putting at risk the lives of others around you. If you arrested for DUI in California or any other state in the US, you will incur penalties which will cost you money. In case you are convicted for DUI, you will spend money to get back your driving privileges. Court appearances, fees, and fines are just a tip of the iceberg for drunk drivers. They will also incur an expense to join a DUI school, get evaluated for a drinking problem, have an Ignition Interlock Device installed on their vehicle, and get treatment if they have a problem.
DUI penalties in Orange County
Driving Under Influence in Orange County is taken very seriously and incurs harsh penalties if one is arrested for the offense. Orange County has some of the most severe DUI penalties than any other county in California. The criminal penalties will vary depending on the DUI case, including blood alcohol concentration, the past criminal record among others.
> First DUI penalties
First DUI offense in Orange County will result in fines, 3 to 5 years probation, alcohol classes ranging from 3, 6 or 9 months, 0 to 6 months jail term, Ignition Interlock Device starting 2019. The difference in the duration of alcohol classes will depend on the level of blood alcohol. If your breath or blood alcohol level is below 0.15%, you will get 3 months of alcohol classes. but a breath or blood alcohol level between 0.15% and below 0.20% may result in 6 months of alcohol classes. On the other hand, a breath or blood alcohol level of 0.20% or more may result in 9 months of alcohol classes.
> Second DUI penalties
The state of California has a minimum statutory jail term of 96 hours for second DUI offenders. However, if you are arrested for second DUI offense in Orange County you could start with a jail term of 45 to 75 days, which could be increased to 1 year. Other penalties include 3 to 5 years probation, Ignition Interlock Device requirements, AA meetings, base fines ranging from $390 to $1000, and 18 months of alcohol classes.
> Third DUI penalties
For a third DUI offense, the minimum jail term in California is 120 days. However, Orange County starts with a minimum jail term of 120 days to 1 year. Third-time offenders will also have an Ignition Interlock Device installed on their vehicle. Similar to the second DUI offense, the third DUI offense attracts 18 months of alcohol classes. Other penalties include up to 3 years of driver’s license suspension, AA meetings, Ignition Interlock Device requirements, and probation for up to 5 years.
> Fourth DUI penalties
Fourth DUI offense is a felony charge which could lead to imprisonment ranging from 16 months to two years in a county or state prison. Felony charges should be handled by an experienced criminal defense lawyer orange county as the penalties are too harsh to risk going alone. Other penalties include AA meetings and up to 4 years of license suspension.
How to find a DUI lawyer in Orange County
If you are arrested for DUI offense, you are going to need a criminal defense lawyer orange county. Of course, it is possible to use a lawyer appointed by the government, but it is best you hire your own lawyer. Hiring your own DUI lawyer affords you the opportunity to understand what happens in a court system behind the scene, get expert coaching on what to say or not to say in a court, and navigate through difficult situations. While looking for the best orange county criminal law lawyers to hire, there are certain things you need to do.
Do your research
It is advisable you research various orange county criminal law lawyers and choose one who is going to represent you well in your DUI case. You can do your research via the internet or social media. Alternatively, you can ask your family or friends on who to hire as your lawyer.
Create a list of potential attorneys
After doing your research, you will have a number of attorneys to choose from. Create a spreadsheet of attorneys you want to contact. The list can have their name, phone number, the area of specialty, address, and email address.
Choose the best attorney to handle your case
Not all lawyers are qualified to handle your case. Others have a questionable history with disciplinary issues and malpractices. Make sure the lawyers in your list do not have the same problems and are licensed to practice in Orange County. They should also be knowledgeable in the legal system within your state or county.
Meet them face to face
If you want to choose a reliable DUI lawyer, you need to schedule face to face meetings. Meeting your lawyer in person will help you understand how they work and if they are the best choice to represent you in your case. You can ask your potential lawyer how long they have been practicing DUI defense in California, how many successful/ not successful cases they had, and how many DUI cases they have conducted. Hiring a good DUI lawyer can have your charges reduced or your case dismissed.