What happens if I get a DUI? At Robert Miller & Associates, we get this question a lot. As with most legal questions, there’s no clear-cut answer, as any number of things can happen.
Penalties for DUI in Orange County, California range from fines to probation to license suspension. Some drunk driving convictions may even carry a short county jail sentence.
A DUI conviction can also wreak havoc in lesser-known ways (e.g., by appearing on your record and increasing insurance premiums).
These penalties, however, assume you’re convicted of DUI. DUI penalties can be reduced— and often eliminated altogether— with the help of a DUI attorney.
An experienced DUI attorney can help you win your case with their legal expertise. Whether you need solid evidence, relevant statutes, or an expert witness on your side, you can rest assured your lawyer will have you covered.
Any DUI lawyer worth his or her salt will also let you know your rights and what to watch for throughout the legal process.
Let’s begin to answer our initial question by examining your rights if you’re stopped or arrested for DUI.
What Are Your Rights If Stopped Or Arrested for DUI?
If you’re stopped for DUI in California, you must take a chemical test, per California’s implied consent law. You do not have the right to speak with an attorney prior to taking the test.
Three types of chemical tests are administered in Orange County, California: blood, breath, and urine. An officer should advise you of your three options prior to taking the test.
You are not required to take any additional field sobriety tests (FSTs), such as the HGN (horizontal gaze nystagmus) or walk-and-turn.
You have the right to remain silent. You’re only required to provide your basic identifying information (e.g., name and address) to an officer. You are not required to answer any questions regarding your sobriety.
As with most questioning, it pays to speak less. You should only mention something if it helps your case.
Finally, an officer must have probable cause for stopping you. If you believe bias or discrimination factored into your arrest, you should mention this to your attorney.
What You Should Know About DUI Penalties
Penalties for DUI in Orange County, California vary widely.
One constant, however, is the length of time a drunk driving conviction will stay on your criminal record: 10 years.
A first-time conviction typically results in loss of license, although you have 10 days to file an appeal. Oftentimes, you’ll be issued a “restrictive license,” under the condition you install an ignition interlock device.
Fines for a first-time DUI top out at $1,000, to which “penalty assessments” may be added.
First-time offenders are often put on probation, and required to complete a three-month DUI school course.
Penalties increase for second and third DUIs and may include a 1-year jail sentence.
DUIs are typically considered misdemeanors unless death or bodily injury is involved. In this case, a DUI may be considered a felony.
Why Hire An Experienced Orange County, California DUI Attorney?
You should hire an experienced Orange County, California DUI attorney because they will give you the best shot at winning your case.
You should contact a DUI attorney immediately, so you can keep your license and be represented during the arraignment.
In court, a DUI attorney can mount any number of effective defenses. They can call into question the accuracy of an administered FST, or attribute a false reading to an over-the-counter substance, such as mouthwash.
Keep in mind, no chemical test is always accurate. In addition, field tests can be wrongly administered, and FST devices are often improperly calibrated.
An experienced DUI lawyer will help you secure the best outcome, whether that’s going to trial, or accepting a favorable plea deal.
It only helps that this attorney knows the Orange County, California court system— and in many cases, the judge presiding over your case.
In the end, there are countless considerations in a DUI case that are best settled by an experienced DUI lawyer.
Just remember: a BAC reading above .08 isn’t the be-all, end-all with the help of an experienced DUI attorney.
If you’ve been arrested for DUI, one of our licensed attorneys at Robert Miller & Associates would be glad to sit down and discuss your case.
Call us at (877) 353-0221, or visit our website for a free case evaluation.