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DUI (Driving Under the Influence)

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Orange County DUI Attorney
Defending Driving Under the Influence Charges in Orange County, CA

Were you arrested for driving under the influence of alcohol and/or controlled substances (DUI)? If you were, you should know that the laws in California relating to DUIs are quite broad and the penalty it carries is often severe.  No matter if it is the first time that you are arrested for a DUI, or if you have been arrested in the past for a DUI, it is equally important that you have an experienced criminal defense attorney on your side to protect your Constitutional rights, assist you in avoiding a criminal conviction, and fight the suspension of your driver’s license. 

At the Law Offices of David V. Luu our DUI attorneys have a great deal of experience representing people in Orange County who face charges of drunk driving.   We use all of our skills and knowledge to get clients’ DUI charge(s) dismissed, reduced, or the penalties for the charged offenses minimized.  We offer skilled legal counsel both in the criminal court and at our clients’ administrative hearings with the California Department of Motor Vehicles.  Time has shown that representing clients in the criminal court and at their DMV hearings will only help to build a better and more effective defense, which often results in more promising and positive outcomes for our clients.

What is Driving Under the Influence (DUI)?

In California, unless a special circumstance exists, anyone arrested for a DUI is prosecuted for a misdemeanor offense.  To obtain a conviction for DUI, the prosecution must prove that the defendant was 1) driving 2) a vehicle 3) while under the influence 4) of any alcoholic beverage or drug or the combined influence of any alcoholic beverage and drug.  In cases where the evidence shows beyond a reasonable doubt that a chemical analysis of the defendant’s blood, breath, or urine established that there was 0.08 percent or more by weight of alcohol in the defendant at the time the test was performed, the trier of fact (in most cases the trier of fact is a jury, but the judge may act as the trier of fact in some situations) may, but need not, conclude that the defendant was under the influence of an alcoholic beverage at the time of the alleged offense.

If a first DUI offense results in a misdemeanor conviction that person may be punished by a serious fine, incarceration up to one year in jail, or both.  In addition, further consequences for a DUI conviction may include:

  • probation
  • mandatory community service
  • mandatory alcohol or drug counseling
  • mandatory DUI school
  • impounded vehicle
  • suspension of driver’s license
  • an ignition lock installed in vehicle

The Criminal Process for DUIs in Orange County

In the United States, millions of people are arrested each year on suspicion of driving under the influence.   For many people, a DUI charge is the first time that their lives have ever crossed paths with the criminal justice system.  Although cases will vary, aDUI arrest in Orange County may generally proceed as follows:

  • A police officer patrolling the roads notices a driver who is driving erratically in traffic or who is violating a traffic law. The driver may be swerving, driving too slowly, speeding, driving recklessly or otherwise displaying behavior that suggests that a person is intoxicated or driving under the influence of drugs.
  • The officer will flash his lights and pull the driver over to the side of the road.
  • After pulling the driver over to the side of the road, the officer will ask to see license and registration information. At this time, the officer may also look for outward signs to indicate that a driver may be DUI, for example bloodshot eyes or slurred speech. Also, the officer may also ask if the driver has been drinking, and where he or she is going, etc.
  • Depending on the behavior observed during the initial police stop, the officer may ask the driver to step outside of the vehicle in order to perform field sobriety tests, which are used to gauge the driver’s mental and physical abilities.  This may include the Walk and Turn, One Leg Stand, or Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus.
  • The driver’s performance on field sobriety tests as well as what he or she says or does will usually determine whether the police officer will immediately make an arrest for DUI.

After the arrest, law enforcement may ask that a driver submit to a breathalyzer, or blood test to calculate his or her blood alcohol concentration, which often leads to the filing ofcriminal charges.  Several factors are considered by the Orange County District Attorney’s Office when DUI charges are brought following an arrest, which may include:

  • whether the driver charged with DUI had a high blood alcohol content (over .20) and/or levels of drugs in the bloodstream
  • whether the DUI incident caused injury to any person
  • whether the DUI incident caused damage to any property
  • whether a minor (anyone under the age of 18) was in the vehicle during the DUI incident
  • whether a child (under 14) was in the vehicle during the DUI incident
  • whether the driver charged with DUI was driving with a suspended or restricted license
  • whether the driver charged with DUI has a criminal record
  • whether the driver charged with DUI following arrest by law enforcement refused to submit to a chemical test

In order to show that a driver was operating a motor vehicle while under the influence, law enforcement and the District Attorney will use the driver’s performance on field sobriety tests, the outcome of the breathalyzer test or blood test that was administered following the arrest.

What to do if you are Arrested for DUI and why you should hire an Orange County Defense Attorney

Any criminal conviction on your record can result in problems that will follow you into your future.  It is very important that you take steps now to protect your Constitutional rights.  You can do that by speaking with an experienced attorney who can help you navigate your way through the criminal process. DUIs carry very serious consequences and the worst thing for you to do is to do nothing at all.  We cannot stress enough how important it is to speak with one of our Orange County DUI attorneys as soon as possible, especially because of some time-sensitive matters following a DUI arrest.

For example, once you are arrested for DUI, the arresting officer will confiscate your driver’s license and give you a “notice of suspension,” which will serve as a temporary license.  If you then fail or refuse a breathalyzer or blood test, the DMV will automatically begin proceedings to suspend your license.  You must contact the Drivers Safety Office of the DMV within 10 calendar days of your arrest in order to challenge the suspension of your driver’s license – or it will be suspended regardless of the outcome of your criminal case.  In other words, the DMV hearing and your criminal case are two entirely separate parts to your DUI charge. Even if you are found NOT guilty of DUI, you could still lose your license depending on how the DMV hearing goes.   Many people in Orange County need a license in order to keep a job and care for themselves and their families.  This is just one of the many important reasons that you should speak with an experienced DUI lawyer immediately following an arrest.  If you do not know what will happen following your DUI arrest, it will be unlikely that you can safeguard against the dangers that exist.  In order to discuss your options and to learn how your right to drive can be protected in the DMV hearing you will want to call our office today.

It does not matter if this is your first DUI-related charge or if you have prior convictions on your record, you deserve to have a powerful and aggressive defense lawyer on your side to help defend your constitutional rights. The fact of the matter is that you have a right to legal counsel, so you should exercise that right to benefit your case.  An experienced DUI attorney understands the laws governing DUI convictions and will have the tools necessary to investigate every shred of evidence in your case to ensure the best outcome and minimize your penalties.  Hiring an Orange County defense attorney, even if it is not one of our attorneys, will certainly enable you to best represent your interests at the DMV hearing and defend against the DUI criminal proceedings.

If you have been arrested for DUI, you need to contact the Law Offices of David V.Luu at (714) 697-8600 to schedule a FREE consultation and speak with one of our experienced attorneys in Santa Ana, California.  Never accept a plea deal or submit to questioning without first speaking with an attorney.  Hiring an Orange County defense attorney, even if it is not one of our attorneys, will certainly enable you to best represent your interests both at the DMV hearing and in criminal proceedings.

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Office Locations

930 W. 17th Street
Suite B
Santa Ana, CA 92706
Tel: (714) 697-8600