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Orange County DUI Attorney

Orange County Criminal Attorney has handled hundreds -if not thousands- of DUI cases.  Put our experience to work for you!  Many people wrongly believe that nothing can be done to help their case.  Nothing could be further from the truth.  There are a variety of defenses to DUI and other legal challenges that can be made on your behalf.  Many aspects of the sentence are also negotiable.

Recent Victories: 

VC23153(b)/DUI causing injury to another person: instead of 30 days in custody, client received an offer of "time-served," which means he was released from custody that same day!

VC23152(a) With a prior: DA agreed to strike the prior from the record, which means the case went from a second time offense to a first time offense.  The Client thus avoided mandatory jail time, installing an IID (Ignition Interlock Device), among other consequences.

VC23140 Underaged DUI: Presented to the judge an exhaustive list of client's background and good character.  Judge agrees to an extraordinary disposition; to dismiss the case altogether if client agrees to take a few classes and perform some volunteer work.

If you are arrested for driving under the influence in Orange County you need an experienced criminal defense attorney to help you protect your rights and save your driver’s license.  Orange County Criminal Attorney can help you.

Please call today for a free confidential consultation.

Orange County DUI Information

In California, driving under the influence is prosecuted very aggressively.  As one of the most common misdemeanor offenses, there is a tremendous amount of literature covering this crime.  Unfortunately, much of the literature is either inaccurate, or only partially accurate.

Let’s begin by talking about the most common type of DUI: offenses involving the use of alcohol.

In California, driving while under the influence of alcohol is prosecuted under 2 statutes: Cal. Veh. Code section 23152(a) and/or Cal. Veh. Code section 23152(b). 

The (a) count is known as the “impairment” count, which criminalizes anyone who drives a vehicle if the person’s ability to drive is impaired due to the effects of an alcoholic beverage.  It is important to note that the statute contains no threshold for impairment; you can be convicted of the (a) count even if your Blood Alcohol Content (BAC) is only 0.01%!

The (b) count is the statute that gave rise to the commonly known magic number 0.08%.  This statute is unconcerned about whether a person is impaired; rather, the statute deems an individual to be “under the influence” if the person’s BAC is over 0.08%.  This means that no matter how well you hold your alcohol, you can be convicted of the (b) count if your BAC is over 0.08%!

Here’s one way to understand how these two statutes synergize: the (a) count prosecutes the “light weights”; even if your BAC was only a 0.01%, if your ability to drive is impaired, you are engaging in a DUI.  The (b) count, on the other hand, prosecutes those who hold their alcohol well; the state does not care how high your alcohol tolerance is, if your BAC is over 0.08%, the law will presume that your ability to drive is impaired.

The above two statutes work conjunctively to prosecute drivers who are under the influence of alcohol.  But, Alcohol is not the only substance that can lead to a DUI.  In California, driving under the influence of any drug can also be a DUI.

Under Cal. Veh. Code section 23152(e), a driver who drives while under the influence of any drug can be convicted of a DUI.  The first thing to note is that the statute’s language uses the words “any drug.”  This means that one does not need to be under the influence of a prohibited narcotic to be in violation of this statute.  While illegal substances such as marijuana, methamphetamine, or cocaine can certainly cause one to be convicted of this statute, other legal drugs such as Vicodin or Lunesta can also run afoul of this statute.

Understanding what substances can qualify for a DUI is only the first step; the law also defines what it means to be under the influence.

In California, a person is “under the influence” if he or she is unable to drive a vehicle with the caution of a sober person, using ordinary care, under similar circumstances.  This means that you don’t need to be “drunk,” just that you are unable to exercise the same level of caution that a sober person would ordinarily exercise. 

Although the question may seem simple, the next question is what it means to be “driving.”

According to case law, California defines driving as operating a vehicle that causes “volitional movement.”  This means that a “slight movement” is sufficient to constitute “driving.”  But, this also means that merely having the engine on DOES NOT constitute driving. 

Here is a brief summary.  To be convicted of a DUI, the following must be proved:

  1. The defendant drove –caused volitional movement- of a vehicle
  2. The defendant either:
     
    1. Is under the influence of alcohol or drugs, meaning he or she is unable to exercise the same level of caution as would a sober person under similar circumstances; or
    2. Has a BAC over 0.08%.

It is important to note that the above is merely an overview of California’s DUI laws.  Other more specific variations exist.  For example, juvenile DUI’s, DUI’s involving a commercial vehicle, etc.  If you want to learn more about these specific variations, please refer to our other articles! 

Of course, if you are charged with a DUI, please call Orange County Criminal Attorneys immediately.  We have both the experience and the zeal to help you mount a successful defense.  Don’t wait, call now!

Additional DUI Information:

If you are arrested for DUI, the DMV will automatically suspend your driver’s license unless you schedule a DMV Hearing within 10 days of your arrest.  THE CLOCK IS TICKING.  Orange County Criminal Attorney will schedule a hearing with the DMV and fight to save your driver’s license, but you must ACT IMMEDIATELY.  Do not be confused by the fact that your court date is six weeks away.

Many people refer to driving under the influence or DUI as “drunk driving.”   However, there is no actual criminal offense of “drunk driving.”  If you are arrested for DUI, you will most likely be charged with two related offenses:  Driving Under the Influence of Alcohol (Vehicle Code section 23152(a)) and Driving with a Blood Alcohol Level of .08% or Greater (Vehicle Code section 23152(b)).

The prosecution is not required to prove that you were “drunk.”  Rather, only that you were “under the influence” of alcohol, drugs, or a combination of alcohol and drugs.  “Under the influence” has a specific legal definition–”a person is under the influence, if as a result of drinking an alcoholic beverage and/or taking a drug his or her mental or physical abilities are so impaired that he or she is no longer able to drive a vehicle with the caution of a sober person, using ordinary care, under similar circumstances.”  WHEW, that’s a lot of legalese!  Bottom line, the prosecution has to prove that alcohol impaired your driving.

Evidence of impairment usually consists of your driving pattern, demeanor, statements, and your performance on FST's (Field Sobriety Tests).  Were you weaving, speeding, swerving, or even drifting in your lane?  Were you able to walk a straight line, touch your nose, or say the alphabet without singing it or rhyming?  An experienced criminal defense attorney can challenge this evidence in court.

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