Orange County DUI

An Orange County Driving Under the Influence charge is a serious offense that can have serious consequences affecting all areas of your life.

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A qualified Orange County DUI Defense Attorney can assist you with every aspect of your case including the Administrative Per Se Hearing through the Irvine Department of Motor Vehicles. It is important to remember that the DMV Hearing is completely separate of the Orange County DUI Criminal case. This is an independent action that determines whether the state will suspend your license based off of the OC Drinking and Driving Charge. This is a complex hearing and is best handled by a dedicated California DUI Defense Lawyer.


What to do if you are pulled over for a DUI in Orange County

It is important to remain calm at all times if you are stopped for a vehicle code violation or an officer is dispatched to a collision that you were involved in. Remembering all of the events of the Orange County DUI arrest is important for establishing an effective defense in your case. You cannot be pulled over simply for suspicion of drunk driving, you must be seen violating a vehicle code such as swerving or failing to have a license plate. Even the most minor of vehicle code violations is probable cause for a stop. If the officer does not have probable cause to pull you over then the Orange County DUI charge may be reduced or even dismissed. In addition, if the officer does not have probable cause to arrest you for driving under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs then you may be able to get a set-aside through the Irvine Driver's Safety Branch and a dismissal through the Orange County Criminal Court System.

Contact a Qualified Orange County DUI Defense Attorney

The following Orange County DUI Defense Lawyers are registered with the California DUI Lawyers Association, National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers, and the National College of Criminal Defense Attorneys:

Law Offices of Thomas Wallin
8 Corporate Park, Suite 300
Irvine, California 92606
Phone: (888) 444-7210
Fax: (888) 444-7211

Law Offices of Virginia L. Landry
23046 Avenida De La Carlota Suite 125
Laguna Hills, California 92653
Phone: (877) DUI-QUEEN
Fax: (949) 585-7407

Orange County Drunk Driving and Field Sobriety Tests

If you are suspected of drunk driving in California, you will likely be asked to complete a number of roadside alcohol tests to indicate whether you are intoxicated. These field sobriety tests are not mandatory and are often poor indicators of intoxication. Human error and test unreliability accounts for the majority of inaccuracy in the tests. If you are pulled over and suspected of drinking and driving in Orange County then the officer will likely ask you if you will partake in tests to determine your sobriety. It is advisable to politely decline these tests. This includes any preliminary alcohol screening tests often referred to as PAS Tests. A PAS test is usually the final field sobriety test used to determine whether you were driving under the influence in Orange County. While all California Licensed Drivers give their implied consent to submit to a chemical breath or blood test if they are suspected of Driving Under the Influence, they are not required to submit to any tests prior to arrest. No matter what the circumstances of your Orange County DUI case, it is strongly recommended that you contact a knowledgeable Drunk Driving Defense Attorney who knows DUI law.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has only established three standardized Field Sobriety Tests:

· Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus (HGN)

· One legged Stand

· Walk and Turn Test

Chemical Tests following an arrest for an Orange County DUI

California mandates that all licensed drivers must submit to a chemical test to determine their blood alcohol content following an arrest for a DUI. This means that a refusal to complete a chemical blood, breath or urine test will likely result in harsher penalties in an Orange County Drunk Driving Case. For instance in a first offense misdemeanor DUI case your license could be suspended for a minimum of four months following the arrest, if you refuse a chemical test you will face a 1 year suspension. In addition, the Orange County Criminal Court system will likely enforce stricter penalties on your case.

Contacting the DMV following an arrest for an Orange County DUI

It is vital to remember that you only have 10 calendar days from the date of your California DUI charge to contact the Irvine Department of Motor Vehicles to request your hearing. Failure to do this will result in the automatic suspension of your license. If you hire a skilled Orange County Criminal Defense Attorney within ten days they will contact the DMV on your behalf, ensuring that it is verified via fax and certified mailer. It is imperative to request your DMV hearing regardless of the circumstances of your Orange County DUI case since your license can be suspended a second time if you plead guilty to a DUI in the Orange County Criminal Court system. This could result in your license being suspended for double the amount of time that it should be.

What to do first once you are arrested for an Orange County Drunk Driving Incident

As mentioned above you should always contact the Irvine Driver's Safety Branch of the California Department of Motor Vehicles within ten calendar days of your arrest. This is the most time sensitive issue in your Orange County DUI case. In addition to contacting the DMV, you will want to consult a highly capable OC Drunk Driving Criminal Defense Attorney. In most cases the California DUI Defense Attorney you hire can appear on your behalf at all court appearances and will be able to conduct the DMV hearing without your presence. However, in some circumstances, such as if your case is filed as a felony you may have to be present at all court dates.

Contacting a professional Orange County Bail Bondsman

For misdemeanor Orange County DUI arrests, most of the time you will be released from jail several hours after being arrested. If you are arrested for a felony OC Drunk Driving incident then you will likely be required to post bail in order to be released from jail. Bail is monetary security that guarantees the court that you will be present at future court dates. Failure to appear for a court date can result in the revocation of bail and loss of the money posted. Bail can range from a few thousand dollars to hundreds of thousands of dollars. Given this great expense a bail bondsman can provide a necessary role in posting bail. An Orange County Bail Bondsman will charge a low percentage of what the total bail is and then will post the money. Generally if you hire a reputable Orange County DUI Defense Attorney the bail bondsman will lower the required down payment with the assurance that you are being represented. In addition a highly capable OC Drunk Driving Lawyer can run motions with the court to get bail reduced or even dismissed by showing strong moral character, that no flight risk exists or enrolling you in programs such as electronic monitoring, alcohol monitoring, treatment programs and AA meetings.

California DUI Department of Motor Vehicles APS Hearing

Upon arrest for an Orange County DUI your driver's license will likely be confiscated and you will be issued a temporary license. The temporary license known as a DS-367 lasts for 30 days from the date of arrest. If you fail to contact the Irvine Driver's Safety Branch within 10 calendar days of your Orange County DUI arrest then your driving privileges will be automatically suspended following the expiration of the temporary license. If you contact the California DMV within ten days of your arrest you can request a hearing to determine whether there was probable cause for the pull over and arrest and whether you were actually driving with a BAC of over .08%. The California Department of Motor Vehicles only determines a limited number of factors but a qualified Orange County DUI Attorney can assist you determine what those issues are and how to build a defense to them.

When contacting the Irvine Driver's Safety Branch you should be prepared to provide the following information:

  • Driver's License Number
  • Name, Address and Phone Number
  • Date of Arrest
  • Name of Arresting Agency, Officer and Badge Number
  • Whether you submitted to a blood or breath alcohol test

You should also request a stay on the suspension of your license and discovery. Discovery in an Orange County DUI case is usually the police report and can take a few weeks to receive. Your request should always be made in writing in addition to being called in. If you hire a skilled Orange County Criminal Defense Lawyer then they can request the DMV hearing on your behalf. If you plan to contact the California DMV prior to contacting an OC Drunk Driving Defense Attorney, the APS Hearing Request Form can be filled in with the appropriate information and sent via fax and mail.

The Irvine Driver's Safety Branch can be reached at:

16735 Von Karman, #110
Irvine, California 92606-4953
Phone (949) 440-4416
Fax (949) 440-4424

Orange County DUI Criminal Court Process

The DMV hearing and criminal court process are completely independent of each other in an Orange County Drunk Driving case. Success at one does not guarantee success at the other. The first criminal court date in an Orange County DUI case can usually be found on the citation issued to you on release from the arrest. Commonly referred to as an Arraignment, this court date is mandatory unless you hire a competent OC DUI Defense Lawyer to represent you. Once a plea of "not guilty" is entered in the Orange County Criminal Court, the matter will be set for Pre-Trial. Generally, negotiations will try to be made for an offer on the case. If a favorable disposition cannot be reached then the matter will be set for trial. To find out more about the Orange County Criminal Process view our detailed information page or contact a leading OC Drunk Driving Defense Attorney.

Orange County Superior Courts

Central Justice Center

700 Civic Center Drive West
Santa Ana, CA 92701

Harbor Justice Center - Newport Beach Facility
4601 Jamboree Road
Newport Beach, CA 92660-2595

North Justice Center
1275 North Berkeley Avenue
Fullerton, CA 92832-1258

West Justice Center
8141 13th Street
Westminster, CA 92683-4593