Orange County DUI Lawyer

Vehicle Code Sections 23152, 23153

Driving under the influence charges (DUI) can be filed as a misdemeanor or felony. If the case involves serious injury to a person OR the client is charged with a fourth misdemeanor conviction within 10 years of three previous drunk driving arrests, then the case can be filed as a felony.

A person can be charged with the crime of DUI if they have a 0.08 blood alcohol level in their system OR if they have any amount of alcohol and/or drug in their system and it effects their driving.

Defenses to DUI charges include: a bad stop, meaning the police officer did not have a good reason to initiate contact with the client; the arrest was unlawful or lacked probable cause; the client burped, vomited or regurgitated prior to giving a breathe test; there is a chain of custody issue with a blood sample; the blood sample was contaminated and other defenses.

The client can choose either a blood or breathe test or can choose to take both. A urine test is no longer an option.

A refusal to take a blood or breathe test can lead to an automatic license suspension and depending on the facts of the case usually makes the client worse off. However, the client can refuse the Preliminary Alcohol Screening (PAS) test without any negative repercussion. The PAS test is usually a hand-held device given to the client to breathe into as part of the DUI investigation conducted prior to arrest. The client should be read an admonition prior to taking the PAS. This test is usually given at the individual’s vehicle. BUT BEWARE BECAUSE NOW SOME AGENCIES HAVE DEVICES IN THEIR PATROL UNITS WHICH CAN BE USED AS THE FINAL CHEMICAL TEST. MAKE SURE AND ASK THE OFFICER WHETHER THIS IS A PAS TEST OR THE ACTUAL CHEMICAL TEST.

In Orange County a 1st time DUI usually does not include any jail time as long as there is no bodily injury.

A 2nd time DUI (within 10 years of a previous drunk driving arrest) requires a minimum of 96 hours in jail but in Orange County most courts require between 30 and 90 days (with exceptions-see home confinement and DUI Court Program);

A 3rd time DUI (within 10 years of 2 prior drunk driving arrests) requires a minimum of 120 days in jail but most persons convicted of this crime do between 6 and 9 months in Orange County (with exceptions see DUI Court program);

A 4th time DUI (within 10 years of 3 prior drunk driving arrests) requires a minimum of 180 days in jail but most people do a year in county jail or 16 months in state prison.

Driving Under the Influence of Marijuana and/or Drugs

Vehicle Code Sections 23152, 23153 (f), (g) cover any situation where an individual is driving a vehicle while under the influence of a drug or a combination of drugs and alcohol. Marijuana is considered a drug. While it is not against the law to drive with marijuana in your blood, it is illegal to drive with marijuana in your blood and the marijuana affects your driving. Unlike a DUI case involving only alcohol, which has a threshold level of 0.08%, no quantifiable amount for any drug to include marijuana has been established to show someone is under the influence. The Prosecutor will try to prove that someone is under the influence of marijuana (or any other drug) while driving by having the arresting officer describe the driving of the person and their performance on field sobriety tests, which measure basic coordination and balance. Notably. being under the influence of marijuana symptoms may resemble non-intoxication symptoms like fatigue. As such, Prosecutors have had a difficult time proving marijuana driving under the influence charges. Similarly, it is not against the law to drive a motor vehicle with medication in your blood. However, it IS against the law to drive a motor vehicle when that medication is affecting your ability to drive safely. Finally, even when it comes to illegal drugs like Cocaine or Methamphetamine, the Prosecutor may be unable to show the presence of these drugs in the blood is affecting the driving. Because there is no established quantifiable limit for drugs in the blood for the purposes of driving in California, the Prosecutor may have a tougher time proving those types of case. Call Orange County Driving Under the Influence Lawyer Will Bruzzo for a free consultation (714) 547-4636.

Effect of a Drunk Driving Charge on Your License

For every Drunk Driving (DUI) that goes to court there is a DMV component which includes a hearing separate from what occurs in court. It is possible to win the court portion of the DUI but lose the DMV portion and have your license suspended and vice versa. That is why you must make sure that whomever you hire to defend your DUI case also has experience with the DMV portion of a drunk driving case. PLEASE NOTE, YOU MUST CONTACT THE DMV WITHIN 10 DAYS OF BEING ARRESTED OR YOU WILL LOSE YOUR RIGHT TO A HEARING; IF YOU HIRE MR. BRUZZO, HIS OFFICE WILL CONTACT THE DMV FOR YOU.

The DMV must prove three things in order to take action against your license in the event you are stopped for driving under the influence:

1. That the officer who stopped you had reason to believe that you were driving in violation of Vehicle Code Sections 23152(a) or 23152(b). These are the code sections that concern drunk driving. This first element requires that the officer observed you weaving, speeding or some other articulable traffic offense that justifies your being stopped for suspected drunk driving.

2. That you were lawfully arrested;

3. That you were driving with a blood alcohol level of 0.08 or greater.

While it may seem that these elements are easy to prove in fact the DMV has several vulnerabilities. First and foremost is that there is generally no testimony at these hearings and thus the hearings are restricted to what is contained in the police report. Thus, if the report omits certain critical facts then there is no one to testify at the DMV hearing to correct them. An experienced attorney like Mr. Bruzzo can exploit these vulnerabilities in an effort to help the client keep his driving privilege.

If the DMV hearing is lost and/or the Court case results in a guilty plea then the following is a summation of what can happen to your license for alcohol and drugs. There are also alcohol schools, insurance requirements and DMV fees not mentioned here. In addition, driving under the influence charges with injury penalize your ability to drive differently than non-injury cases, as do refusal cases. Consult with Orange County Drunk Driving Lawyer Will Bruzzo for additional information.

DMV ActionCourt Action
1st DUI w/ no injury4-months with Ignition Interlock device (IID)
OR 30-days no drive, 5-months restricted
6-months with IID
OR 12-months restricted
2nd DUI w/ no injury12-months with IID12-months IID + 12-months restricted
3rd DUI w/no injury12-Months with IID24-months IID + 12-months restricted
4th DUI w/ no injury12-months with IID36-months IID + 12-months restricted
DMV Action (Drugs)Court Action (Drugs)
1st DUI-Drugs w/ no injuryNo Action6-month License Suspension (No Exceptions)
2nd DUI-Drugs w/ no injuryNo Action12-month License Suspension (No Exceptions) + 12- months restricted
3rd DUI- Drugs w/ no injuryNo Action12-month License Suspension (No Exceptions) + 24 months restricted
4th DUI-Drugs w/ no injuryNo Action12-month License Suspension (No Exceptions) + 36-months restricted

Call Orange County Drunk Driving, Driving Under the Influence and DMV Lawyer Will Bruzzo for a free consultation at (714) 547-4636.

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