Being charged with Driving Under the Influence of Alcohol or Drugs (DUI) can be intimidating and distressing, especially if it’s your first time brushing with the law. In California, a DUI is a serious criminal charge that can easily damage your life and reputation.
However, it isn’t impossible to fight such charges and win. With the help of a skilled Orange County criminal defense attorney, you can navigate the complex DUI universe and escape the consequences. Once you understand what you’re facing, you’ll be better placed to put up a strong defense.
What Does the Police Look for When Identifying Drunk Drivers?
Police officers in Orange County will often look at signs that a driver is impaired. These signs include:
- Problems maintaining appropriate speed or braking
- Problems maintaining proper lane position
- Judgment problems like illegal lane changes or stopping inappropriately
- Problems with vigilance like failure to respond to traffic signals or driving at night without headlights
- Post-stop behavior like difficulties getting off your car, slurred speech, repeating words, alcohol odor, unsteady balance
These are the top cues the police will look at to spot drunk driving on the roads.
How Will the Police Determine an Impaired Driver?
Once the police officer observes a possible drunk driving case, the driver will be stopped for further examination. The police will use two methods to determine impairment.
The first is by observation of things like:
- Difficulty walking when once you exit your car
- Bloodshot eyes
- Slurred speech, and
- Pale skin
If there’s reasonable suspicion that you are indeed under the influence, the officer will then administer Field Sobriety Tests. The second method is being subjected to a BAC (Blood Alcohol Content) test to measure the amount of alcohol in your blood. If the alcohol content is above the 0.08% limit, you are assumed to be impaired.
What to Do If Stopped for DUI in Orange County?
The best way to avoid a DUI in Orange County is not to drink and drive. You can either use a bus, taxi, or get a designated driver.
Nonetheless, you should consider these important tips. They may not prevent an arrest or a conviction, but they will allow your Orange County DUI lawyer to successfully attack probable cause for your arrest and prevent harsh consequences against you.
Be Calm and Polite
Be polite at all times and respond to the officer with few words as possible. Calmly provide your registration and license if asked, without making abrupt movements.
Officers are trained to ask questions waiting to hear responses that may incriminate you. E.g., where were you, what did you eat, where are you going, etc. You should be polite and remain quiet.
Refuse to Take Field Sobriety Tests
Tests like walk and turn, finger to nose, stand on one leg, and Rhomberg are all meant to find probable cause to arrest you. If you politely refuse these tests, the officer won’t have anything to use against you.
Even if you’re arrested later, at least your Orange County DUI lawyer will have an argument for you in court.
If Arrested, Submit to A Chemical Test
Police officers from the over 20+ enforcement agencies in Orange County are responsible for making DUI arrests. If the officer insists on arresting you, stay calm and polite. You shouldn’t, however, refuse a chemical test if detained already.
Accepting the chemical test intends to minimize your interaction with the police officer and minimize probable cause. This will help your Laguna Hills DUI attorney find more ways to show that the arrest and chemical test were both unlawful.
What Should I Expect in A DUI Case in Orange County?
The prosecution bears the burden of proof. This is not often easy for them, but they will have to show that the defendant drove a vehicle while under the influence of an alcoholic beverage and/or a drug. They also have to prove that the defendant drove a vehicle and the blood alcohol level was .08% or more while he/she drove.
What Are the Different Types of DUI Charges?
A DUI can be a first, second, and third+ offense. These charges vary depending on whether you had a previous DUI arrest or conviction and whether there was injury or death involved due to your DUI.
Can I Win A DUI Case in California?
A DUI is a difficult charge, but still winnable. Even with proof like a breathalyzer test, sometimes DUI lawyers can still fight the charges and prevent the evidence from holding up in an Orange County Court.
Whenever a case isn’t outright, there may still be ways of reducing the penalties. But you will need an experienced and knowledgeable Orange County DUI lawyer to make this happen.
How Do I Defend DUI Charges Successfully?
There are different strategies a DUI lawyer can use. Some include showing:
- No driving
- Unconstitutional search
- BAC level not over 0.08%
Your lawyer will conduct a separate investigation to determine the merits of your case and challenge the procedures used and facts of the case.
Will I Lose My Driver’s License?
You will likely lose your license for some time if convicted of a DUI in California. This period will depend on the exact charges brought against you and the outcome of your case.
Other than a license suspension, a first DUI conviction carries a minimum of 48 hours in jail and fines starting from $390. A third DUI conviction can cost you maximum fines of up to $18,000 and up to one year in jail.
Fight A DUI Charge with A Professional’s Help and Guidance
Unlike other criminal cases that involve a one-step process, a DUI is a complex type of crime. You’re also subjected to a separate DMV hearing which involves your driving privileges. You can’t possibly plea out when facing such a case. You should instead out a fight with the help of an attorney.
Our criminal defense lawyers are ready to fight for you. We are always defending DUI cases in Orange County every day. Take the smart option and discuss your case with us, with no commitment. We will do a case evaluation for you for FREE. Give us a call to consult with us today.