Hundreds of drivers get arrested in Orange County on DUI charges every month. A large number of these drivers are penalized with fines while many of them get their driving license suspended or revoked. Many first time offenders get sentenced to probation, community service, substance abuse classes and fines while some must serve jail time. This article will tell you the most critical things you need to know after a DUI arrest in Orange County.
Drivers arrested under DUI are usually not aware of their rights and the arresting officer’s duties responsibilities. In this article we will cover some of the conditions that must be fulfilled by police officers before they can arrest someone on a DUI charge. If you or a family member was arrested on suspicion of driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs in Orange County, you should consult with a local DUI attorney before making any legal decisions.
An officer must inform the driver that he/she is suspected of driving under the influence of alcohol. The officer must also inform the suspect that they will be required to submit to a breathalyzer or blood test. California’s “Implied Consent” law states that by default, a licensed driver in California consents to a sobriety test if they are operating a motor vehicle and suspected of impairment from alcohol or drugs. Essentially, consent to this test is implied by the mere fact that you have a drivers’ license.
CVC 23612 reads:
“A person who drives a motor vehicle is deemed to have given his or her consent to chemical testing of his or her blood or breath for the purpose of determining the alcoholic content of his or her blood, if lawfully arrested for an offense allegedly committed in violation of Section 23140, 23152, or 23153. If a blood or breath test, or both, are unavailable… the person shall be deemed to have given his or her consent to chemical testing of his or her urine and shall submit to a urine test.”
The interaction is almost always recorded on audio and/or video and will serve as evidence in your case if the District Attorney pursues charges. A driver who is suspected of drug driving must legally comply with the testing officer(s). In fact, as the image above shows you can’t even renew your driver’s license without explicitly agreeing to this. Of course you have a right to request the counsel of an attorney, however that does not prevent you from having to submit to a sobriety test.
The officer is also required to inform the suspect about the consequences of refusing the test. Drivers who refuse to undergo the Field Sobriety Test and/or a chemical test can be charged with DUI as well as obstruction of justice and the forfeiture of your drivers’ license for 1 – 2 years depending on if this is a first or second DUI offense.
It is the arresting officer’s responsibility to follow procedure closely during a field sobriety test or application of a breathalyzer or blood test. If the test is incomplete or improper the Orange County DA may decide not to pursue your case, or the results of the test can be challenged in court and possibly dismissed by the judge.
When making an arrest, an officer is required by law to read the suspect their Miranda Rights. The Miranda warning is a part of the Fifth Amendment which protects people from being forced or coerced into incriminating themselves.
A typical Miranda statement is something like this:
“You have the right to remain silent. Anything you say can and will be used against you in a court of law. You have the right to have an attorney. If you cannot afford one, one will be appointed to you by the court. Do you understand these rights? With these rights in mind, are you willing to speak with me?”
If an officer obtains witness testimony from the defendant without clearly informing them that they have the right to silence, the testimony can be challenged in court. While an arrested suspect is required to cooperate with the officers, they are not required to say anything or admit guilt to any crime.
People arrested in Orange County are typically held at one of these Detention Facilities:
To ensure a smooth visit, make sure you adhere to all visitation rules for these facilities. The last thing you want is to show up expecting to see your spouse or family member only to be turned away for something you could’ve planned for if you took some time to properly prepare.
A person arrested for a DUI offense typically has the right to get bail and post a bond so that they can be released temporarily before their court date. Depending on the severity of the charges, the criminal record of the defendant and the flight risk, most people will be offered the option to post bail.
UPDATE August 28, 2018: Governor Jerry Brown signed Senate Bill 10 into law, thus eliminating cash bail in California in October 2019. At the time of this writing, details about the implementation and execution of the proposed pre-trial release panel in lieu of cash bail are murky. The bail bonds industry claims that they will pursue legal action to overturn this new law, but until then, the following section is how bail typically works but may not apply if SB 10 stands. Under SB 10, defendants will be categorized as low, medium and high risk individuals and will be released or held accordingly without requiring cash or property as collateral for release.
Bail in California can be confusing and expensive, and there are numerous policies and regulations surrounding it. Although we’ve outlined some common methods, this is only a high level overview of how it works. You should research all options available to you, and deeply understand the fees and consequences if the defendant does not show up for court before making any financial decision that may impact you for the rest of your life.
A person arrested for a DUI in Orange County has the right to call an attorney. A lawyer can negotiate with the District Attorney’s office on behalf of the defendant and possibly get the charges reduced or even dropped altogether. A qualified criminal defense lawyer can also represent you at the California DMV to protect your driving privileges and in court during the criminal proceedings.
If you or a friend or family member has been arrested on suspicion of Driving Under the Influence, you should seek to hire an experienced Orange County attorney as soon as possible. The sooner a lawyer gets involved, the more evidence they can gather to get you released and the easier it is for them to disprove the prosecution’s case.
In a case where the prosecution has a strong case, the lawyer may be able to negotiate a deal where the charges can be reduced or dropped in return for an admission of guilt and agreement to probation, fines and community service. Your lawyer can guide you as to the best possible options for your unique case.