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.
California Field Sobriety Test | Breathe, Blood & Urine Oh My!
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.
Where is a Person Held When Arrested in Orange County?
People arrested in Orange County are typically held at one of these Detention Facilities:
- Central Men’s Jail: 550 N. Flower St. Santa Ana, CA 92703 (Google Maps)
- Central Women’s Jail: 550 N. Flower St. Santa Ana, CA 92703
- IRC (Intake/Release Center): 550 N. Flower St. Santa Ana, CA 92703
- James A. Musick Facility: 13502 Musick Rd. Irvine, CA 92618 (Google Maps)
- Theo Lacy Facility: 501 The City Drive Orange, CA 92868 (Google Maps)
- Juvenile Hall: 331 The City Drive Orange, CA. 92868 (714) 935-6660 (Google Maps)
The 3 Most Important Rules When Visiting Someone in an Orange County Detention Facility
- Visitors are required to show valid photo identification prior to a visit. Only government issued ID’s are accepted (State Driver’s License or Identification Card, Passport, Consular Card, etc.) This is non-negotiable and you will be turned away if you do not have proper identification.
- Each inmate is allowed one public visit per visiting day for a maximum of 30 minutes. Two adults and one child under five may visit. Only two visitors plus one child under five years of age, or one adult and two children under five years of age, will be permitted to visit any one inmate.
- Food, drinks, candy, gum, cigarettes, matches, lighters, pepper spray, weapons, cell phones, laptops, cameras and other electronic devices or anything deemed inappropriate are prohibited in facility.
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.
Posting Bail in California and Senate Bill 10 (SB 10)
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.
3 Types of Bail in California
- Cash – This is usually the easiest “technical” way to post bail, but it’s usually the most difficult to execute because bail amounts can range widely from $10,000 to $100,000 or more. Generally, as long as the defendant attends all court dates, the cash will be returned within 6 – 12 weeks of the conclusion of the case.
- Bail Bond – A bail bond is what most people do. Generally you’ll need to get a contract with a “bail bond agent” and pay them a non-refundable premium – typically 10% of the bail amount and they post the bail. They’ll only do so if you’ve provided collateral, (a house, car or valuable property), which ensures court dates are met. If the defendant fails to appear in court the bond agent forfeits their money, and can legally pursue the defendant and use the collateral to reimburse them for the lost bail.
- Property Bond – This is a scenario where you post an equity interest in real property that you own to ensure the defendant goes to court. The value of the equity must be at least twice (2x) the amount of the bail, so a $100,000 bail requires proof that you have at least $200,000 of equity in the property.
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.
The Right to Representation
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.