DUI Penalties in Orange County

California has some of the strictest laws for driving under the influence, and Orange County is known for strictly enforcing them. To protect yourself against the potential penalties of a DUI conviction, it’s important to understand what you’re up against.

The consequences can be severe if you're convicted of DUI. From hefty fines and jail time to license suspension and community service, breaking DUI laws comes with punishments

We want to know more about your situation. To schedule a free initial consultation, call (949) 996-0170 today.

DUI Sentencing in California

Driving under the influence (DUI) is a serious offense that carries severe penalties in California. Getting charged with DUI in Orange County doesn't take much. If you are pulled over and have a BAC (blood alcohol content) of at least 0.08%, you will be charged with DUI and your license will be immediately submitted to the DMV for suspension. This is also true if you are driving under the influence of drugs. 

No matter the circumstances of your DUI, your license will be automatically suspended by the DMV for a period of time, depending on factors such as the nature of your case and whether you have previously been convicted of DUI in the last 10 years. An administrative license suspension from the DMV can be challenged; however, you must arrange a hearing with the DMV within 10 days of the suspension.

Barring any specific aggravating factors, your first three DUI convictions within a 10-year period will likely be charged as misdemeanors. Your fourth is a wobbler that can be charged as a felony, carrying extreme penalties. 

For a first-offense DUI in California, consequences for conviction can include the following:

  • 3-5 years of informal probation 
  • A license suspension of 4 months or longer
  • Attendance of DUI school for 3-9 months
  • Fines of up to $1,000, plus penalty assessments
  • Potential installation of an ignition interlock device in your vehicle
  • Up to 6 months in jail

A second offense within 10 years can result in:

  • 3-5 years of informal probation 
  • A 2-year license suspension
  • DUI school lasting either 18 or 30 months
  • Fines of up to $1,000, plus penalty assessments
  • Installation of an ignition interlock device in your car that will remain for 1 year
  • A minimum of 96 hours in county jail with a maximum of 1 year

The potential consequences of a third DUI in a 10-year period can lead to:

  • 3-5 years of informal probation
  • A 3-year revocation of your license 
  • 30 months of DUI school
  • Fines up to $1,000, plus penalty assessments
  • Installation of an ignition interlock system 
  • Between 120 days and 1 year is country jail

Penalties for a fourth offense in a 10-year period can include:

  • 3-5 years of formal probation
  • A minimum of 180 days in county jail for a misdemeanor, up to 3 years in prison for a felony
  • DUI school for 30 months
  • Fines between $390 and $1,000, plus penalty assessments
  • A 4-year revocation of your license
  • Installation of an ignition interlock system
  • Being classified as a habitual traffic offender for 3 years 

Keep in mind that each case is unique and may be subject to different penalties depending on its circumstances. 

What Are Aggravating Factors? 

Aggravating factors are offenses that are added to DUI charges due to specific circumstances. If a prosecutor charges you with 

DUI that includes an aggravating factor, the penalties become more serious. In some cases, you may incur additional penalties as well.

Some common aggravating factors in DUI cases include but are not limited to:

  • Causing Injury: If someone is injured due to your impaired driving, you can expect to face more serious consequences. If you caused great bodily injury, your DUI could be enhanced to a felony, leading to time in prison. 
  • Minor passengers: Driving while impaired with any passengers under the age of 14 in the car will add mandatory jail time to your DUI sentence and could lead to being charged with child endangerment in addition to your DUI. 
  • Refusal to submit to chemical testing: Refusing to submit to chemical testing following an arrest allows the DMV to suspend or revoke your license.
  • DUI in safety enhancement or construction zones: If your DUI arrest takes place in a safety enhancement or construction zone, your fines can be doubled.

If you have been charged with DUI, it is in your best interest to consult with one of our experienced attorneys who can help you understand your rights and options.

California's Zero-Tolerance Rule

California’s zero-tolerance rule applies to drivers under the age of 21 and drivers who are on DUI probation. 

If you are under the age of 21, the zero-tolerance policy means that any amount of detectable alcohol in your system will lead to an automatic license suspension of one year and a potential DUI charge. This suspension may also include other penalties such as fines, jail time, or community service. Additionally, individuals charged with DUI may have to attend mandatory drug and alcohol education classes as punishment.

The zero-tolerance policy is a bit different for drivers on probation for DUI. In this case, a blood alcohol content exceeding 0.04% will immediately result in a DUI charge in addition to any consequences of violating the terms of your probation. You must also submit to a breathalyzer test

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Get in Touch with Our Team Today

Our attorneys at Braden & Tucci can potentially mitigate the potential penalties of a DUI conviction in Orange County. We have served Southern California since we opened our doors in 1997 and want to seek justice on your behalf.

We want to learn more about you and what you are going through. To schedule a free consultation, call us at (949) 996-0170 or contact us online.

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