An Experienced Orange County DUI and DWI Lawyer is Essential to an Effective Defense
Our Attorneys Protect the Rights of Clients Arrested for Driving Under the Influence of Alcohol or Drugs
Whether it is called Driving Under the Influence (DUI) or Driving While Intoxicated (DWI), operating a motor vehicle after ingesting excessive amounts of alcohol or drugs is a serious crime. Anyone facing DUI charges needs immediate representation from an experienced criminal defense attorney.
California DUI laws apply to driving under the influence of both alcohol and drugs. When you enlist support from The McDonnell Law Firm, you benefit from more than four decades of criminal defense experience in Santa Ana, Irvine, Anaheim, and throughout Southern California. Whether you need an experienced Orange County drug crime defense lawyer or defense for an alcohol-related offense, we have the skills to help you obtain the best possible outcome for your case.
DUI Can Be Charged as a Misdemeanor or Felony Crime
In most cases, a first DUI is a misdemeanor under California law. However, even a first conviction carries severe penalties. The California Driver Handbook identifies the penalties as:
- Between $390 and $1,000 in fines
- Penalty assessments of about three times the fines
- A jail sentence of up to six months
You can also expect a suspension of your driving privileges for six months, with reinstatement requiring completion of a DUI program. If police impound your vehicle, you must pay storage fees as well.
Even a first DUI is subject to felony charges if you cause injuries or death to others because of your driving. Felony charges also apply for a fourth DUI conviction within 10 years, or if you have even one prior felony conviction for DUI.
Drivers under Age 21 Face Zero Tolerance Rules
Drivers who have not reached the drinking age can face penalties with a Blood Alcohol Content (BAC) as low as 0.01 percent. In these cases, law enforcement officials can take the driver’s license and issue a temporary license for 30 days, as well as suspend driving privileges for a year. They then have the option to release suspects, contact their guardians or even turn the driver over to juvenile authorities.
You have Limited Rights Regarding Testing
During a DUI traffic stop, police typically ask you to submit to two different types of testing:
- Field sobriety tests (FSTs). FSTs are used to help police establish probable cause to justify testing your BAC. These tests include asking suspects to walk a straight line, stand on one foot or other tests of balance and coordination. FSTs can be inaccurate. Even if police tell you that cooperation will help your case, you do not have to agree to a field sobriety test. Be polite, but decline to take the tests.
- Chemical tests. Police can ask you to take a breath or blood test, and they can request a urine test under very specific conditions. Refusal to take these tests violates state implied consent laws. You must consent to blood testing to avoid license suspension that can continue even if you are found innocent of DUI.
How our DUI Defense Attorneys Can Help
It may seem like the cards are stacked against you when you agree to incriminate yourself by submitting to a BAC test. However, our attorneys can help in many ways, including:
- Identifying errors in the arrest procedure or BAC testing
- Helping clients obtain driving permits so they can continue to drive to work or school
- Using our familiarity with the Los Angeles and Orange County criminal courts to negotiate reduced sentences
Contact our Orange County Criminal Defense Law Firm for a Free Initial Consultation
Facing any type of criminal charges is stressful and confusing. At The McDonnell Law Firm, we treat all clients with respect, as we guide them through the complex legal process. Call us at 562.352.8708 or contact us online to learn how we can help you resolve your legal issues. We offer free initial consultations, accept all major credit cards and are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week by appointment. Members of our staff speak Spanish. Se habla español.