Orange County DUI Defense Attorney
Protect Your Future After a Drunk Driving Arrest
Have you recently been pulled over during an Orange County DUI checkpoint or routine traffic stop? Did the officers involved ask if you'd been drinking, or request that you take a field sobriety test? Were you charged with a DUI? If so, you're probably wondering what happens next, and what kind of trouble you may be in.
Without the proper legal representation to defend your rights and review the state's case, you may be facing considerable trouble. Don't wait another minute – contact the OC criminal attorneys at Law Office of Michael L. Guisti and get the legal help you need before it becomes too late.
Of course, you may be thinking – "What's the point? They have all the evidence they need."
This is a perfectly natural response given the extreme stress you're under after being arrested. It's frightening, and the thought of losing your license, your job, or your freedom only compounds this fact! But remember, you have rights. The state must make their case around said rights. This is where we come in. Depending on the circumstances surrounding your DUI arrest, there could be any number of defense options available. For instance:
Whatever the case may be, it's important to get legal counsel soon as possible. DUI arrests can be costly – both personally and financially – but they don't have to be. With Law Office of Michael L. Guisti at your side, you'll be able to put this unfortunate situation behind you and move on with your life. Call (714) 530-9690 today and schedule an appointment to review your options.
What Happens If I Am Convicted of DUI in Orange County?
If you have been arrested for DUI, under California Vehicle Code 23151(a) and (b), you could face fines and potential jail time. But, as with all things in our legal system, it's often far more complex than that. Every case is different. Your outcome depends on circumstances involved. Was anyone harmed or injured in the course of your arrest? Is this your first time being charged with a DUI or are there prior arrests? How intoxicated or cooperative were you at the time?
All these factors – and many more – can work to your advantage. The key is retaining an experienced defense team to read between the lines and find the best possible solution.
Am I Allowed to Refuse Field Sobriety Tests?
If you have been pulled over for driving under the influence, it is important to understand what steps will be taken to decide if there is enough probable cause to arrest you for a suspected DUI. The officer may conduct what is called field sobriety tests, which are a series of exercises designed to determine, based on your performance, whether you are under the influence. The three standard field sobriety tests you may be given include the following:
- The Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus Test (HGN): This test is done by the officer asking the suspect to follow an object, such as his finger, left to right, as he watches to see if the eyes exhibit any involuntary jerking that may be indicative of intoxication.
- The Walk and Turn Test: This is the common test people see where the suspect is asked to walk straight along an imaginary line while following a series of instructions they are asked to remember from the officer.
- The One-Leg Stand Test: This test will instruct the suspect to stand on one leg for a period of time while counting, and the officer will judge how well the suspect is able to perform these actions successfully.
While there are many other field sobriety tests available, these are just the three most common ones administered. If you are asked to take any of these tests, California law does not require you to comply and refusing to participate will not involve legal consequences.
What are the Chemical Tests Involved and Can I Refuse to Take Them?
Whereas with the field sobriety tests you have the option to not take them without facing consequences, when it comes to a chemical test administered after you are lawfully arrested, you are not entitled to refuse participation without facing certain legal ramifications. In California, being lawfully arrested for a DUI can result in you being required to take one of three chemical tests to determine your blood alcohol content (BAC), including tests of your blood, breath, or urine, depending on the situation.
Because California’s Vehicle Code Section 23612 states that by operating a vehicle, you have already given implied consent to any tests deemed necessary to examine your BAC, failure to take these tests can result in serious penalties. Under this Code, the officer is required to reveal to you that you could face a fine of $125, loss of your license, or mandatory jail time if you are ultimately found guilty. If this is your first refusal to submit to chemical testing, your license could be suspended up to 1 year. If this is your second refusal within ten years of a separate offense, you could lose your license for two years. Finally, if this is your third refusal within a period of ten years of another violation, you risk losing your license for up to three years.
In the end, it is entirely up to you whether you choose to refuse to take these tests or not, but understanding the legal ramifications from not complying are important before making that determination in the future.
Multiple DUI Offenses
In the state of California, if you are found guilty of multiple DUI offenses, the penalties you face will increase with each conviction:
- First DUI: You’ll face between 4 days to 6 months of jail time, fines ranging from $390 to $1000, a suspension of your driver’s license for six months, and the possibility of an Ignition Interlock Device being installed in your vehicle.
- Second DUI: You’ll face between 90 days to 1 year of jail time, a fine ranging from $390 to $1000, a suspension of your driver’s license for 1 year, and the possibility of an Ignition Interlock Device being installed in your vehicle.
- Third DUI: You’ll face between 120 days to 1 year of jail time, fines ranging from $390 to $1000, a suspension of your license for 2 years, and an Ignition Interlock Device installed in your vehicle.
- Felony DUI: This can result from your fourth DUI conviction and is much more serious. You are now considered a habitual traffic offender, and can face jail or prison time for 180 days to 1 year, fines ranging from $390 to $1000, and a suspension of your license for 3 years.
DUI Defense 24/7
While it may seem impossible at the moment, you can – and with our help will – successfully fight these charges. Contact Law Office of Michael L. Guisti to speak with a dedicated Orange County DUI attorney.
The number to call is (714) 530-9690.
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- The Robustness of the Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus Test
Whether you're facing a felony or a misdemeanor, don't risk a conviction. Act quickly to redeem your reputation and protect your record by consulting with our Orange County criminal defense lawyer. Call today to schedule your free consultation.