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California DUI Laws

A typical DUI case involves two charges. California Vehicle Code Section 23152(a) makes it illegal for anyone to drive a motor vehicle while under the influence of alcohol or drugs. Vehicle Code Section 23152(b) makes it illegal for a person with a blood alcohol level of .08 percent or more to drive a vehicle. These two charges are related but separate charges.

DUI Court Process in California

The DUI court process in California outlines the steps taken from the time of arrest until the case is finally resolved. Understanding this process is essential if you are facing DUI charges in California.

  • Arrest and Booking: The DUI proceedings start with an arrest by law enforcement officers who suspect that a driver is operating a vehicle while under the influence of alcohol or drugs. Following the arrest, the individual is usually transported to the police station for booking, involving fingerprinting, taking mug shots, and conducting a breath or blood test to ascertain the blood alcohol concentration (BAC).
  • Arraignment: The first court appearance following a DUI arrest is the arraignment, where the defendant is formally charged with the DUI offense and advised of their rights. At this stage, the defendant can enter a plea of guilty, not guilty, or no contest.
  • Pre-Trial Proceedings:During this phase, the defense and prosecution share evidence, submit motions, and discuss potential plea deals to potentially resolve the case without proceeding to trial.
  • Trial: If the case goes to trial, it will involve jury selection, initial statements, the introduction of evidence, testimonies from witnesses, concluding arguments, and the jury's decision.
  • Sentencing: If the defendant is found guilty, the court will impose a sentence, which may include fines, probation, mandatory DUI education or treatment programs, community service, and in some cases, jail time.
  • Appeals: After a conviction, the defendant has the right to appeal the verdict or sentence to a higher court if they believe there were errors made during the trial that affected the outcome.

It is important to note that the DUI court process in California can be complex and challenging to navigate. If you are facing DUI charges, it is crucial to consult with an experienced Orange County DUI attorney who can guide you through the process, protect your rights, and help you achieve the best possible outcome in your case.

Can you be Acquitted on Charges?

A person charged with these two offenses may be acquitted of one of the charges yet be found guilty of the other. For example, a person who has a low tolerance for alcohol may only have a blood alcohol concentration of .04 percent and yet found to be too impaired to drive a car and thus guilty of violating Section 23152(a). A person who has a high tolerance for alcohol may not show any signs of impairment even at a blood alcohol level of .08 percent or more, and yet may be found guilty of Section 23152(b) for having a blood alcohol level over the legal limit.

Can You Get a DUI for Driving on Adderall in California?

Are you wondering if you can be charged with driving under the influence (DUI) while on Adderall? If you use Adderall before you get behind the wheel, you may be charged with driving under the influence of drugs. Driving while taking Adderall may alter your mental state.

DUI Penalties in Orange County

A DUI in California is considered a misdemeanor punishable by a maximum of six months in jail. However, if a person has a prior DUI conviction within ten years of the current offense, the maximum punishment increases to one year in jail. Also, a DUI offense may be charged as a felony punishable by a maximum of three years in state prison if it is within ten years of three prior DUI convictions.

A DUI offense that causes injuries to another person will increase the potential punishment and may be charged as a felony. A DUI offense that causes the death of another person may be charged as a manslaughter or murder.

At a minimum, a person found guilty of a DUI offense will have to:

  • Complete a three-month DUI class
  • Pay fines totaling more than $1000
  • Have their license restricted or suspended for a minimum of three months to a year

License Suspension in CA

A person charged with a DUI offense also has to deal with the proceedings initiated by the DMV, separate and apart from the court proceedings. If you are arrested for DUI, the DMV will suspend your license in a separate action from what the court is doing. Unless you request a hearing within ten days of the notice of suspension, you will lose your right to challenge the suspension.

Defenses For DUI in California

Defending against a DUI charge in California involves exploring various legal defenses to challenge the prosecution's case. Understanding these defenses is crucial for individuals facing DUI charges:

  • Field Sobriety Test Accuracy: Challenging the accuracy and reliability of field sobriety tests is a common defense. Factors such as weather conditions, physical limitations, or the officer's instructions can impact test performance.
  • Breathalyzer Accuracy: Challenging the precision of breathalyzer results constitutes another defense tactic. Problems related to the calibration, upkeep, or execution of the test could serve as grounds to dispute the dependability of the breathalyzer reading.
  • Lack of Probable Cause: Asserting that law enforcement lacked probable cause for the initial traffic stop or arrest is a fundamental defense. If the stop was conducted without reasonable suspicion, the entire case may be compromised.
  • Rising Blood Alcohol Content (BAC): Arguing that your BAC was still rising at the time of the traffic stop may be a valid defense. If this is the case, it challenges the assumption that you were over the legal limit while driving.
  • Medical Conditions: Specific medical conditions or medications have the potential to replicate the effects of alcohol impairment. Establishing a correlation between a medical condition and the observed symptoms can construct a robust defense.

Navigating DUI defenses in California requires a thorough understanding of the specific circumstances surrounding the arrest. Consulting with an experienced  Orange County DUI attorney is essential to identify the most effective defense strategy tailored to the unique aspects of each case.


Protect Your Rights and Future with an Experienced DUI Attorney

If you have been charged with a DUI in Orange County, it is crucial to have a skilled and knowledgeable attorney by your side. At the Law Offices of Christian Kim, we understand the complexities of DUI laws and have a proven track record of successfully defending clients throughout Irvine, Santa Ana, and Tustin.

Working with a DUI attorney can provide you with several benefits:

  • Expertise: Our attorneys have a deep understanding of California DUI laws and the legal system. We stay updated on the latest changes in legislation and use our knowledge to build a strong defense strategy tailored to your case.
  • Protection of Rights: We will ensure that your rights are protected throughout the legal process. We will review the evidence against you, challenge any violations of your constitutional rights, and fight to have any unlawfully obtained evidence suppressed.
  • Negotiation Skills: Our attorneys are skilled negotiators and can work with prosecutors to potentially reduce charges or penalties. We will explore all possible avenues to achieve the best possible outcome for your case.
  • Experience in Court: If your case goes to trial, our attorneys have extensive courtroom experience and are well-prepared to present a compelling defense on your behalf. We will aggressively challenge the prosecution's case, cross-examine witnesses, and present evidence in your favor.
  • Protecting Your Future: A DUI conviction can have severe consequences, including fines, license suspension, increased insurance rates, and even jail time. Our goal is to minimize these consequences and protect your future by exploring alternative sentencing options or pursuing a dismissal of charges.

Don't face the complexities of a DUI charge alone. Contact the Law Offices of Christian Kim today to schedule a consultation and let our experienced DUI attorneys fight for your rights and future.

Let the Law Offices of Christian Kim Help

Being charged with a DUI can be an onerous and costly experience. Being represented by an experienced DUI attorney who knows how to handle DMV Administrative hearings and court proceedings is crucial in ensuring that all of your rights are protected. At the Law Offices of Christian Kim, our Orange County DUI attorney, Christian Kim, has successfully handled hundreds of DUI cases during his career as a prosecutor and a criminal defense attorney in California.

If you have been charged with DUI, contact us 24 hours a day, 7 days a week to talk to our experienced Orange County DUI attorney about your case. Call (714) 576-2935 now.


 Qualities of a Top-Tier Attorney

 When it Comes to Your Attorney, Experience Matters
  • Commitment
    Attorney Christian Kim is committed to using his extensive experience as a former prosecutor and as a Santa Ana criminal defense attorney to aggressively and competently defend the rights of those accused of wrongdoing.
  • Integrity
    Mr. Kim believes that anything less than complete honesty is a disservice to his clients. You deserve complete and frank communication from your attorney in order to make informed decisions in your case.
  • Professionalism
    Maintaining the highest level of professionalism with all of his clients is a priority for Mr. Kim. Each client is treated respectfully and courteously and all phone calls are returned promptly.
  • Experience
    After more than 7 years serving the Orange County area as a prosecutor and now over 14 years as a criminal defense attorney, Christian Kim has experience on both sides. His unique history gives him the one-of-a-kind perspective that your case needs.
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