What Happens After a DUI Arrest in Orange County
After being arrested for a DUI in Orange County, you will be taken to the police station for blood alcohol content (BAC) testing. Blood testing is usually done at the Orange County Jail in Santa Ana. However, some CHP offices and all hospitals can collect blood for DUI testing also. In Orange County, only the OC Crime Lab does blood testing for DUI cases.
Orange County Sheriff’s Patrol Cars that are designated for saturation patrols or DUI enforcement have an Alcosensor IV, or the newer Alcosensor V breath testing devices, in the vehicle. Only those devices are certified for use for breath testing in the field, which means that you will not have a later breath test. For any other testing device, you would typically be given a field PAS breathalyzer, and then a more accurate breath test at the police station.
If your BAC from either the breath test, or the blood test, is above the 0.08% legal limit, you will be charged with a misdemeanor DUI. If you are charged with a misdemeanor, you may be released on your own recognizance until the arraignment.
Note that if you are arrested for a DUI with a serious injury, or a DUI with three or more priors, those are felony DUIs, and you will be held until you post bail. If you were on DUI probation, or have any prior DUIs, you may be required to post bail. First time DUI cases do not require posting of bail.
Your DUI Arraignment
What happens at your arraignment? In short, you will be informed of any charge(s) asserted against you at the arraignment, and the commissioner or judge will advise you of the minimum and maximum penalties for DUI. You will be provided the opportunity to enter a plea of guilty, or not guilty.
You will also be asked if you want a lawyer, or time to speak to a lawyer. If you are interested in a public defender, or in representing yourself (which is never recommended), you can begin qualifying for that at this appearance also. If you have any prior DUIs, the judge may impose additional bond conditions such as attending AA classes, and abstaining from alcohol, while the case is pending.
Whenever possible, it is best to contact an attorney prior to your arraignment to make sure your best interests are protected. We are happy to provide a free legal consultation before your court date, so that you understand all your options.
Your DUI Pretrial Conference
Once you plead not guilty, a pretrial conference is held to discuss plea options. The first pretrial conference occurs about 2-4 weeks following the arraignment. At a pretrial conference, the defense and the prosecution meet to discuss the strengths and weaknesses of each side of the case, and to see whether all the evidence on each side has been provided and reviewed. From there, both sides are free to begin negotiations regarding lesser offenses, punishment and agreement on a sentence.
Once there is a plea bargain, the case stops. If you have rejected a plea bargain, your case is usually set for trial. At trial the prosecution must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that you operated your motor vehicle under the influence of alcohol and/or above a .08%. You have a right to a trial by judge or jury.
Once you plead or are found guilty, the judge will impose a sentence. Penalties for a DUI, or lesser charges, may consist of court fees and fines, probation, an alcohol school, community service, or reimbursement (restitution) for any damages caused in an accident.
You can contact our DUI Defense Lawyers any time to discuss your case in confidence and find out what happens after a DUI arrest in Orange County. We can offer legal guidance and honest advice and counseling on how to best proceed – even if that means we recommend you not have a lawyer.