What are your options with an Orange County DUI?
During this Labor Day weekend in Orange County, California, there were several Orange County DUI Checkpoints, as well as Orange County DUI Saturation Patrols. You may have been recently arrested for driving under the influence (DUI) of alcohol or drugs in Orange County, given the heavy law enforcement activity this past weekend.
If you found yourself to be one of the unfortunate ones, you may be wondering what to do. You may have questions such as:
- Should I get an attorney?
- What are my options?
- Should I plead guilty?
- Should I fight my charge?
- Should I try to negotiate a plea deal?”
First – Your driver’s license.
The first deadline that will come up is the ten-day DMV hearing deadline regarding your driver’s license. Your pink temporary license will expire in 30 days unless you call the DMV hearing office and get a hearing started within 10 days. Don’t miss that deadline.
Your court appearance.
After a DUI arrest, your first court date is called an arraignment. An arraignment is a hearing where you’ll be informed of your charge and asked whether you plead guilty or not guilty.
What are your options during a DUI arraignment?
The judge wants to know two things at an arraignment:
- Whether or not you want a lawyer; and
- Whether or not you want to plead guilty.
Do you want a lawyer?
The judge will ask if you want to represent yourself (not recommended), have time to hire a private attorney, or want to apply for an Orange County public defender. If you can afford one, you are almost always better off with a private attorney, especially one that knows both the charges you are facing and knows the court where you are facing charges well.
Should you just plead guilty to DUI or fight it?
Depending on whether or not you express a wish for a lawyer, the judge may give you other options. If you choose to represent yourself, you may be given the following options:
- You can plead guilty to the DUI (which is not recommended);
- You can seek a plea bargain, where you plead guilty to a lesser offense, such as a California wet reckless, in exchange for lighter punishment;
- You can ask for a trial – either a trial before a jury or before a judge.
Should I Plea Bargain my DUI?
The answer to that question will depend on your criminal record history, the facts involved in your DUI offense, and the available evidence. For example, if you had a high blood alcohol concentration (BAC) and there is a lot of evidence against you, you may be better off negotiating a plea deal in your DUI with the prosecutor.
On the other hand, if you had a borderline (at or near the .08% legal limit) or low BAC, or if you were a victim of police misconduct, it may make sense to try to get the prosecution to drop your charges and if that doesn’t work, it may be beneficial to take your case to trial. It all depends on the unique facts of your case. If your BAC was below .08%, your chances of winning a jury trial are better.
Regardless of the facts of your case, our top rated Orange County DUI defense attorneys will be able to both present you in the best light possible for a plea bargain or at trial cross-examine the witnesses and evidence and show reasonable doubt in the minds of the judge or jury.
To determine the best defense strategy for your situation, contact our firm to speak with our firm about your case today.