Orange County is Tough on DUI cases
Orange County is Tough on DUI cases for a variety of different reasons. In this article, we will examine the reasons why this is so.
The Orange County District Attorney has a “no tolerance” policy when it comes to DUI cases. For one, the prosecuting agency, the OC District Attorney’s office, has trained and instructed deputy DAs, who appear in court, to not negotiate to reduce DUI cases except in the most extreme of circumstances.
In an article for the Orange County Register, written as an opinion piece in 2021, head District Attorney Todd Spitzer stated the following:
“Orange County is facing a crisis when it comes to drivers driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol or both. Driving under the influence of drugs is up 40 percent and felony driving under the influence filings are up 25 percent over last year.
In just 60 days this summer, the Orange County District Attorney’s Office filed charges in nine fatal driving under the influence cases and many more remain under review. Many of the drivers had multiple misdemeanor convictions for driving under the influence, which allows my prosecutors to charge them with murder when they kill someone while driving under the influence (and we can prove prior knowledge of the dangerousness through express admonishments given by a judge generally after a prior conviction).”
Specifically, Todd Spitzer outlined the training and funding to support their stricter-than-average pursuit of those facing DUI cases:
“This summer, I formed the Task Force for the Prevention of Impaired Driving Fatalities in conjunction with Orange County law enforcement agencies, the California Highway Patrol, the California Office of Traffic Safety (OTS), and Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) to address the disturbing trend of impaired driving fatalities in Orange County.
The Orange County District Attorney’s Office remains the statewide trainer for OTS to instruct law enforcement and prosecutors on how to prosecute driving under the influence successfully. And this year’s OTS grant allowed the DA’s Office to hire a second, full-time Drug Recognition Expert specifically designated to handle Orange County driving under the influence cases.”
When the California legislature, in their wisdom, decided to allow treatment through diversion for a great number of crimes, the OC DA’s office opposed it, as Spitzer mentioned in a Twitter thread revealing his position against diversion for DUI cases:
“Our roads – and our residents – are safer as a result of the Orange County District Attorney’s unwavering position that drunk and drugged drivers must be held accountable,” said Orange County District Attorney Todd Spitzer. “
The appeal by the OC District Attorney’s Office opposing diversion for DUI cases was eventually successful in Orange County:
In many other courts in California, notably in San Bernardino County and in Los Angeles County, the sheer caseload and the resources they have for trials means that they truly try to offer settlements for cases, including DUIs, that are appealing enough for defendants to accept.
But in Orange County, unfortunately, the fact remains that the policy of the prosecutors are to be tough on DUI cases, and not to reduce to a wet reckless or other charge, or
Contact us if you have questions or need professional representation from an Orange County DUI Lawyer regarding any DUI charges in Orange County California.