DUI Charges Can Ruin Your Life: Why You Need an Attorney

May 24th, 2022 | by Scott C. Thomas, Orange County Criminal Law Attorney

DUI penalties in California are based on a number of factors. These include the driver’s blood alcohol content (BAC), whether there was a minor present in the vehicle, and whether the DUI resulted in an accident.

  • For a first DUI offense, the penalties may include a fine of up to $1,000, probation for up to 36 months, and/or up-to six months in jail.
  • For a DUI with a BAC of .08 or higher, or for a DUI with a minor present in the vehicle, the penalties may include a fine of up to $1,000, probation for up to 36 months, and/or up-to one year in jail.
  • If the DUI resulted in an accident, the penalties might include a fine of up to $5,000, probation for up to 36 months, and/or up-to one year in jail.
  • Second and subsequent DUI offenses carry even harsher penalties, including a fine of up to $5,000, probation for up to 36 months, and/or up-to one year in jail.

DUI offenders are often required to attend DUI School and install an ignition interlock device in their vehicle. Those who refuse to install an ignition interlock device will have their driver’s license suspended for one year. DUI offenders who drive without a license or with a suspended license are subject to additional penalties.

A DUI Attorney Can Help You Avoid a Conviction or Get the Charges Reduced

An experienced DUI attorney in Orange County who regularly practices DUI defense is best positioned to help you avoid a DUI conviction or get the charges against you reduced or dismissed altogether.

He or she can achieve this through:

Investigating the Circumstances of Your Arrest 

6% of all criminal arrests are wrongful, which means that there is a significant possibility that you were wrongfully arrested for DUI. A knowledgeable DUI attorney will investigate the circumstances of your arrest to look for any constitutional violations or police misconduct that may have occurred.

This could include:

  • Arguing that the arresting officer did not have probable cause to stop your vehicle.
  • Questioning the reliability of the field sobriety tests.
  • Challenging the accuracy of the breathalyzer test.

Negotiating with the Prosecutor

In many cases, an experienced DUI attorney can negotiate with the prosecutor to have the charges against you reduced or dismissed. This is often done by:

  • Showing that there are weaknesses in the prosecution’s case.
  • Presenting mitigating circumstances.
  • Agreeing to participate in a diversion program.

Arguing for a Lesser Charge 

In some cases, it may not be possible to have the charges against you completely dismissed. However, an experienced DUI attorney may still be able to negotiate with the prosecutor for a lesser charge.

For example, if you are charged with DUI with a BAC of .08 or higher, your attorney may be able to negotiate for a lesser charge of wet reckless.

A wet reckless is a lesser charge than DUI, which carries lighter penalties. In addition, a conviction for wet reckless will not result in a license suspension, whereas a DUI conviction will.

Arguing for Alternative Sentencing

If you are convicted of DUI, an experienced DUI attorney may be able to argue for alternative sentencing. This could include:

  • Participation in a first offender’s program.
  • Installation of an ignition interlock device.
  • Community service.

Favorable sentencing is often available for first-time offenders with no prior criminal history. An experienced CA DUI attorney will know what sentencing options are available in your case and will fight for the most favorable sentence possible.

How About a Public Defender?

A public defender is a lawyer appointed by the court to represent defendants who cannot afford to hire an attorney. In many cases, public defenders are overworked and do not have the time or resources to provide their clients with the individualized attention they deserve.

If you are facing DUI charges, you should strongly consider hiring a private criminal defense attorney rather than relying on a public defender.

An experienced DUI attorney will provide you with the individualized attention you need to build a strong defense against the charges you are facing. In addition, a private DUI attorney is more likely to be familiar with the prosecutors and judges in your case, which could result in a more favorable outcome for you.

The Law Office of Scott C. Thomas is Here to Help

If you have been charged with DUI, you need a top-rated attorney on your side.

We will thoroughly investigate the circumstances of your arrest and build a strong defense against the charges you are facing. To schedule a free consultation with our office, call us at 949-694-3482 or fill out our online contact form.

Scott C. Thomas

Law Office of Scott C. Thomas
(949) 945-2085


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