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Orange County Drunk Driving

DUI Criminal Process in Orange County

If you have been arrested for DUI, driving under the influence, in Orange County, California, your first DUI-related court appearance will be the arraignment. At the arraignment, the charges against you will be explained to you and you will have the option of pleading not guilty, guilty, or no contest.

The decision to require bail will be discussed among the judge and the prosecuting attorney. If you have retained a DUI attorney, your lawyer will have the opportunity, at that time, to make any motions on your behalf. If you are being charged with a misdemeanor DUI and have hired a DUI defense attorney, you may not need to be present at this court hearing.

During the arraignment for a misdemeanor DUI charge, your attorney may also request a pre-trial hearing. At the pre-trial hearing the attorneys will review your DUI case and may attempt to reach a settlement. If a settlement can not be made, additional pre-trial hearings may be necessary. You may not need to be in attendance of these hearings.

If you have been charged with a 4th or subsequent DUI, or if there was an injury involved or a child was present in your vehicle when you were arrested, you could be charged with a DUI felony and a preliminary hearing will be set during your arraignment.

During the preliminary hearing, the prosecuting attorney and your DUI defense attorney will present basic evidence. Your defense attorney will have an opportunity to cross examine any prosecution witnesses and the judge will ultimately decide whether to allow the case to go forward in court.

In the event the judge determines there is enough evidence against you to proceed with the felony DUI charge, a second arraignment will be set, during which time you will again enter a plea.

Whether you are charged with a misdemeanor or felony DUI, a not guilty plea will bring your case to trial. If at the time of your arraignment you were in custody of Orange County law enforcement, you have a right to a trial with-in 30 days. If you were not in custody, you have a right to trial with-in 45 days. Often, this is not enough time for an attorney to research and prepare your DUI defense, in which case your attorney may request one or more continuances to do so.

If you enter a plea of guilty or no contest to the charges, your DUI attorney may be able to negotiate alternative sentencing options. Otherwise, you may face the maximum DUI penalties awarded by law.

More Information:

DUI Defenses
Alternative Sentencing
Orange County DMV
Driver’s License Suspension
DUI Schools is an informational website provided by a top Orange County DUI lawyer to help those charged with drunk driving in these Orange County cities: Aliso Viejo, Anaheim, Brea, Buena Park, Costa Mesa, Cypress, Dana Point, Fountain Valley, Fullerton, Garden Grove, Huntington Beach, Irvine, La Habra, La Palma, Laguna Beach, Laguna Hills, Laguna Niguel, Laguna Woods, Lake Forest, Los Alamitos, Mission Viejo, Newport Beach, Orange, Placentia, Rancho Santa Margarita, San Clemente, San Juan Capistrano, Santa Ana, Seal Beach, Stanton, Surfside, Tustin, Villa Park, Westminster and Yorba Linda.