Considering driving home after a night of drinking and partying? Perhaps you should think twice.
Orange County has the harshest laws dealing with Driving Under The Influence (DUI) and Driving While Intoxicated (DWI).
While there are a number of possible consequences for such actions, the sentencing varies depending on multiple factors. However, having access to the right information is necessary.
Don’t worry! We at Bail Bond Professionals have a 24/7 helpline number (714-389-2245) so that you can get all the information you need easily, quickly, and reliably.
What is a DUI?
Before you can get into the penalties, fines, and other sentencing issues, you need to understand what a DUI means.
The legal definition of a DUI says that a person operating a vehicle under the influence of any substance that can affect the nervous system, brain, or muscles can get charged with a DUI.
DUIs aren't restricted to alcohol or illegal substances. If you are operating a vehicle while on prescription or over-the-counter medication that affects your judgment, you can get charged with a DUI.
To put it simply, if you are unable to drive sober, then you are considered intoxicated and can be charged with a DUI.
DUI Laws in Orange County
As mentioned earlier, Orange County has some of the toughest laws regarding DUIs. These are mentioned in Vehicle Code Section 23152 and Vehicle Code Section 23153.
Here is exactly what the law states:
- It is illegal for anyone under the influence of alcohol to operate a vehicle
- It is illegal for anyone with blood alcohol content (BAC) levels exceeding 0.08% or more to operate a vehicle
- It is illegal for anyone under the influence of drugs to operate a vehicle
- It is illegal for anyone under the influence of any combination of drugs or alcohol to operate a vehicle
Generally, 23152(a) and (b) will be filed together, depending on the situation.
Penalties for DUI in Orange County
Since the laws are strict and the punishments are stricter as well in Orange County. The severity of the sentencing depends on whether it is a misdemeanor or a felony.
Generally, DUIs are filed as a misdemeanor since the felony sentencing is much harsher. However, even misdemeanors are treated harshly.
Penalties for a Misdemeanor
A misdemeanor DUI has a few possible consequences:
- Suspension of driver's license
- Fines up to $1,800
- Possible jail sentence
- Probation of three to five years
Generally, the first three DUI convictions are considered misdemeanors. With each subsequent offense, the punishments get harsher, as you'll see below!
Penalties for a Felony
In some cases, a DUI will be a felony charge. But, you'll get pressed with a felony charge in the event of the following:
- Death or Injury: If you have caused a death or injury due to being intoxicated with driving, then you can be charged with a felony DUI
- Fourth or More: If you've previously received four or more DUIs within a span of 10-years, you are going to be charged with a felony DUI. Even if there has been no injury, there will be no more misdemeanor charges
- Previous Felony Charge: If you've a prior felony conviction on a previous DUI case, then every subsequent DUI case will be registered as a felony
In such cases, the penalties are much harsher. They can include:
- Jail term is dependant on the severity of the offense
- Suspension or permanent revocation of the driver’s license
- Strictly monitored felony probation
- Extensive fines and fees can go up to tens of thousands of dollars.
- Mandatory extensive AA and drug rehabilitation classes and counseling
- Loss of the right to possess firearms
- Temporary loss of your voting rights only while incarcerated
- Requirement of Ignition Interlock Device (IID) installed in the vehicle.
For the unaware, an IID detects your alcohol level and 'locks' the engine preventing you from driving while intoxicated.
Felony DUI Considerations
When deciding the sentencing for a DUI felony, the court will look at a couple of facts:
- The nature and cause of the accident
- The severity of the accident itself
- The number of people affected
- The criminal background of the defendant
- The circumstances, age, and cause of previous DUI cases
The death of a passenger(s), a person(s) in another vehicle, or a bystander(s) while driving under the influence will result in a vehicular manslaughter or second-degree murder charge.
This charge also has specifications based on which sentences are decided. These include:
- Unlawful killing while under the influence, without gross negligence, without premeditation can land you in state prison for 16 months to 4 years.
- Unlawful killing while under the influence, with gross negligence, without premeditation, can result in 4, 6, or 10 years prison term.
- Prior DUI offenses charged with DU manslaughter or murder can lead to a jail term for up to 15 years.
It doesn't just end with a few clear sentences. There are certain situations where the penalties for a DUI offense may increase.
- Refusing a BAC chemical test
- If there is a child under 14 years of age present in the car
- BAC of 0.20 or greater
- Driving in a double fine zone
- Injuries to more than one person
- Reckless speed
- Evading arrest
- Hit and run
- Multiple offenses
The refusal to take a BAC chemical test can even lead to a forced blood draw, as the test is mandatory.
General Guide to Sentencing
While a first-time offense may not require a bail bond agent, it's always good to know what you're getting into and how bad the consequences can be.
So, if a situation does arise, you can call us at Bail Bond Professionals and know what kind of consequences you're facing!
First Time DUI:
- Up to 6-month license suspension
- Possible confinement of up to 6 months
- Up to 5 years informal probation
- Successful completion of DUI program if BAC was under 0.20%
- Successful completion of DUI program if BAC was over 0.20%
- Possible installation of IID
- Fines and assessments
Second Time DUI (Within a 10-year period)
- Installation of IID for 1 year
- Suspension of license for 2 years without the IID
- Mandatory 10 days in jail
- Possible sentence of 1 year in jail
- Up to 5 years probation
- Successful completion of 18 - 10 months DUI awareness program
Third Time DUI Offense (Within the same 10-year period)
- Installation of IID for 2 years
- Either suspension for 3 years or restricted license after hard suspension of license without IID
- Jail sentence of 120 days - 1 year
- Successful completion of DUI awareness program
Fourth DUI Offense (Automatic Felony Charge)
At least 1 year in state prison and other felony charge punishments apply.
Process of Booking
So, if you're going to get pulled over for a possible DUI charge, what will it look like?
There are a few situations that can lead to an arrest.
The police believe the motorist is driving under the influence by the way the vehicle is being driven. In this situation, the police will pull you over to conduct an investigation and conduct a preliminary DUI test.
You could be pulled over for a mechanical problem with your car, such as a broken taillight. After the officers ask questions, the police can arrest you for DUI testing if they suspect you are under the influence.
If there has been an accident and the police have reason to believe you are intoxicated, they will arrest you for a DUI.
While it is possible to refuse the preliminary test, it can result in additional charges if you fail a blood or breath test later.
If you refuse a blood or breath test, the police may resort to a forced draw and apply additional charges.
Once arrested, the driver’s license gets suspended for 30 days; during this time, you will receive a pink document that acts as a temporary driver’s license.
The actual booking process happens at the station where the motorist is registered into the system as an offender. During the process, the following will happen:
- Record personal information, including name, physical characteristics, date of birth, etc.
- Record details about the alleged crime committed
- Background check
- Photographs, fingerprints, personal items are collected
- Place the defendant in a local jail cell.
How Much Does a DUI Cost?
It's commonly known that DUIs are expensive. But, what are the costs? And how high can they go?
The first offense is roughly estimated to cost about $15,700. If there are other complications such as injuries, deaths, enhancements, previous convictions, the costs could skyrocket.
But what exactly are you paying for?
The minimum fine for a DUI is $390, and it can climb up to $1,000. However, there will be a penalty assessment. This assessment determines the upper extent of other fines, which may be as high as five times of the initial fee.
First-time offenders would receive a minimum fee of around $1,922, but it can go up to $5,000.
Towing and Impound Fee
While not the case every time, your car may need to be towed or impounded. You can expect to pay anywhere between $250 to $1,000 to get the vehicle back.
Alcohol School or Program Fee
In some cases, you'll be required to complete a DUI awareness program or attend an AA meeting. For first-time offenders, the costs can go as high as $800.
DMV Driver's License Fee
You'll be paying both the $125 DMV suspension fee and the $55 court suspension fee. If you don't pay for this, then you won't be allowed to drive again.
By far, the most expensive part is the bail amount. Apart from your insurance shooting up, you will have to pay bail ranging anywhere between $10,000 to $100,000 depending on the severity and penalty assessments.
First-time offenders usually don't require bail, but multiple offenses typically have fines for repeat and/or past offenses tacked on as well.
Apart from the bail amount, you'll be required to pay 10% of the bail amount to a bail bondsman like Bail Bond Professionals to be released.
Many bail bond agencies even have hidden fees such as:
- Notary fees
- Travel expenses
- Posting fees
- Annual premiums
- Late file premiums
- Interest on financing
- Processing fees
While you won't encounter any hidden fees when dealing with us at Bail Bond Professionals, there is still a hefty bail you might have to pay!
Fee for a DUI Lawyer or Specialist
Even if you can pay bail, you will require an attorney. They generally charge higher amounts than a general practice attorney. If they believe the case is more severe than it seems, they will charge extra.
The charges of a lawyer range anywhere from $500 to $15,000. Not only will they be representing you in court, but also dealing with civil matters such as insurance companies and with victims (if any) or their families/legal representation.
An IID or Ignition Interlock Device may be required in some cases, but it isn't usually mandatory in Orange County. However, if you do have one installed, you can get back to driving sooner.
DUI Car Insurance Rates
After a DUI conviction, your car insurance rates will increase and remain high for a few years. But, California as a state has some of the highest jumps. On average, the annual insurance rate jumps by around $2,000.
So, in total, you'll be spending anywhere between $11,000 to 15,000 on a DUI conviction. If it's a second or third offense, your expenses will continue climbing.
How is Bail Set?
You're probably wondering how bail gets decided and whether it will be involved at all. Well, bail isn't required every time. In fact, first-time offenders may not have to post bail.
However, in the instance where it is required, the family can go through the court's bail schedule to check the amount. The amount itself is decided based on a few factors:
- The seriousness of the offense
- Injuries sustained by the victim(s) and their severity
- If the offender made any threats toward the victim
- If there were any drugs involved
- If the court believes the offender is a threat to the public
- If the offender is employed or has connections
- Whether there is a criminal history or repeat offense
- The likelihood of the offender appearing for all the set appearances
It should be noted that for simple DUI offenses, offenders are usually allowed to leave without posting bail. However, if bail needs to be posted, you can get a bail bond agent from Bail Bond Professionals to post it for you.
The arresting officer can ask your bail to be set higher or lower, but you will face prosecution. During the arraignment, the judge will either modify the bail amount or continue with it as seen on the schedule.
Once you're out on bail, there will be a few conditions set. The most common include:
- SCRAM bracelets to monitor alcohol levels in your blood
- You can't leave the state until the case’s conclusion
- You can't drink and drive with any amount of alcohol in your system
- You have to appear for all scheduled court appearances; if you don't, it's a further offense
Why Bail Bond Professionals?
While there are multiple ways of posting your bail, the most popular is through bonds. Many people opt to go through a professional agency. We at Bail Bond Professionals can make the entire process more convenient or help out when you can’t pay for bail upfront.
However, there are a few other reasons; Bail Bond Professionals should be your first choice.
- We have experienced and professional agents who are available 24/7 to post bail and handle the matter for you.
- Whatever time of day or year you call us, we're happy to answer all your questions and provide the easiest way out.
- Not only will all your questions and doubts be answered, but you'll have peace of mind knowing that true professionals are handling the matter.
- We charge no more than the basic 10% of the bond amount, unlike any other bail bond agency. We're interested solely in your well-being.
- If you need us to, we will assist you through the entire process and go above and beyond to make sure your bail gets posted and you get out quickly.
- We have been in the business for over 18 years and have written enough bonds to do it well.
- We have solid references from our clients, courts, clerks, police, and more to verify our reputation of being the very best.
- Bail bonds, especially for DUIs, can get complex in Orange County. With the experience of Bail Bond Professionals, you don't have to worry about the process or anything else going wrong.
When it comes down to it, Bail Bond Professionals is there to help you through thick and thin.