Irvine DUI Attorney

Law Offices of Frances Prizzia
Irvine DUI Attorney

There are a lot of misconceptions about DUI. Many erroneously think that it is an administrative matter handled by the DMV when it is a crime with penalties that can include jail time and fines. It is a serious offense that can follow you for the rest of your life.

Southern California law enforcement takes drunk driving charges very seriously. Prosecutors are quick to push for the maximum penalty for DUI cases, and often judges are more than happy to comply. This leaves the defendant with a DUI on his record, which can limit certain job prospects, not to mention the immediate damage it does.

An experienced Irvine DUI attorney is absolutely essential to minimize DUI penalties for the defendant and help lessen the impact that a DUI charge can have on their future.

At The Law Offices of Frances Prizzia, we understand what a DUI can do to you. We will examine the specific details of your arrest and the events that led to it and craft a strong defense strategy. If you are facing a DUI conviction, don’t face it alone. We’re here to help.

Why You Need an Experienced Irvine DUI Lawyer To Defend Your Case

Why you need an experienced Irvine DUI lawyer

Choosing a DUI defense firm is no easy task. Still, when looking for experience, knowledge, skill, professionalism, and integrity, the clear choice is The Law Offices of Frances Prizzia. We will be by your side throughout the process and won’t stop until we have achieved the best possible outcome for your case.

DUI lawyers are a dime a dozen in Southern California, but you don’t want just any attorney defending your case. You want a DUI firm that will go to bat for you and fight for you from start to finish.

That’s what you get with us - and more.

A. Initial Consultation and Case Evaluation - At your free initial consultation, a legal team member will analyze your case and discuss the next steps with you so that you fully understand your options. When you choose us, we’ll work on crafting a solid defense strategy for your case.

B. Investigation and Gathering of Evidence - We will investigate your case and gather evidence to support your defense. This can mean talking to witnesses, pulling police reports, reviewing cell and text records, and more.

C. Negotiation With Insurance Companies - As your legal representation on record, we will work with the insurance companies to determine the best possible settlement for you.

D. Filing a Lawsuit, if Necessary - If there are issues with your DUI, such as wrongful arrest, we can file a lawsuit for you so that you can get the justice you deserve.

E. Settlement Negotiations or Trial - If you do file a lawsuit, you may find yourself in settlement negotiations. We can handle them to help you get the best possible amount. If you go to trial to defend yourself, we’re there for you then too. We will stand by you and fight for you.

Understanding DUI in California

A person is legally drunk if their blood alcohol content (BAC) is 0.08% or higher. If the person is on DUI probation or if they have a CDL, they can get a DUI with a BAC of just 0.04%. But a DUI does not only pertain to alcohol.

In California, a person is driving under the influence if they have any drugs in their system, legal or illegal, that affects their muscles, brain, or nervous system. This can include prescription painkillers like Percocet as well as heroin or other street drugs.

Furthermore, many people believe that just because marijuana use is legal as long as it is for recreational and medical purposes in California, then it’s OK to drive while using it. It is most definitely not OK. California Vehicle Code section 23152(e) clearly states that driving a vehicle while under the influence of marijuana is against the law.

Irvine, CA DUI Statistics

There is no argument that a person who is driving while under the influence has a greater chance of getting into an accident than someone who is not impaired. In 2022, there were 1,069 fatalities resulting from traffic collisions on California roadways. Of that number, 30% were DUI related.

Penalties for DUI Charges in California

Penalties for DUI charges

Most DUIs are classified as misdemeanors in California. However, they can be classified as felonies if:

  • A person sustained injuries;
  • The driver has a past felony DUI conviction; and
  • The driver has three or more prior wet reckless or DUI convictions that occurred within the past ten years.

First DUI Conviction in CA

  • Misdemeanor.
  • The maximum punishment can be a county jail sentence of up to 6 months and/or a fine from $390 to $1,000.
  • License suspension for six months. However, the driver may be eligible for their vehicle's ignition interlock device (IID). It is not mandatory but could allow them to get a restricted license after 30 days for the remaining five months.
  • Must attend DUI school for either three or nine months.

Second DUI Conviction in CA

  • Misdemeanor.
  • Ninety-six (96) hours to one year in the county jail and/or a fine from $390 to $1,000.
  • License suspension for two years. However, the driver may be eligible for the ignition interlock device (IID) on their vehicle, which is not mandatory but could allow them to get a restricted license after one year for the remaining year.
  • Must attend DUI school for either eighteen or thirty months.

Third DUI Conviction in CA

  • Misdemeanor.
  • One hundred twenty (120) days to one year in the county jail and/or a fine from $390 to $1,000.
  • License suspension for three years. However, the driver may be eligible for the ignition interlock device (IID) on their vehicle, which is not mandatory but could allow them to get a restricted license after two years for the remaining year.
  • Must attend DUI school for thirty months.

DUI Offense With Injury

  • Misdemeanor or felony (wobbler offense).
  • Five (5) days to one year in the county jail and/or a fine from $390 to $5,000.
  • License suspension for one year. However, the driver may be eligible for the ignition interlock device (IID) on their vehicle, which is not mandatory but could allow them to get a restricted license after six months for the remaining six months.
  • Must attend DUI school for three, eighteen, or thirty months.

Felony DUI

  • Felony.
  • Sixteen (16) months to two years or three years in the state prison and/or a fine from $390 to $1,000.
  • License suspension for up to five years and not eligible for the ignition interlock device (IID) on their vehicle.
  • Must attend DUI school for eighteen or thirty months.

What Happens After a DUI Arrest in Irvine 

Once you have been pulled over for speeding or reckless driving, or you are stopped at a DUI checkpoint, and the officer suspects you are impaired by either drugs or alcohol, there is a fairly standard process that follows. The officer may ask you to do a field sobriety test or conduct a breath test. If you comply and fail, the officer will read you your Miranda rights. If you refuse to take the tests, you will likely be taken into custody and forced to take a blood or breath test. Your license could be suspended, and you could incur additional jail time.

Once the test shows you are legally drunk (BAC over 0.08% or drugs in your system), the officer will confiscate your license and provide you a Notice of Suspension form.

You will be formally charged with DUI.

What You Need To Do After a DUI Arrest

What you need to do after a DUI arrest

If you’ve gotten an Irvine DUI, the very first thing you need to do is ask for your DUI attorney. Make sure it’s one of the DUI lawyers in Orange County because other attorneys who don’t have experience with DUI charges are not likely to be able to defend you properly.

Don’t resist arrest, and don’t try to talk your way out of it. Just be quiet and ask for your lawyer. Anything you say can be used against you in court – and it will be.

Make sure that you schedule your administrative hearing within ten days of the date you were arrested. If you don’t do this, you will no longer have the right to a hearing that would essentially set aside your license suspension.

Irvine, CA DUI Statute of Limitation

The statute of limitations is the amount of time that the prosecutor has to file criminal charges against the defendant. If they do not file within that time period, they may be ineligible to file them. The statute of limitations for DUI can be very complex. Many issues can affect it.

Most misdemeanor DUI offenses have a statute of limitations of one year from the date of the incident. This also applies to second and third DUI charges. A fourth DUI within ten years has a three-year statute of limitations because it is a felony.

A driver who has a charge for DUI causing injury could have a longer statute of limitations depending on if it is classified as a misdemeanor or felony.

Possible Defenses for a DUI Charge in California

Posible defense for a DUI charges

There are many different defenses that your DUI attorney can use to fight an Irvine DUI charge. Some of the most common include:

  • You weren’t intoxicated.
  • The arresting officer did not follow the appropriate protocol.
  • Your driving was not impaired.
  • The equipment (breathalyzer) was not working properly.

A seasoned DUI defense attorney will assist you in finding the best strategy for beating your drunk driving charge.

Challenging the Circumstances of Your Arrest

Officers of the Irvine Police Department (or any police department) are required to follow specific protocols when arresting a suspect. There are certain steps that they must take, which include reading you your rights when you are arrested (informing you that you have the right to not talk and you have the right to an attorney). When this protocol is not followed correctly, it can benefit your case.

Disputing the Accuracy of Breathalyzer Results and Field Sobriety Tests

Breathalyzer equipment can fail or give false positives if it is improperly maintained. Field sobriety tests have long been criticized for not being reliable. Your criminal defense attorney may use this defense strategy if it serves your case.

Work With Our DUI Attorneys at The Law Offices of Frances Prizzia in Irvine, CA | Call Us Today!

Work with our DUI attorneys at The Law Offices of Frances Prizzia

If you have been arrested for a DUI in Orange County or the surrounding area, don’t wait to see what happens. Call The Law Offices of Frances Prizzia today. Our Irvine DUI attorney has a solid criminal and DUI defense legal team with a stellar track record and many happy clients to prove it.

We handle DUI arrests, domestic violence, drug offenses, and more, so call us today to handle your DUI case. We’ll aggressively protect your rights and work tirelessly to get you the best possible outcome for your case.

Search Our Site
Our Newport Beach
5000 Birch Street, Suite 3000
Newport Beach, CA 92660

Why Choose
Frances Prizzia Criminal Defense Lawyers


Client Centered Approach

Our clients are our priority, we listen & have your best interests in mind. Our philosophy is that crime is simply a symptom of a bigger issue that should be addressed.

Reputation by Excellence

"Top 100 Trial Lawyers" by the National Trial Lawyers and Clients' Choice by Avvo.


Over 17+ Years of Criminal Defense Experience on your side.

Innovative & Determined

We think outside the box and never leave a stone unturned.

You're Not Just Another Client

You're in a difficult situation that requires attention. Our boutique legal team walks you through the legal process so you don't feel lost.


We are available 24/7 for emergencies & offer free confidential consultations.
fill out the form
Request Your Free
Confidential Consultation

"*" indicates required fields

Full Name*
Required Fields *
This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.