Orange County DUI Attorney

Orange County DUI Attorney

Drunk driving is a serious offense that can significantly impact your life. You could lose your driving privileges, end up with a license suspension, must pay hefty fines, and even serve some jail time. Additionally, you may be required to undergo drug or alcohol treatment and counseling.

Getting a DUI in Orange County can lead to an arrest. You could be facing criminal convictions for your DUI charges, especially if you had an accident and there were injuries to passengers in your vehicle or another vehicle – or if there was property damage.

If you have been arrested for a DUI, you need an experienced Orange County DUI Attorney who can handle your DUI case and ensure that you have the best possible outcome.

That's where we come in.

Hire a Reliable Orange County DUI Lawyer Backed by Experience

Hire a reliable DUI lawyer backed by experience

At the Law Offices of Frances Prizzia, we know criminal law and are experienced in navigating the criminal justice system and DUI cases. When you come to us after a DUI arrest, you can rest assured that your case will receive the utmost care and attention.

We will assign you a DUI attorney to review your case with you and review your DUI charges. From there, they will work with you to construct a defense strategy that will be the most beneficial for the specifics of your case.

What You Need to Know About California DUI Laws

An Orange County DUI is a serious offense with harsh penalties. The Orange County courts are serious about these offenses because if you were indeed driving drunk, that is extremely dangerous. The thing is, police officers don't always get it right. There are false positives, the field sobriety test is not always accurate, and equipment can be faulty. This can lead to you getting criminal charges against you even though you did nothing illegal.

Still, guilty or not, a criminal DUI charge can cause you to lose your driving privileges, and your driver's license can be suspended or revoked. You could spend time in jail and be required to pay fines that you don't owe. The district attorney is only doing his job and "fighting crime," but you should not be punished if you aren't guilty.

Our Orange County DUI lawyers at the Law Offices of Frances Prizzia are committed to defending our clients and ensuring their rights are always protected. A win for you is a win for us, so we want you to have the best possible outcome for your case.

California DUI Penalties

DUI penalties

California law is very strict when it comes to drunk driving. Under California Vehicle Code § 23152 VC – "DUI of Alcohol," it is illegal for an individual to operate a vehicle if they are under the influence of alcohol, even if there is no evidence that shows their blood alcohol content (BAC) is at the legal limit or above.

If their BAC does register at the legal limit or higher, they will be charged with driving under the influence (part a) and driving with an excessive BAC (part b). Both of these DUI charges are under the DUI of alcohol law. The Orange County district attorney will do everything possible to ensure that the letter of the law is followed.

What this means to you is the possibility of license suspension, jail time, fines, and more. If you have any prior DUI convictions, your chances are good that you will be incarcerated. If you have no other DUI convictions, you do not spend time in jail.

You will have to attend a DMV hearing to determine if your driver's license will be suspended and, if so, for how long. The court system does not handle license suspensions. The DMV does that.

It is also important to note that although most California DUI cases are misdemeanors, they can become felony charges for these several reasons:

  • There was an injury.
  • The defendant has a prior felony DUI conviction.
  • The defendant has had three or more DUI convictions or wet reckless convictions within the previous ten years.

1st DUI Offense

A first-offense DUI is a misdemeanor offense in California. However, a misdemeanor DUI does not mean you have no penalties.

  • Maximum of 6 months in the county jail;
  • Minimum $390 to a maximum of $1,000 fine;
  • Either 6 months with an ignition interlock device (IID) or 4 months of driver's license suspension; and
  • 3- or 9-month DUI school.

2nd DUI Offense

A second offense DUI is a misdemeanor offense in California. The penalties are higher, though.

  • Minimum of 96 hours to one year in the county jail;
  • Minimum of $390 to a maximum of $1,000 fine;
  • Either one year with an IID or two years driver's license suspension; and
  • 18- or 30-month DUI school.

3rd DUI Offense

A third offense DUI is a misdemeanor offense in California. The penalties are much more serious for lesser DUI offenses.

  • Minimum of 120 days to 1 year in the county jail;
  • Minimum of $390 to a maximum of $1,000 fine;
  • Either 2 years with an IID or 3 years driver's license suspension; and
  • 30 months of DUI school.

DUI Offense With Injury

A DUI with injury is a misdemeanor DUI conviction.

  • Minimum of 5 days to a maximum of 1 year in the county jail;
  • Minimum of $390 to a maximum of $1,000 fine;
  • Restitution to the injured parties;
  • Either 6 months IID or 1-year driver's license suspension; and
  • 3-, 18-, or 30-months DUI school.

A first-offense DUI with an injury classified as a felony includes prison time and stiffer penalties.

  • Minimum of 16 months to a maximum of 16 years in California state prison;
  • Minimum of $1,015 to a maximum of $5,000 fine;
  • Restitution to the injured parties;
  • 1-year IID; and
  • 18- or 30-month DUI school.

Felony DUI

A misdemeanor DUI becomes a felony DUI conviction in certain situations. When that happens, there are serious consequences.

  • Minimum of 16 months to a maximum of 3 years in the California state prison;
  • Minimum of $390 to a maximum of $1,000 fine;
  • Maximum of 5 years driver's license suspension; and
  • 18- or 30-month DUI school.

Aggravating Factors for Orange County DUI Charges

Certain circumstances and factors that are present at the time of a DUI arrest may present as "aggravating factors." The penalties increase when the following factors are present, even if it is a first-offense DUI.

  • BAC or 0.15% or higher.
  • Refusal to submit to a chemical test also has a license suspension penalty.
    • First refusal – 1 year
    • Second refusal – 2 years
    • Third refusal – 3 years
  • The defendant caused an accident.
  • The defendant had a child younger than 14 in the care with them when they were stopped for the DUI (can also incur a child endangerment charge).
  • The defendant was younger than 21 when they were arrested for DUI.
  • The defendant was driving with an open container (even if not theirs).

Our OC DUI attorneys will work hard to get the best possible outcome for your case.

A Bodily Injury Suffered by Anyone Other Than the Defendant in a DUI Accident

A DUI conviction where someone other than the defendant was injured has different penalties based on if it is classified as a misdemeanor or a felony.

  • Misdemeanor DUI with injury.
    • Minimum of 5 days to 1 year in the county jail.
    • Minimum of $390 to a maximum of $5,000 fines.
    • Restitution to injured parties.
    • Minimum of 3 years to a maximum of 5 years of summary probation.
    • Either 6 months IID (mandatory) to drive without restrictions or a 1-year driver's license suspension.
    • 3-, 18-, or 30-month DUI school.
  • Felony DUI with injury.
    • Minimum of 16 months to 10 years in the county jail.
    • Minimum of $1,015 to a maximum of $5,000 fines.
    • Restitution to injured parties.
    • Possible strike on the defendant's record (CA Three Strikes Law)
    • Habitual Traffic Offender (HTO) status for 3 years.
    • Either 2 or 3 years IID (mandatory) to drive without restrictions or driver's license suspension.
    • 18- or 30-month DUI school.

Blood Alcohol Content (BAC) Reading 0.15% Or Higher

Blood alcohol content

A high BAC is subject to enhanced or harsher penalties than a standard DUI. This can mean:

  • Increased jail time;
  • The DMV may impose a longer driver's license suspension;
  • Mandatory IID installation in the vehicles that the defendant drives; and
  • Additional DUI classes.

Child Aged 14 or Younger in the Vehicle During DUI

If you get a DUI and have a child in the car who is younger than 14, you may face more severe penalties than usual.

  • First offense DUI – Mandatory additional 48 hours in jail.
  • Second offense DUI – Mandatory additional 10 days in jail.
  • Third offense DUI – Mandatory additional 30 days in jail.
  • Fourth offense DUI – Mandatory additional 90 days in jail.

Possible DUI Defenses in California

Posible DUI defenses

A skilled DUI lawyer will develop a defense strategy on a case-by-case basis. Sometimes there is enough evidence or lack of evidence on the prosecution's side to get a DUI criminal case dismissed. If you want to increase your chances of a not guilty verdict, then you need a good defense lawyer.

Look for an experienced DUI defense attorney with a proven track record of successfully defending DUI cases. They will review the report by the arresting law enforcement officer, hospital records, witness statements, and other evidence to find the best way to defend your case.

They can help you avoid a license suspension. But you will only have your best chance at a favorable outcome for your case if you hire the best DUI lawyer.

There are many defenses your legal team can use. Here are a few.


Many health conditions can mimic the appearance of intoxication, especially when it comes to field sobriety tests. Medical conditions or dietary conditions related to ketosis, diabetes, neurological issues, acid reflux, gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), migraine, and low blood sugar can all make someone look drunk even if they are completely sober.

Affirmative Defenses

Affirmitive defenses

Sometimes affirmative defenses may be used and can successfully acquit the defendant. Some common affirmative defenses for DUI are a necessity, entrapment, and comparative negligence.


Mistakes made using the breathalyzer or DUI blood tests are common DUI defenses. The equipment may be faulty, or the operator may not have been adequately trained, resulting in a false positive. There may be errors in field sobriety testing.

False Identity

False identity

The defendant may not have been the person operating the vehicle, or they may have been in the car but not operating it.

Corrupted Evidence

Many issues can arise here. The officer may not have a legal justification for the traffic stop. Police misconduct, failure to read the defendant's Miranda rights, and illegal sobriety checkpoints can all be valid defenses.

How Our Orange County DUI Attorneys at the Law Offices of Frances Prizzia Can Help

If you have a DUI criminal case, you want the best Orange County DUI attorneys you can get. We deal with Orange County DUI charges and arrests daily and have the skills, training, and experience to help you get the best possible outcome for your DUI case.

As the Law Offices of Frances Prizzia, we are committed to taking care of our clients and treating them with compassion but representing them aggressively and using every legal tool available to provide a solid defense.

This is your life and your future. Put it in our capable hands.

Book Your Free Initial Consultation With Our Experienced Orange County DUI Attorney

Initial consultation with our experienced DUI attorney

Call us if you are looking for a law firm in the Southern California and San Diego county areas. Other attorneys may talk a good game, but at the end of the day, performance and a solid track record are what counts. We are one of the area's top Orange County DUI defense firms.

We're here for you if you need help with your Orange County DUI. Call us today and schedule your free consultation with our experienced Orange County DUI Attorney. You owe it to yourself and your family to get the best representation possible. We're here for you, and we'll fight for you.

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.
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