Recent statistics have shown that there are approximately 13,000 DUI arrests in Orange County alone, out of nearly 200,000 in the State of California. In some years, more than 90 percent of Orange County DUI arrests result in conviction.
A conviction of DUI carries severe and long lasting effects on a person’s life. An experienced DUI defense attorney can help to minimize the consequences of being arrested and charged with driving under the influence.
DUI, or driving under the influence, charges are typically charged as misdemeanors. However, some DUI’s can be charged as felonies. A DUI that is charged as a Felony DUI, usually involves DUI manslaughter; DUI causing serious injury; 3rd DUI conviction within 10 years; and 4th DUI conviction at any time. Drunk drivers who cause injury, or DUI with injury is sometimes referred to as a “wobbler” charge, which means that it can be charged as either a felony or misdemeanor. However, prosecutors typically pursue the charge that carries the most punishment. An experienced criminal defense attorney, or DUI defense attorney, will have the knowledge and experience to determine the likelihood of getting the felony reduced to a misdemeanor. A conviction of felony DUI carries a much more serious punishment than a misdemeanor DUI. A misdemeanor first offense DUI can be punishable by up to six months in the county jail, whereas a felony DUI can carry a year or more in state prison sentence.
Most individuals arrested for DUI or Drunk Driving are employed and have families that depend on them. If convicted of Driving Under the Influence and sentenced to serve time in jail, this can be an enormous burden on one’s family and can jeopardize the job that provides the income for the family. For this reason, alternative sentencing is something that should be considered.
If you have been convicted of a DUI in Orange County, there are options for alternative sentencing. Some of these include:
Community Service: An experienced DUI attorney in Orange County should attempt to work with the DA and the Judge to lower the charges in exchange for doing community service.
CalTrans Work Program: The CalTrans Work Program is another option, generally set as a condition of probation. The CalTrans Work Program involves cleaning up litter along the roadways, clearing brush and cleaning graffiti where needed.
Sober Living Programs: As an alternative to jail, a good DUI Attorney will suggest a sober living program rather than jail. These programs provide housing, alcohol and drug counseling, education and employment assistance.
House Arrest with Electronic Monitoring: House arrest or home confinement allows an individual to continue their regular activities, such as going to work, attending school and caring for children or other family members.
Private Jail or Work Furlough: There are a few private jails in Orange County that often allow work furlough privileges and are a nicer alternative to county jail. These facilities can be expensive but much less disruptive to one’s life.
Anyone who has been arrested for driving under the influence should immediately consult with an attorney to make sure that they receive the best possible outcome.