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DUI Defense

Orange County DUI Attorney

Aggressive Defense Strategies for Drunk Driving Charges in California

Over 100,000 people are arrested for impaired driving offenses every year throughout California. Although driving under the influence (DUI) is a common crime, it poses a serious public safety risk. State prosecutors take these charges very seriously and often pursue the harshest penalties available under the law. A DUI conviction can result in multiple penalties, including time in jail, yet the costs for a drunk driving conviction can extend far beyond your criminal record and affect you for the rest of your life. You may encounter obstacles finding a job, securing affordable housing, enrolling in college, or obtaining the professional licenses you need to progress in your career.

If you are charged with a DUI, it is crucial to remember that you don’t have to face a DUI alone. However scary this situation may be, you should never plead guilty to such charges without first consulting with an experienced Orange County DUI lawyer.

Learn more about DUI charges below, then contact The Law Office of Jacqueline Goodman to get started on your defense.


For more than two decades, Attorney Goodman has successfully represented clients accused of various crimes throughout California, and she has earned a distinguished reputation among the national legal community. She is passionate about protecting her clients’ rights, helping them effectively navigate the criminal justice system, and fiercely advocating for them during every stage of their case. Regardless of the specific charges filed against you or the strength of the prosecution’s case, you can count on her for comprehensive, dedicated legal representation.

  • Rated 10.0 Superb on AVVO
  • 20+ Years of Criminal Law Experience
  • Founding President of the North Orange County Bar Association
  • Board of Directors of the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyer
  • A member of National College of DUI Defense since 2010
  • Proven Track Record
  • national association of criminal defense lawyers
  • California Association of Criminal Defense Attorneys
  • AVVO
  • Top Lawyer by The Global Directory of Who’s Who
  • 2012 Client’s Choice Award on Avvo for Criminal Defense
  • Super Lawyers
  • Distinguished* peer-review rating through Martindale-Hubbell


A typical DUI case involves the following stages:

  • Arrest. If a law enforcement officer suspects that you are driving under the influence, they pull you over and ask you to perform a set of field sobriety tests. Based on their observations, they may release you or arrest you for a DUI offense. If you are arrested, you will be taken to a local police station, jail, or hospital to undergo chemical BAC testing that determines your level of intoxication.
  • Booking. If the test shows you were driving with a BAC over the legal limit, the police will book you, file a report of the alleged crime, and submit it to the local prosecutor for review. The officer will inform you that your driver’s license will be suspended for 30 days, confiscate your license, and provide a temporary license that remains valid until the suspension goes into effect. Most people are released within a few hours after their arrest, particularly for first offenses. If bail is recommended, it will be set with the understanding that you will appear at all future court proceedings.
  • DMV hearing. You must schedule an administrative hearing with the DMV within 10 days after your arrest. This is your chance to challenge the automatic suspension of your driver’s license, which takes place before you make your initial court appearance. The DMV will examine the officer’s report and your BAC test results to determine whether to suspend your license. If they suspend your license, they will set a suspension period based on your prior criminal record for DUI convictions and whether you refused or failed to complete BAC testing.
  • Arraignment. Regardless of whether you win or lose the DMV hearing, your case will proceed in the state criminal justice system. The arraignment is the first stage of this process and will be your first appearance in court. At the arraignment, you plead guilty, not guilty, or no contest to the charges filed against you. If you plead guilty, you enter the sentencing stage. If you plead not guilty, your case enters the pre-trial stage.
  • Pre-trial. During the pre-trial stage, your Orange County DUI attorney will investigate the details of your case to determine how to proceed. If they uncover substantial evidence in your favor, they can request the prosecutors to reduce or dismiss your charges. This typically involves filing pre-trial motions or plea bargaining. 
    • Pre-trial motions may include a probable cause motion to contest the validity of the traffic stop and/or arrest, a motion to suppress evidence that was illegally obtained, or a Pitchess motion to gather information about the arresting officer’s history with the goal of discrediting their report.
    • Plea bargaining refers to negotiating with the prosecutors to resolve the case without going to trial, such as reducing the charges.
      Many cases are settled at this point, but if your attorney cannot obtain a satisfactory resolution, the case moves to trial.
  • Trial. You appear before a judge or jury at trial, during which the prosecutor presents evidence against you, and your attorney presents evidence in your favor. To convict you, the judge or jury must be convinced of your guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. If you are found guilty or were convicted by a plea bargain, your case moves onto sentencing. From there, your punishment is determined.
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DUI Charges & Penalties in Orange County

Under California Vehicle Code, it is illegal to drive under the influence of alcohol and to drive with a BAC of 0.08% or greater. DUI offenses are “priorable,” meaning the court considers any prior DUI convictions on your criminal record within the past ten years to determine sentencing for the current offense. The penalties become harsher with every conviction.

Many DUI offenses are charged as misdemeanors, but a DUI can be charged as a felony. This could be the case if the current offense is your fourth or more conviction within this period, if you have previously been charged with a felony DUI, or if your actions injured someone else.

1st Offense DUI – Misdemeanor

  • 48 hours to six months in county jail
  • Fines up to $1,000 plus court fees and penalty assessments
  • License suspension for four to 10 months
  • Potential interlock ignition device (IID) installation for six months
  • Informal probation for three to five years
  • Court-approved DUI education program for three or nine months

2nd Offense DUI – Misdemeanor

  • 96 hours to one year in county jail
  • Fines up to $1,000 plus court fees and penalty assessments
  • License suspension for two years
  • Mandatory IID installation for one year
  • Informal probation for three to five years
  • Court-approved DUI education program for 18 or 30 months

3rd Offense DUI – Misdemeanor

  • 120 days to one year in county jail
  • Fines up to $1,000 plus court fees and penalty assessments
  • License suspension for three years
  • Mandatory IID installation for two years
  • Informal probation for three to five years
  • Court-approved DUI education program for 30 months
  • Designation as a “habitual traffic offender” by the DMV

4th Offense DUI – Felony

  • 16 months to three years in state prison
  • Fines up to $18,000 plus court fees and penalty assessments
  • License suspension for four years or permanent suspension
  • Mandatory IID installation for three years if eligible for restricted license
  • Court-approved DUI education program for three, 18 or 30 months
  • Designation as a “habitual traffic offender” by the DMV

Misdemeanor DUI With Injury

  • Five days to one year in county jail
  • Fines up to $5,000 plus court fees and penalty assessments
  • License suspension for one year
  • Mandatory IID installation for six months
  • Informal probation for three to five years
  • Court-approved DUI education program for three, 18, or 30 months
  • Restitution to all injured parties

Felony DUI With Injury

  • 16 months to four years in state prison
  • Restitution to all injured parties
  • Fines up to $5,000 plus court fees and penalty assessments
  • License suspension for five years
  • Mandatory IID installation for up to three years
  • Court-approved DUI education program for 18 or 30 months
  • Designation as a “habitual traffic offender” for three years
  • Additional and consecutive one to six years in state prison, depending on how many people were injured and the extent of their injuries

Aggravating Factors for DUI Charges

Certain facts and circumstances in your case can increase your sentence in county jail or state prison, regardless of whether this is your first, second, third, or subsequent charge. These aggravating factors include:

  • BAC of 0.15% or higher
  • Refusing to submit to a chemical BAC test
  • Reckless driving
  • Excessively speeding
  • Being under 21 years old
  • Driving drunk with a child under the age of 14 years old in the vehicle
  • Causing an accident in which another person is injured or killed
  • Resisting arrest

How We Fight dUI Charges in Orange County

In the wake of an arrest for suspicion of driving under the influence - DUI - do you know what steps to take next? Is it possible to avoid a conviction if the arrest was already made? What can you do to help your case?

These concerns are so common, in fact, that our legal team has devised a number of strategies for handling them. While there is always room for change given the nature and particularities of any given case, defendants can look to these general steps of application to better secure their chances of avoiding an ultimate conviction.

  • Review the methods of legal defense that might be applicable to your case: Believe it or not, there are several ways to combat a DUI charge, especially with the right defense attorney on your side. From involuntary intoxication to false arrests, to duress, any number of lines of defense can be drawn upon to defend a case in court.
  • Challenge the officer's intent for stopping you: Law enforcement officers must have a legitimate reason for pulling over an individual on suspicion of DUI; it's the law. If a reasonable basis for the traffic stop cannot be proven, then there is no substantial claim to the arrest that was made. For example, if an officer cannot confirm that you were stopped due to signs of intoxicated driving, such as weaving, there is no basis for the arrest that was made and the case will need to be dropped.
  • Question the reliability of field sobriety tests: Although it's not widely advertised by the law enforcement officers who execute them, field sobriety tests are far from reliable when it comes to producing an accurate reading of a person's level of intoxication. As such, an arrest that was made based upon any one of the three field sobriety tests was enforced should rightfully be questioned for the validity of the results that were yielded.
  • Contest the results of a breathalyzer test: While breathalyzer tests are knowingly more reliable than the field sobriety tests that are conducted to measure a person's sobriety, these machines are not without their own faults. In fact, unless they are utilized correctly and calibrated accurately, breathalyzers can yield inaccurate results as well. Expert testimony has confirmed that the breathalyzer test is both unreliable and unstable.
  • Fight the blood test results: In order to be considered an accurate reflection of an individual's blood-alcohol level, blood tests must be performed according to a very specific set of rules. If the procedures of a blood test were not followed to a tee, their results could be considered inadmissible in court. The same is true of results for a person who was taking prescription medication that contains alcohol, as well as individuals who've been using rubbing alcohol on their skin.
  • Enact a plea bargain: When a plea bargain is made, it effectively acts as an agreement between the defendant and the prosecutor in which the defendant pleads guilty to a lesser charge and the prosecutor agrees to forego trial. The sentence that is ultimately issued will reflect the terms that both parties have agreed to.

Any one of the steps mentioned above could mean the difference between being convicted or not. Accordingly, the most important thing that you can do for your case at this time is to secure a reputable criminal defense attorney for your representation. Working with an Orange County DUI lawyer from our firm could immensely enhance your ability at obtaining a lesser sentence, reduced charges, or a dropped case.


  • How Much Is a DUI in Orange County?

    A DUI conviction in Orange County carries a fine of $390 to $1,000, but this does not represent the total cost of a DUI. Other expenses include court fees, penalty assessments, fees for attending DUI education programs, driver’s license reinstatement fees, IID installation fees, fees for towing and impounding the vehicle, bail, and attorney’s fees. Additionally, car insurance rates typically double after a DUI and remain high for approximately three years. In total, a DUI conviction can cost $11,000 to $16,000.

  • Is Jail Time Mandatory for a DUI?

    All DUI charges in California carry the possibility of jail time, but judges often impose probation or other alternative sentencing penalties for first or second offenses. However, the potential for jail time increases for every conviction within a 10-year period, and third or subsequent DUI convictions nearly always involve minimum jail sentences. A jail or prison sentence becomes more likely in the presence of any aggravating factors listed above.

  • Do I Need a Lawyer for DUI in California?

    It is not required to hire a lawyer if you are charged with a DUI, but securing representation from an experienced criminal defense attorney is your best chance at achieving a favorable outcome in your case. An Orange County DUI lawyer can:

    • Explain your exact charges, how the law applies to your case, and the penalties you face
    • Advise you on the best course of action for your defense
    • Thoroughly investigate the facts of your alleged offense
    • Represent you at the DMV hearing to protect your driving privileges
    • Help you apply for a restricted license
    • Monitor the procedures of police officers and prosecutors to protect your rights
    • Challenge the prosecution’s evidence against you to have your case dismissed
    • Uncover exculpatory evidence to prove your innocence or mitigating evidence to minimize the penalties of a conviction
    • Negotiate with prosecutors to secure a plea deal for reduced charges
    • Explore alternative sentencing options to avoid jail or prison time
  • Can I Have a DUI Charge Dismissed in California?

    You may have legal grounds to file for a “motion to dismiss” with the court, which is a formal request made to a judge to consider setting aside the case rather than pursuing a conviction. This strategy can be implemented if your rights were violated at any point during their arrest or the preliminary hearing or if the arresting officers did not have probable cause to arrest you in the first place. However, if you face several charges, having a DUI dismissed does not prevent prosecutors from proceeding with the other charges.

  • What is the purpose of an administrative hearing, and can it help me?

    If you have received notice that your driver's license may be suspended or revoked, you should request an administrative hearing to fight for your driving privilege. A DMV hearing is your chance to prove that the suspension or revocation of your driver's license is not justified given your circumstances. It is wise to have the help of a skilled attorney by your side at the administrative hearing.

  • Is there any way I can get to and from work if my driver's license is suspended?

    If your driver's license is suspended by the DMV for a period of time, you have the option of applying for a restricted license that allows you to drive to and from work. This type of restricted license will not be addressed at the DMV hearing. You must apply for a restricted driver's license at a DMV field office.

  • How long can my driver's license be suspended if I took the chemical test?

    California DUI laws require you to submit to a chemical test to determine the amount of alcohol or drugs in your blood, and these tests include blood, breath and urine tests. If your blood alcohol content (BAC) shows up as .08% or higher and you are unsuccessful in fighting your DUI, your driver's license will be suspended for a minimum of four months. A second or subsequent DUI conviction within a 10-year time period will result in a one-year driver's license suspension.

    If you have been arrested for an underage DUI because your preliminary alcohol screening (PAS) test or chemical test revealed that your BAC was .01% or higher, you will lose your license for a year.

  • Do I have to tell my car insurance company about my DUI?

    If you have received a DUI conviction, there are two different ways that your car insurance carrier can find out about your DUI. The first way happens when your insurance runs a check on your DMV record, which generally happens when your policy is up for renewal or when you apply for new coverage. Any DUI convictions that are within the last 10 years will be visible.

    Secondly, your car insurance carrier can find out about your DUI when the California Department of Motor Vehicles requires you to obtain an SR-22, which is a certificate of insurance that signifies that you meet the state's minimum requirements for auto insurance liability coverage.


At The Law Offices of Jacqueline Goodman, defense against your DUI charges will be aggressively pursued by a defense attorney whose experience spans across nearly two decades of practice. For more than 18 years, we have been aggressively defending the wrongly accused, as well as those individuals whose punishments do not fit the nature of the offense for which they have been accused. We are here to put our defensive skills to work for you next, so call today.

When your future is threatened by DUI charges, you need expert legal representation to protect your rights and obtain the best results in your case. At The Law Offices of Jacqueline Goodman, our Orange County DUI lawyers have extensive experience defending clients accused of DUI offenses. We have the knowledge, resources, and trial-tested litigation skills to mount a formidable defense on your behalf and effectively guide you through every stage of the criminal justice system. Contact us today to discuss your case.

  • State Bar Certified Specialist
  • CA Criminal Trial Lawyer of the Year
  • Past President of CA Attorneys for Criminal Justice
  • National Co-Chair Sex Crimes Defense
  • National Chair of Decarceration

Contact Us Today

If you’re facing criminal charges in Orange County, Los Angeles, or throughout California. Call (714) 266-3945; For After-Hours, You Will Be Redirected To Her Cellphone

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