In several ways, driving under the influence is different from any other crime in our legal system. More than 172,000 drivers were arrested for DUI in California in 2012. It’s the most frequently-charged crime in California and throughout the United States. It’s also a crime that thousands – in fact probably millions – have committed and “gotten away with” at some point in their lives. Politicians rarely promise to get “tough” on embezzlement or forgery, but they can get elected by promising to get tough on drunk drivers. Police departments set up DUI checkpoints and create DWI “task forces.” High-tech companies even sell commercial breathalyzers so that drivers can measure their own blood alcohol content levels before driving.
DUI is also unique in a more precise legal and constitutional (some would say unconstitutional) way. In a typical DWI arrest, the arresting officer will confiscate your driver’s license and give you an Order of Suspension. The only way to keep your driver’s license from being suspended after a DUI arrest is to request a hearing – separate from any hearings related to the DWI charge itself – before California’s Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV). If you don’t request a DMV hearing within ten days of your arrest, your license will be automatically suspended. In other words, a DUI arrest launches two different proceedings: a criminal proceeding on the actual DWI charge, and an administrative proceeding regarding your driver’s license. Even though you only drove once, you’re being prosecuted twice. No other crime is treated in this manner.
If you are charged with DWI in Orange County, you are going to need the experienced counsel of an Orange County DUI lawyer who can fight for justice on your behalf. Do not plead guilty, and do not try to act as your own attorney. Instead, call an experienced Orange County DWI lawyer as quickly as possible, and get the trustworthy legal representation that you are very much going to need.