DUI Arrest: Will I Go To Jail?

A DUI arrest can be a traumatic experience. But even after the arrest, you are left to agonize over whether you will end up doing time in the Orange County jail when your case is resolved. Whether you do end up serving jail time or not will depend on many factors. These factors include: any prior DUI convictions; any aggravating factors such as excessive speed, a very high blood-alcohol level, a child in the car, an accident, hit and run, resisting the police.

DUI Punishment In Orange County

A first-offense DUI with no prior DUI convictions is punishable by up to six months in the Orange County jail. However, if there are none of the aggravating factors listed above, the DA or the judge will likely offer you or your DUI lawyer a “no jail” deal. However, if there are one or more of the aggravating factors above, you may face mandatory jail time.

Moreover, if you have a prior DUI conviction within the past ten years, you also face mandatory jail time. A second offense DUI is punishable by up to one year in the Orange County jail. In Orange County, the typical offer for a second-offense DUI without any aggravating factors is 60-days in the Orange County jail. Some aggravating factors, such as a “speed enhancement”, require additional mandatory jail time. (60-days additional for speed enhancement)

A third-offense within ten years, with no aggravating factors, typically draws eight to ten months of jail time in Orange County. A fourth-offense is almost always charged as a felony and is punishable by up to three years in the state prison.

Possible defenses

The first thing your DUI attorney will do is evaluate your case for a possible defense. Some defenses include:

  1. Rising Defense

When you consume alcohol, your blood alcohol constantly changes as the alcohol moves from your stomach to your blood, and then eliminated. So, for example, if a driver has two shots of alcohol just before leaving the bar, and is pulled over right after leaving the bar, most of the alcohol is still in that driver’s stomach, and not in the blood. So if that driver takes a breath test 30-minutes after driving, that test will only tell us what the driver’s blood-alcohol content is 30 minutes after driving. Of course, by then, the alcohol has moved from the driver’s stomach to their blood. So, if the driver blows a 0.09% 30 minutes after driving, it is likely that their blood-alcohol level was well below that at the time of driving. This is called the rising defense because the blood-alcohol level was rising during the arrest procedure.

2. No drive

The DA must prove that you were driving the car. In some cases, the police arrive long after the driving occurred and the police never witnessed any driving. If the DA doesn’t have enough evidence to prove driving, this can be fatal to the DA’s case.

3. Improper Breath Testing

The law requires a police officer to observer someone for 15 minutes before they take a breath test to ensure that the person does not burp. A burp can bring alcohol form the stomach to the mouth and produce a false high reading on the breath test. Many police officers simply ignore this 15-minute observation period. A skilled DUI lawyer will review the video in the case to see if the officer actually performed this observation period.

Alternatives To Jail

If it looks like “jail time” is unavoidable in your case, an experienced DUI attorney will be familiar with what alternatives to jail are available. This is why it is so important to find a DUI lawyer who works every day with the judge who is handling your DUI case. Depending on the case, some alternatives include

  1. Home Confinement

This is, by far, the best alternative to jail time. If your DUI lawyer can get you this, you will wear a GPS bracelet and, for the term of your “jail sentence” be confined to your home. Moreover, you can also go to work and to the mandatory DUI alcohol program while serving home confinement. This is sometimes available for a second-offense DUI and almost never available for a third-offense DUI.

2. Private Jail

Some judges will allow a defendant to serve their jail sentence in a private jail rather than the Orange County jail The difference is huge. In a private jail, you never fear for your personal safety, as you are jailed with non-violent offenders who can afford three grand a month for a private jail. Moreover, you are allowed to leave jail for 12-hours a day to go to work.

3. Caltrans/Physical Labor

In some cases, the court will allow you to serve your time by picking up trash on the side of the road. This can often be done on the weekends so as not to interfere with your work.

4. Residential Alcohol Treatment Program

Again, depending on the judge, your DUI attorney may be able to secure a deal where you serve your time in a residential alcohol treatment facility instead of a jail cell. This option also allows you to continue working.

5. DUI Court Program

This a a year-and-a-half long program where you receive treatment through the Orange County Health Department and are constantly monitored and tested by Probation. It is a program designed for those with a serious addiction and is extremely intensive. If you successfully complete it, all jail time is vacated.

Free Consultation With A DUI Attorney

At The Law Office of EJ Stopyro we offer a free, no-obligation telephonic consultation. Call us today at (949) 278-6353.