Huntington Beach DUI Attorneys

For many people charged with a DUI in Huntington Beach, California, it will be their first time inside of a courtroom.  Without the guidance of a seasoned DUI attorney, the experience can be overwhelming.

After you are stopped, you will be tested, arrested, and subjected to various intimidating actions as you are processed by California’s criminal justice system.

The penalties for a conviction can be severe and you may have to live with the resulting criminal record for life. Your best chance of avoiding these consequences is to seek the assistance of an attorney who is experienced in defending against DUIs in Huntington Beach.

At The Law Offices of Bryan R. Kazarian, we will start with a thorough analysis of the DUI case against you to aggressively defend against the long-term impact on your future. 

As experienced Huntington Beach DUI attorneys, we are ready to defend you or a loved one against a DUI charge even if it means taking your case to trial.

What happens after a DUI arrest in Huntington Beach?

From the moment of your arrest by the Huntington Beach Police Department, you will be treated like a criminal.

It is important to be respectful to the arresting officers while also not making any incriminating statements that will help their investigation. Remaining silent whenever possible is the best course of action.

After questioning, you will be asked to perform a series of field sobriety tests (FSTs) and to perform a preliminary alcohol screening (PAS) test.  Both tests are voluntary and are used by the police officer to further gain evidence against you.  As these tests are voluntary, it is recommended that you respectfully decline both.  However, while a preliminary alcohol screening test is prior to arrest and voluntary, a chemical test (breath or blood) after arrest is not voluntary and you must comply.  Failure to comply will result in additional punishments as discussed below.

Chemical tests after your arrest

Subsequent to being arrested, you are required to take a chemical test (breath or blood) to determine your blood alcohol concentration (BAC) level.  This test will be performed at the Huntington Beach Police Department, a local hospital, or local jail.  The police will escort you to the appropriate location.

If you are over the age of 21 and register a BAC of 0.08% or higher, you will be subject to an automatic charge under California’s Vehicle Code 23152(b). Commercial drivers and drivers under the age of 21 are subject to lower BAC thresholds.

Submitting to a breath test may lead to a mandatory blood test if the officer has reasonable cause to believe that you were driving under the influence of a drug (or the combined influence of alcohol and drugs) and believes that a blood test will confirm that drugs are in your system.  

The blood sample will be sent to a lab for analysis and may take up to, or in excess of, 10 days for the results to be confirmed.

Failure to submit to a breath or blood test after an arrest on suspicion of a DUI will lead to a “refusal” allegation against you. This will result in an automatic license suspension by the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) for one year for a first DUI or two years for a second DUI.

Your release and the arrest report

Subsequent to being detained for a few hours after your DUI arrest and chemical test, you may be released with a written promise to appear in court on a certain date and time, depending on your criminal record and the circumstances of your arrest.

During your arrest, the Huntington Beach Police Department will complete the necessary criminal and DMV forms. They will then send these reports to the District Attorney or prosecutor’s office and to the DMV. 

From there, they will decide whether to file an official complaint against you in the criminal courts at the West Justice Center.

Driver’s license confiscation

The Huntington Beach Police Department will confiscate your driver’s license after your DUI arrest. You will, however, receive a DS 367 form that will act as a temporary driver’s license for 30 days from the date of issue.  

After the thirtieth day, the DMV will suspend your license for four months unless you successfully contest the suspension. To contest the suspension, you will need to call the DMV within 10 days of your arrest to schedule a DMV Administrative Per Se hearing, after which your temporary license will be valid until the outcome of the DMV hearing.

Arraignment at the West Justice Center

The arraignment hearing is where the court advises you of your Constitutional Rights and the charges filed against you. You will be required to enter a plea of guilty, not guilty or no contest. No contest means that you do not contest the charges against you but has the exact same effect as an admission of guilt for the purposes of a criminal case.

Entering a plea of not guilty will result in a pre-trial date being set. If you enter a guilty plea, the judge will set a sentencing hearing date.

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During the consultation, we will help you understand your rights and the charges against you.

Penalties for a DUI conviction in Huntington Beach

Although two drivers can be arrested at the same checkpoint in Huntington Beach and register the same BAC level, they may face different penalties.

Though no DUI is treated lightly, the judge is more likely to apply some leniency if it is your first offense. Repeat offenders and offenders involved in accidents where someone was killed or injured are likely to receive harsher punishments and face jail time. 

A DUI conviction in Huntington Beach could lead to the following penalties:

First DUI

  • Up to six months in jail
  • A fine of $390 to $1,000 plus penalty assessments
  • A license suspension from 4 to 10 months
  • Installation of an IID (Ignition Interlock Device)
  • 3, 6, or 9-month DUI program

Second DUI

  • 96 hours to one year in jail
  • A fine of $390 to $1,000 plus penalty assessments
  • A license suspension for one year
  • Installation of an IID (Ignition Interlock Device)
  • 18 or 30-month DUI program

Third DUI

  • 120 days to one year in jail
  • A fine of $390 to $1,000 plus penalty assessments
  • A license suspension of up to three years
  • Habitual Offender designation by the court
  • Installation of an IID (Ignition Interlock Device)
  • 18 or 30-month DUI program

An experienced Huntington Beach DUI lawyer will provide you the best possible chance of receiving the minimum possible consequences and penalties being applied to your case.

Does a DUI stay on your record indefinitely?

If you are convicted of a DUI in Huntington Beach, the misdemeanor or felony conviction will remain on your criminal record indefinitely unless it is expunged.  

A criminal record can result in long-term consequences for future employment, rental and loan opportunities, immigration status, and even child custody status.

However, if all sentencing requirements were fulfilled and all fines and fees paid, you may qualify for an expungement. A felony conviction may also qualify for a reduction to a misdemeanor and subsequent expungement.  

Defenses for DUI

The quality of your defense is often the difference between a conviction, case dismissal, a reduced sentence, or acquittal at trial.

After reviewing the details of your case, an experienced DUI lawyer like those at The Law Offices of Bryan R. Kazarian may base your defense on one or more of the following common defenses:

  • Unlawful traffic stop (no reasonable suspicion)
  • Unlawful arrest (no probable cause)
  • The field sobriety test was improperly performed
  • You were not read your legal rights before interrogation
  • A technical error led to a false result in a blood or breath test
  • The high BAC reading was due to a substance other than alcohol (e.g., medicine or mouthwash) 
  • Tiredness or a medical condition caused the observational signs of intoxication
  • You were not the driver of the vehicle
  • The rising blood alcohol defense, i.e., at the time of driving your BAC was below .08% but rose above that level when tested
  • The police did not follow Title 17 of the California Code of Regulations (for collecting, storing, and analyzing the evidence used for the chemical tests)

Even if the evidence against you seems overwhelming, you have a chance of escaping the most serious consequences with a seasoned DUI attorney on your side.

Have you been charged with a DUI in Huntington Beach?

Our lawyers are available to help 24/7

A DUI may be an honest and isolated mistake but it is a dangerous mistake that can greatly affect your future.

The DUI lawyers at The Law Offices of Bryan R. Kazarian believe that you should not pay a long-term penalty for a short-term mistake on the roads of Huntington Beach.

Our team will help you understand your options, navigate the legal processes, and guide you towards the best possible outcome for your future.

If you or a loved one has been charged with a DUI in Huntington Beach, start with an initial online consultation to discuss your case and discover your legal options. 

We have offices in Santa Ana, Westminster, Newport Beach and Fullerton to serve clients with matters heard at the Central, West, Harbor, and North Justice Centers, respectively, for all of Orange County.  The lawyers at The Law Offices of Bryan R. Kazarian are available 24/7 to help!  Book an online consultation to get started today.
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