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“Richard was able to achieve an even better outcome for my case than what we initially thought was possible. I couldn't be more grateful to him for this than I currently am. I highly recommend hiring him.” J.P., Garden Grove

Driving Under the Influence (DUI) is one of the most prosecuted offenses in Orange County, California. Over the years, the police have been ramping up efforts to arrest people for DUI.

Law enforcement has increased patrols and set up more checkpoints.

A DUI arrest can result in criminal charges, a driver's license suspension, and various other unforeseen consequences. It is essential that anyone arrested for a drunk driving offense contact the best Orange County DUI attorney immediately.

The attorney should be dedicated to the field, knowledgeable, and experienced. Read Richard Wagner's profile

orange county dui attorney

To make sure you have the best chance of success, it is highly recommended that you hire a criminal defense lawyer who specializes in DUI cases.

Click Here for a list of Richard Wagner's successful DUI cases.

Highly Rated and Reviewed DUI Defense Attorney

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Orange County Drunk Driving Lawyer

Richard Wagner is a DUI lawyer based in Orange County. He is dedicated to defending those accused of DUI offenses. He has a deep understanding of how to effectively defend a DUI charge.

Mr. Wagner spent his first two years as a prosecutor. The Law Office of Richard Wagner defends those arrested or charged with DUI in Orange County and Southern California. 

Richard Wagner Handles All Stages of Your OC DUI:

  • Arraignment
  • Bail hearings
  • DMV license suspension hearing
  • Expungement and Sealing Arrest Records
  • Jury trials
  • Pretrial conferences
  • Probation violation hearings
  • Mandatory settlement conferences
  • Restitution hearings
  • Trial readiness conferences
  • Warrant recall hearings

In other words, Richard Wagner handles your DUI offense from start to finish. He does not take your money and pass your DUI case off to another, less experienced attorney. 

orange county dui lawyer
Harbor Justice Center

DUI Process in Orange County

A typical DUI process begins when a police officer sees a driver commit a traffic violation and then pulls over that vehicle. The violation does not have to be related to impaired driving. In lots of cases, the reason for the stop is something like an expired or missing registration or the license plate light not working.

In California, officers must have a reasonable suspicion to believe that a driver has violated the law in order to stop a vehicle.

DUI Checkpoints are an exception. The police do not need any reasonable suspicion that the driver has done anything wrong. Drivers passing through a checkpoint may be briefly detained to see if they are under the influence. Read more about DUI Checkpoints

After the vehicle has been stopped, the police officer will approach and begin talking to the driver. They are looking for signs of impairment, such as you not being able to find your license or registration, bloodshot or watery eyes, slurred speech, or an odor of alcohol.

The officer may suspect that the driver is under the influence of drugs or alcohol. If so, they will ask the driver to get out of the car. This is to perform a DUI investigation. This includes field sobriety tests to check your balance and coordination, as well as your ability to follow instructions. Read more about Field Sobriety Tests

The officer may try to get the driver to take a breathalyzer at this point. The law requires the police to get your permission or consent if you are 21 years of age or older.1 The PAS test is not mandatory for most drivers. However, if you are under the age of 212 or on DUI probation, then the PAS test is mandatory.

In Orange County, police use a hand-held breathalyzer. It is battery-operated, and at this stage in the process, it is called a Preliminary Alcohol Screening (PAS) test. In OC, police use the Alco-Sensor VXL made by Intoximeters, Inc. or the Lifeloc FC20 by Lifefloc Technologies, Inc.

It is essential to have an experienced Orange County DUI Attorney represent you if you have been accused of drunk driving. Their expertise can help you navigate the legal system and protect your valuable rights.

Arrest and Breath and Blood Tests in Orange County

If the officer believes that you have been driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs, they will arrest you. The officer is required by law to give you the choice of giving a breath or blood sample.3

The breath or blood testing after you have been arrested is referred to as the chemical test.

Refusing to take a test does not stop the prosecutor from charging you with DUI. The police will also probably get a search warrant and get a sample of your blood, even if you refuse.

Orange County prosecutors can charge you with three separate California Vehicle Code violations.

  1. Section 23152(a) is driving under the influence of alcohol.
  2. Section 23152(b) is driving with a blood-alcohol concentration of 0.08 or higher.
  3. Section 23152(f) is driving under the influence of a drug. 

The prosecutor will also file the refusal sentence enhancement, which could add jail time and increase your punishment and penalties. For first-time offenders, the DMV penalty for drivers who refuse chemical testing is a 1-year suspension.4 During this period, they are not eligible for a restricted license.

Orange County police conduct breath tests after DUI arrests using a battery-operated, hand-held device called the Alco-Sensor VXL.

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The breath test results are printed out in the form of a receipt.

Drivers who select the blood test are sometimes taken to a hospital. Usually, however, the police arrange for the blood tech to meet them at the jail or police station.

The blood test results take time because your blood must be transported to the Orange County crime lab in Santa Ana. The police can only use a blood test to measure drug levels if they arrest you for DUI drugs. There is no breath test available. Read more about DUI Drug Charges

Criminal Charges in Orange County

The police officer writes a report and sends it to the prosecutor. The prosecutor reviews the report and decides what charges to file. If your case is filed, the next step is your arraignment. Read About Arraignments in California

In most DUI cases involving alcohol, the prosecutor charges you with misdemeanor DUI, violating California Vehicle Code Section 23152(a), driving under the influence of alcohol, and Vehicle Code Section 23152(b), driving with a BAC of 0.08 percent or more.

What Happens If You Have A Drug or Marijuana DUI in Orange County?

Due to changes in policy and the law, as well as attitudes toward marijuana, DUI marijuana cases are on the rise.

Increasingly, law enforcement in Orange County is arresting and prosecutors are charging drivers with driving under the influence of a drug in violation of California Vehicle Code Section 23152(f). Read about DUI Drug Cases in California

It is illegal to use narcotics such as cocaine, heroin, ecstasy, and methamphetamine. Many people are unaware that it is illegal to drive while under the influence of certain prescribed medications.

Medications like Soma, Clonazepam, Vicodin, Xanax, or Ambien can cause driving impairment. The fact that a defendant has a valid prescription is not a defense to a DUI drug charge.

DUI Defenses Strategies  

There are defenses that may be raised in fighting your case. The defense may be able to challenge the vehicle stop if the officer did not have reasonable suspicion or probable cause.

Orange County Line

This is done by filing a motion to suppress the evidence, according to California Penal Code Section 1538.5 PC. If successful, the judge will exclude all evidence from the unlawful stop. This often leaves the prosecution with no other option but to dismiss the case. Read more about improper searches and unlawful stops

The defense may be able to attack the results of the breath or blood test by challenging the results. The defense may also be able to demonstrate how the driver was in the absorption phase during breath testing, which would mean that his or her test results would have been higher than his or her actual BAC. Read about how breath test results are not reliable when you are tested in the absorption phase

The defense should review and examine the arrest reports and all evidence. They should check for any errors in the prosecution's case.

In some cases, the prosecution may consider a reduced charge, including reducing your DUI case to a wet reckless pursuant to California Vehicle Code Section 23103/23103.5, speed exhibition under California Vehicle Code 23109(c), or reckless driving, California Vehicle Code Section 23103 also called a "dry reckless."

DUI Penalties in Orange County, CA

DUI Penalties vary depending on the facts of the case and other factors, including a person's criminal history. If you have a prior DUI within ten years, you will face mandatory jail time, fines, and an 18-month drinking and driving alcohol education class.5

If you have two prior DUIs within ten years, you are looking at a minimum of 120 days in the Theo Lacy Branch Jail or Central Men's /Women's Jail.6

Your punishment could become more severe if you were driving on a suspended or revoked license, speeding while driving recklessly7, or driving with a child in your car. 

Attorney Wagner fights your case. He also negotiates alternatives to county jail, such as Supervised Electronic Confinement (SEC), house arrest, SCRAM, work furlough/work release, and rehab programs. 

The prosecutor can charge you with a felony if you get a fourth DUI within a ten-year period. The judge can sentence those convicted of their fourth DUI to state prison.

Defendants who are involved in DUI accidents face increased penalties. They will have to pay restitution to the victims if they are convicted and put on probation.

Best DUI lawyer in Orange County

The prosecutor can charge you with DUI causing injury under California Vehicle Code Section 23153. This charge applies if the DUI accident caused injury to another person. This offense is called a “wobbler” because it can be either a felony or a misdemeanor. Read about DUI Causing Injury Cases

In addition, those who are convicted can lose their driving privileges for up to a year on a first-time DUI conviction. This license suspension is separate from the DMV suspension that is a result of your DMV Hearing.

To challenge this Admin Per Se suspension, you must request a hearing with the DMV. This must be done with the Orange Driver Safety Office within ten days of his or her arrest. It is recommended that you have an experienced Orange County DUI Attorney do this for you. Read about DUI DMV Hearings

DUI Attorney Orange County

Orange County DUI lawyer Richard Wagner has earned a reputation as a top-notch trial lawyer. Mr. Wagner knows how police and prosecutors investigate and file cases against you. He knows that you do not want to go to jail, lose your job, or suffer damage to your reputation.

It is critical to act if you have been arrested for or charged with Driving Under the Influence. Speak with a respected Orange County DWI lawyer for the best results.

drunk driving ticket lawyer orange county

Richard Wagner is a former DUI prosecutor. He is highly respected in the legal community. This is due to his in-depth knowledge of DUI law.

Mr. Wagner is considered one of the best DUI lawyers in Orange County. He provides his clients with the best defense.

How to Find The Best DUI Attorney in Orange County?

Which Orange County DUI Lawyer Should I Choose? 

Transparency: In your search for the best DUI attorney in Orange County, avoid law firms with websites where it's hard to find the names of the attorneys. These firms are often called “Orange County DUI Law Firm,”  and there is little or no information about the lawyer who will be handling your case. 

Trust: Also, avoid firms with people calling themselves “Director of Business Development” or “Director of Operations” who tell you your case will be handled by a “team.” Be skeptical about a place where you meet with someone for your DUI consultation who is not a DUI lawyer. These are salespeople who will tell you what you want to hear. Not what you need to hear.

oc lawyer drunk driving ticket

Accessibility: Richard Wagner meets with you about your case and gives you straightforward and honest information. Not a sales pitch. Not only does he personally meet with you for the initial free consultation, he personally handles your DUI case from start to finish—the DMV license suspension hearing and the court case. Clients rave about how easy it is to get in touch with Richard. How quickly he returns calls and emails. They love the online case management system, which gives clients access to their files 24/7. 

He doesn't pass your case to anonymous lawyers without your knowledge. There is no need to overcharge you to pay for the so-called team that never touches your case. 

Reputation: Look at the Five-Star Reviews, ratings, and years of experience. See what other people say about your DUI Attorney.

Google Five Star Reviews

Make Sure Your DUI Lawyer Regularly Handles DUIs in Orange County

The criminal justice system in Orange County is unlike any other criminal justice system in any other county in California. There are many reasons for the differences. Jurors and prosecutors differ due to the county's conservative political orientation.

If your blood-alcohol level is below .08 percent, the DA in Orange County will charge you with DUI under VC 23152a or VC 23153a and possibly even VC 23152b. This is unlikely to happen in Los Angeles or other counties.  Read how you can get a DUI when your BAC is under the legal limit

The other huge difference is the amount of jail time prosecutors want to give you in Orange County. Due to the amount of jail time the Orange County DA and the Anaheim City Prosecutor want you to serve if you have a prior DUI conviction in Orange County, do not make a mistake and hire a fake Orange County DUI Attorney. Out-of-county lawyers will not know how to handle this type of case.

DUI Court / DMV Information

North Justice Center, 1275 N. Berkeley Avenue, Fullerton, California. Cities Served: Anaheim, Brea, Buena Park, Cypress, Fullerton, La Habra, La Palma, Los Alamitos, Placentia, Stanton, Yorba Linda, Villa Park. 

Stephen K. Tamura Justice Center (West Justice Center), 8141 13th Street, Westminster, California – Cities Served: Costa Mesa, Cypress, Fountain Valley, Garden Grove, Huntington Beach, Los Alamitos, Seal Beach, Stanton, Westminster.

Harbor Justice Center, 4601 Jamboree Road, Newport Beach, California – Cities Served: Aliso Viejo, Balboa Island, Capistrano Beach, Coto de Caza, Corona del Mar, Dana Point, Foothill Ranch, Irvine, John Wayne Airport, Laguna Beach, Laguna Hills, Laguna Niguel, Laguna Woods, Lake Forest, Lido Isle, Mission Viejo, Newport Beach, Rancho Santa Margarita, San Clemente, San Juan Capistrano, Trabuco Canyon.

Central Justice Center, 700 Civic Center Drive, Santa Ana, California – Cities Served: Orange, Santa Ana, Santa Ana Heights, Tustin, Tustin Foothills. 

Central Jail Court, 550 N. Flower Street, Santa Ana, California

Community Court, 909 N. Main Street, Santa Ana, California

Richard Wagner has deep roots in Southern California—his family moved here in 1975. OC DUI Lawyer Richard Wagner went to elementary school through high school in Orange County and lives in Orange County, California, with his wife, two kids, and dog, Nera.

Orange County

Photo by Brandi Alexandra on Unsplash 

Orange County Office

7700 Irvine Center Drive
Suite 800, Irvine, Orange County, CA 92618 Phone: (714) 403-6317
Secondary phone: (714) 721 4423
Email: [email protected]

If arrested for an Orange County DUI, call (714) 721-4423 to learn more about our DUI defense services and a free consultation with Richard Wagner, Attorney at Law, to begin to build your DUI defense. 

1 California Vehicle Code Section 23612(i) says, "If the officer decides to use a preliminary alcohol screening test, the officer shall advise the person that he or she is requesting that person to take a preliminary alcohol screening test to assist the officer in determining if that person is under the influence of alcohol or drugs, or a combination of alcohol and drugs. The person's obligation to submit to a blood, breath, or urine test, as required by this section, for the purpose of determining the alcohol or drug content of that person's blood, is not satisfied by the person submitting to a preliminary alcohol screening test. The officer shall advise the person of that fact and of the person's right to refuse to take the preliminary alcohol screening test."

2 California Vehicle Code Section 13388(a) says, "If a peace officer lawfully detains a person under 21 years of age who is driving a motor vehicle, and the officer has reasonable cause to believe that the person is in violation of Section 23136, the officer shall request that the person take a preliminary alcohol screening test to determine the presence of alcohol in the person, if a preliminary alcohol screening test device is immediately available."

3 California Vehicle Code Section 23612(a)(2)(A) says, "If the person is lawfully arrested for driving under the influence of an alcoholic beverage, the person has the choice of whether the test shall be of his or her blood or breath and the officer shall advise the person that he or she has that choice."

4 California Vehicle Code Section 13353(a)(1) says, "If a person refuses the officer's request to submit to, or fails to complete, a chemical test or tests pursuant to Section 23612, upon receipt of the officer's sworn statement that the officer had reasonable cause to believe the person had been driving a motor vehicle in violation of Section 23140, 23152, or 23153, and that the person had refused to submit to, or did not complete, the test or tests after being requested by the officer, the department shall do one of the following: Suspend the person's privilege to operate a motor vehicle for a period of one year."

5 See, California Vehicle Code Section 23542. Conditions of probation for second offense. 

6 California Vehicle Code Section 23548(a)(1) says, "If the court grants probation to any person punished under Section 23546, in addition to the provisions of Section 23600 and any other terms and conditions imposed by the court, the court shall impose as conditions of probation that the person be confined in the county jail for at least 120 days..." 

7 California Vehicle Code 23582(a) says, "Any person who drives a vehicle 30 or more miles per hour over the maximum, prima facie, or posted speed limit on a freeway, or 20 or more miles per hour over the maximum, prima facie, or posted speed limit on any other street or highway, and in a manner prohibited by Section 23103 during the commission of a violation of Section 23152 or 23153 shall, in addition to the punishment prescribed for that person upon conviction of a violation of Section 23152 or 23153, be punished by an additional and consecutive term of 60 days in the county jail."