Orange County Legal Resources

Useful Links and Information for Criminal Defense Law in O.C. California

Orange County Legal Charges Overview



Driving on a suspended license -  The Department of Motor Vehicles may suspend one’s drivers license for a variety of reasons including, but not limited to, failing to pay fines or fees, failing to provide proof of insurance, alcohol, drug or other criminal violations, mental or physical disabilities along with others.  If one is caught driving on a suspended license and did so knowing that their driver’s license was indeed suspended, the charge may be as simple to resolve by obtaining one’s driver’s license after paying the fees due, or may be more difficult to resolve, because the punishment is jail time, a large fine and the requirement of installing an ignition interlock device. 

DUI - Driving Under the Influence – Orange County DUI cases can be charged under one of two theories: either violation of the DUI "per se" law (which is based only on the alcohol level of .08 or greater and not driving impairment), or under a theory where the prosecution must prove that the driver is "under the influence" of alcohol and/or drugs. 

Shoplifting/petty theft/grand theft/vehicle theft/false impersonation/robbery If one is charged with an offense involving the taking of money, property, or another’s identity, the consequences may be as severe as a long prison sentence or as light as returning the item or paying restitution for the loss.  Defenses such as ownership, mistake and permission must also be explored.

Possession, sale, manufacturing and transportation of drugs – One may be eligible for drug diversion, Prop 36, or drug court if you are guilty of the charge.  A criminal defense attorney should analyze the warrant, contact, search and arrest by law enforcement, along with the type and amount of the involved drug in determining the applicable and reasonable sentence.

Domestic violence/simple or aggravated assault and battery -  Mutual combat, self-defense and identity should be explored when handling this type of case.  The sentence may range depending on the injury, relationship and record of the defendant.

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Probation Violation -  If one has violated their probation by being charged with a new offense or doing something the court has ordered one not to do or not completing something the court has ordered one to do, the punishment may include imprisonment or other forms of punishment.  However, there may a defense to this allegation if the violation is excusable in some fashion or was not willful or done with knowledge.

Expungements – After one completes their term of probation and there are no new charges pending they may be eligible to have their case reduced from a felony to a misdemeanor and dismissed.  If one originally pled to a misdemeanor, then the case may also be dismissed.


Administrative Per Se Hearings – If one is charged with a DUI, they have 10 days to request a hearing before the Department of Motor Vehicles in order to try and save a suspension on their driving privileges.

Physical and/or Mental Suspension – If one receives notice from the DMV that their license will be suspended unless they have their doctor complete a DMV form and set an appointment, they must do so immediately or they will lose their privilege to drive.  This action would occur if someone, including a police officer, reports that they are unfit to drive.

Negligent Operator Suspension – When a person has 4 points accumulated on their driving record, the DMV may suspend their privilege to drive.  In order to prevent this suspension, one must request a DMV Hearing.