Reducing DUI Charges at the Newport Beach Courthouse – A Senior Citizen’s Journey:

A photo of the Harbor Justice Center front entrance on a sunny day.

In this post, we’re excited to share an incredible success story from our legal files, showcasing how tactical thinking and a deep understanding of the law can lead to favorable outcomes for our clients at the Newport Beach Courthouse.

The Incident

Our client, a senior citizen, found herself in a challenging situation after dining at a well-known restaurant. Following her meal, where she consumed a modest amount of alcohol, she made her way to her vehicle and started the engine in the area of Five Crowns and directly in front of the Lovely Nail Salon on 3801 East Coast Hwy. This action, observed by a concerned bystander, led to the involvement of the Newport Beach Police Department.

Upon arrival, the officers, noting signs of potential intoxication, proceeded with a DUI investigation. Our client, seated in her vehicle, cooperated fully with the officers. Despite the seeming straightforwardness of the situation, the case presented unique complexities. This resulted in the officers arresting her for a DUI.

Attempted reckless

Our Legal Approach

Recognizing the potential impact of a DUI charge on our client’s life, we immediately began crafting a nuanced defense strategy. Key to our approach was the fact that our client had not actually driven her vehicle. She was preparing to drive but had not moved the car. The facts of this case did not involve a car moving. The defenses which would have come into play was similar with DUI sleeping in a car.

The Courtroom Strategy

Our team focused on this critical detail in court. We argued that while our client was in her vehicle with the engine running, there was no actual driving or attempt to drive. This distinction is crucial in DUI cases and can significantly influence the outcome because in order to prove a DUI the prosecution would have to show that there was driving and not just attempted driving.

Negotiating with the District Attorney

Our efforts were directed towards discussions with the Orange County District Attorney. By highlighting the specific circumstances of the case and our client’s lack of actual driving, we negotiated a significant reduction in charges. The initial DUI charge was amended to an attempted wet reckless , which carried far fewer legal repercussions, including no impact on our client’s driving license and reduced fines and penalties.

The Outcome

The result was a remarkable success for our client, who was immensely relieved and grateful. The reduced charge meant she could move forward without the severe consequences that a full DUI charge would have entailed.

The Impact

This case is a testament to the importance of understanding every facet of a legal situation and knowing which one of the successful DUI defenses to utilize. It underscores our firm’s commitment to providing tailored, strategic legal representation that acknowledges the individual circumstances of each client.

What are the different legal implications between a DUI and an attempted DUI charge?

A DUI charge, when convicted, carries with it a full suspension from the DMV, in addition to fines, penalties, and a mandatory three-year probation. On the other hand, an attempted DUI charge or attempted reckless driving only carries one year of probation, and the classes can be negotiated. Moreover, an attempted charge does not trigger any type of mandatory DMV suspension.

How can I determine if my situation qualifies for a charge reduction similar to the one in this case?

It’s important to have an attorney review your case. Usually, there’s a checklist in our office that we use to assess the chances of reduction in a case. Some factors may include checkpoints, breath machines, or sleeping in the car defenses. Ultimately, a seasoned attorney should be able to tell you whether or not your case can be reduced.

What evidence is typically required to prove that someone intended to drive under the influence, but didn’t actually drive?

The evidence required to prove intent to drive under the influence, but without actual driving, is circumstantial. The prosecution cannot make a DUI charge if the person did not drive. So, the prosecutor will have to ask the jury to speculate whether the person was driving or did drive. In this case, it was tough for the prosecution to prove.

Are there specific legal defenses that are more effective in cases where the vehicle was running but not moving?

In cases where a vehicle was running but not moving, a legal defense called the ‘No Drive Defense’ can be argued. It states that the person was sitting inside the car but never drove. Even if the car was on, it can still be argued that nobody knew how long the person was sitting in the car for; it could have been hours. Therefore, there was no driving, or it’s unclear when the person was driving, putting the prosecution in a difficult position.

How does the presence of a witness, like the concerned bystander in this case, affect the outcome of a DUI-related charge?

The presence of witnesses is probative in cases like this because it shows whether or not a person was driving. For example, in this case, the witness’s observation was helpful for our client because it showed that she only got into the car and sat there. Their observations can be helpful in proving that there was no driving involved. Alternatively, a witness can also testify that there was driving involved.

What are the long-term consequences of an attempted DUI on my personal and professional life, including future employment opportunities?

The long-term consequences of an attempted DUI on your personal and professional record depend on the type of job you have. However, an attempted DUI should not be pled to, as in this case, it should be reduced down. An attempted DUI will not have license repercussions and is expungeable after one year.

Can a person still face penalties or license suspension if found sitting in a parked car under the influence, and how does this compare to driving under the influence?

A person found sitting inside a parked car under the influence can still face a license suspension. The Orange Driver Safety Office is inconsistent with its opinions and hearing officers, often not following the law, and more often than not, suspends a person’s driver’s license. The suspensions handed out by the Orange Driver Safety Office are 120 days or four months. However, these can be avoided with the right advocacy and by meeting the 10-day deadline for your DMV hearing to preserve your hearing rights.”


If you or someone you know is facing legal challenges, particularly those involving complex or nuanced situations in the Newport Beach area or at the Harbor Justice Center, our experienced team is here to help. We understand the intricacies of the law and are dedicated to achieving the best possible outcomes for our clients.

Don’t let legal challenges overwhelm you. Contact our office today for guidance and support in navigating your legal journey.

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Hand down the best attorney I have ever worked with!!! My friend recommended Hieu because I needed to expunge something I did when I was young and dumb. Hieu is very humble, personable, and made me feel very comfortable. He's surprisingly funny too. Something not all lawyers are / can do. His pricing is very reasonable and he updated me on everything frequently. I highly recommend him!!!!

Lila K

I had interviewed many attorneys to discuss my very unfortunate situation that was set by someone I knew. Hieu Vu was the most honest, caring, and professional attorney with compassion and empathy I ever interviewed. HE REALLY HAD A HEART. His fees were very reasonable and he will fight for you not just for your dollars but because he cares for his clients... I would strongly recommend him if you feel your life is upside down. Things happen but we learn to become better person.

Mark K

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