Newport Beach is a charming coastal community in Orange County, California. It’s also well known as the wealthiest city in the United States (according to the website portfolio.com), and it is the location of the Newport Beach Courthouse — the Harbor Justice Center branch of the Orange County Superior Court. This single courthouse handles more DUI cases in Orange County than all other courts in Orange County Superior Court, combined. (The next busiest would be the West Justice Center in Westminster, which trails the Harbor Justice Center in DUI cases handled by a far margin).
Part of this has to do with the jurisdiction of the courthouse. Covering the jurisdictions of not only Newport Beach, but also the beach communities of Laguna Beach, Newport Coast, San Clemente, Capistrano Beach, Balboa Island, Corona Del Mar, Dana Point, Lido Isle, and also the inland cities of Irvine, Costa Mesa, Aliso Viejo, Coto de Caza, John Wayne Airport, Laguna Hills, Laguna Niguel, Laguna Woods, Lake Forest, Mission Viejo, Rancho Santa Margarita, San Juan Capistrano, Santa Ana Heights, and Trabuco Canyon, this court covers a lot of cities, especially beach cities with plenty of patrons of bars and restaurants, an ideal setup for DUI checkpoints, and areas which aren’t covered by regular public transportation – a “perfect storm” for drunk drivers.
At the Harbor Justice Center in Newport Beach, there are also more DUI trials than any other courthouse in Orange County. Although the overall percentage of the prosecution winning misdemeanor trials in Newport Beach specifically was 62% last year, the conviction rate for DUIs is higher, perhaps because of the more conservative jury pool in Newport Beach. Last year prosecutors in Newport Beach won over 80% of DUI trials. Because of the unique aspects of this courthouse, prosecutors in the Newport Beach Courthouse have special policies of having “zero tolerance” and of going after defendants accused of DUI with harsh punishment, including jail time, without alternative or exceptions.
You can avoid being a statistic by knowing your options and how DUIs are handled in the Harbor Justice Center by Newport Beach DUI lawyers that practice in that courthouse daily.
Newport Beach DUI Checkpoints
DUI Checkpoints in Newport Beach are commonly held near the bars and restaurants of Fashion Island, the shopping center, and Pacific Coast Highway. Current information about Orange County DUI Checkpoint locations for Newport Beach, and other cities, are announced on the Newport Beach Police Website, and also on the Orange County DUI Checkpoints Blog. DUI checkpoints are not statistically a truly effective ways of catching drunk drivers, but they do provide money to the city of Newport Beach, especially through impounded motor vehicles. An individual will still have to pay to have his or her vehicle returned, even if he has been found innocent of DUI in a court of law.
Driver’s License Issues
Driver’s license issues from a DUI are handled by the DMV, and are not handled or dealt with in the Harbor Justice Center. However, it is worth mentioning that for all jurisdictions covered by this courthouse, driver’s license hearings are heard at the DMV Office of Driver Safety, located at Von Karman Avenue, Irvine, CA 92606. From the date of arrest, a driver has only 10 days to request a hearing with the Office of Driver Safety to avoid a suspension. If a person arrested for DUI doesn’t do this, it means an automatic suspension of driving privileges for four months or more, with very few exceptions.
Defending a Newport Beach DUI Charge
There are many different factors that contribute to the defense of a DUI charge. Newport Beach DUI Lawyers that know the system and procedures at the Harbor Justice Center will go over the details of the arrest with a fine-tooth comb, and he or she will review the case to see if all proper procedures were followed during the investigation and testing. For instance, if the police did not have a valid legal reason (probable cause) to stop you and investigate further,, there’s a chance that all charges could be dropped. If the breathalyzer machine was not maintained and calibrated correctly, a good attorney will work to have the charges dismissed based on a defective test. Your blood alcohol level and toxicology reports will be reviewed and re-tested for proper certification, levels of bacteria, anti-coagulants, and preservatives, will also be looked at closely by the defense.
By quickly contacting a DUI lawyer as soon as you’ve been arrested and charged, you increase your chances of having competent representation and ensuring that your rights are protected, even in a tough courthouse like the Harbor Justice Center of Orange County Superior Court.