Superior Court of California - County of Orange

DUI Court Applicant Info

Please Note
You must apply to the DUI Court which serves the city where you live: Orange County Superior Court has divided DUI Court cases among 4 courthouses, Central (Santa Ana), North (Fullerton), Harbor (Newport Beach), and West (Westminster). For a list of the Courts and the cities they service, please see locations page.

DUI Court Acceptance Process

DUI Court was designed for people facing a charge of DUI with prior DUI convictions, who are ready for a change. These are people who acknowledge that substance abuse has gotten out of control in their lives and they want to take steps to regain their sobriety. For these people, DUI Court should be one of the possible resolutions they consider.

  • There are several requirements to be acceptable to the DUI Court

    1. The applicant must live in the geographic area of the court where he/she applies for DUI Court. (see cities served under “Orange County Locations”). Applicants who live outside Orange County cannot be served by this program. Applicants who live in another part of Orange County will be referred to the appropriate court.
    2. The applicant must not have any instances of violence, drug sales or gang activity in his/her past.
    3. The applicant must have a recognition that he/she has a substance abuse problem and a readiness for change.
    4. The applicant must have sufficient mental and physical health to be able to complete the activities and requirements of the program and may not be taking medications which are inconsistent with program testing or sobriety (ie. drugs of abuse such as stimulants and depressants, among others).
    5. The applicant must have a feasible transportation plan for attending court sessions and the program’s activities.
  • Interview Process

    1. The first step is arraignment. The Court encourages all applicants to be represented by counsel who has reviewed the complaint and police report and has done any necessary investigation on the case.
    2. At arraignment, or thereafter, an applicant can request his/her case be set for a DUI Court interview.
    3. DUI Court interviews occur in 3 parts. The first two steps occur on the DUI Court Interview date set by the Court. These include a computer assessment and an interview with our Probation Department Team member.
    4. The second part of the interview is scheduled during the first interview for a day later that week. The second interview is with a Health Care Therapist who is a DUI Court Team member. This interview occurs at the Health Care (OCHCA) Department building located at 1200 North Main, Santa Ana, CA.
    5. The final step in the process is a team discussion which brings together all of the interview information. Attorneys are encouraged to attend this meeting which normally occurs Monday afternoon at 1:30 PM on the day prior to the applicant's next court appearance (the one where the Court will announce the team’s decision).
    6. At the Court session where the interview results are announced, an applicant will be told if his/her application is approved or declined and what conditions, if any, were made with the approval. (In many cases where an applicant is declined, they can request a re-interview).
    7. To enter the program all applicants enter a guilty plea and are sentenced to a stayed jail sentence (which is consistent with what would have been imposed outside of DUI Court). In addition the applicant will be given DUI Court terms of probation and be required to agree to a DUI Court plea agreement. Once the plea is taken, the applicant begins the activities of the program.
    8. During the first two weeks of the program a participant is in the "window" period. This, is in essence, a "test drive" of the program. As long as the participant is not in violation of his/her DUI Court probation terms, he/she may withdraw from DUI Court and withdraw his/her guilty plea during this "window" period. A person will not be recommended to move from the "window" to orientation until a clean drug screen has been received.
    9. At the point a participant accepts an advancement into the "orientation" phase of the program, the right to withdraw from the program and withdraw his/her plea expires. Withdrawals thereafter (without a violation of probation) will have the consequence of imposing the stayed jail time plus appropriate probation terms. If a participant wishes to withdraw after violating terms of probation, a probation violation sentence may also be imposed.
  • Confidentiality

    1. The information you share with the DUI Court team through the computer self-test and the interviews with probation and health care will remain confidential. The Judge and team will keep the information confidential and it will only be used in considering treatment options either in DUI Court or in recommending treatment options outside of DUI Court. In the event an applicant chooses not to volunteer into DUI Court or is not accepted, the information received during the evaluation process will not be shared with prosecutors.
© 2014 Superior Court of Orange County