Top Criminal Defense & DUI Lawyer Orange County
If you or a loved one has been arrested in Orange County for a DUI or any crime, our award-winning lawyers are here to help. Your future, job and freedom may be at risk.
It is key to get a skilled Orange County DUI lawyer or Orange County criminal defense attorney on your side asap. Every case has the potential to be won.
We will fight to reach the best outcome possible, keep you out of jail, block evidence against you and dismiss or reduce charges and fines. If you have been charged with DUI, battery, drug crimes, domestic violence, theft, or sex crime, we can help immediately.
Former Orange County Prosecutor Defending You
Chudnovsky Law is recognized in the Top 100 Trial Lawyers by The National Trial Lawyers. Our former government lawyers have successfully handled 8,000+ DUI and criminal cases with an exceptional track record. We know how to fight smart to protect you.
Usually we can make the court appearances for you to save you the hassle and disruption of having to attend court proceedings.
Proven Experience You Can Trust
Often it is not the facts of the case that result in a great outcome, but relationships, understanding the legal system, and a skillful presentation of your side of the story to the OC District Attorney or judge.
If you want the best possible outcome in your case, call for a Free consultation. With thousands of misdemeanor and felony successes, you can rest assured we will fight tirelessly to get your charges dismissed or reduced.
Learn about the best defense strategies:
There are many ways to beat DUI charges. This thorough guide reviews the 20 best DUI defenses in 2019.
Under US law you are innocent unless proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. See the top defenses we use.
Orange County Criminal Defense Attorney,
Orange County DUI Lawyer
Recent Orange County criminal defense results:
Felony transportation and possession for sale of 50 kilograms cocaine HS 11351 and HS 11352, Santa Ana Court. Client faced 20 years if convicted. Result: Not guilty verdict in jury trial.
Felony corporal injury on spouse by non-US citizen 273.5 PC, Harbor Justice Court. Client faced 1 year jail and denial of green card for domestic violence. Result: Not guilty in jury trial.
Felony terrorist threats with mass explosive devices 18710 PC and 422 PC, Central Justice Center. Client facing 4 years prison. Result: Acquitted of 18710 PC in trial, 422 PC reduced to misdemeanor with no jail time.
Felony grand theft 487 PC and 459.5 PC, West Justice Court. Client had prior record and faced 4 years prison. Result: Reduced to misdemeanor with no jail time.
Felony assault with deadly weapon 245(a)(2) PC, North Justice Center. Client facing 5 years prison. Result: Reduced to misdemeanor 273.5 PC, no jail time.
Felony domestic violence on spouse by foreign citizen 273.5 PC. International executive faced 2 years jail and aggravated felony conviction with deportation and inadmissibility to U.S. Result: Case dismissed, no immigration consequence.
Large scale theft of US Mail by non-US citizen on work visa 530.5(e) PC, West Justice Center. Client faced 1 year jail and deportation. Result: Reduced to trespassing 602 PC, no jail time, no immigration consequence.
Recent Orange County DUI defense results:
2nd DUI with accident, West Justice Center. Client faced violation of probation and up to 1 year jail. Result: Filed motion to suppress evidence, case dismissed.
Felony 6th DUI involving accident with great bodily injury. Client facing up to 16 years prison. Result: 6 months jail.
1st DUI enhanced due to high BAC, Harbor Justice Center. International executive faced 6 mo jail, loss of job. Result: Reduced to wet reckless, no jail, no immigration or job consequence.
1st DUI enhanced due to high BAC and high speed, foreign citizen faced 6 mo jail, deportation. Result: No jail, no immigration consequence.
1st DUI enhanced due to very high BAC, Harbor Justice Center. Result: No jail.
1st DUI by non-US citizen. Client faced 6 months jail and deportation. Result: No jail time, no immigration consequence.
Orange County DUI defense resources
Orange County criminal defense resources
O.C. DUI Defense
DUI Lawyer Orange County
If you’re facing DUI charges, our DUI defense lawyers are here to help. Our experienced former government attorneys have successfully handled 1000's of cases of all types from 1st DUI to Watson murder charge DUIs.
In most cases you won't have to appear in court or the DMV hearing unless you want to. Our Orange County DUI defense attorney can appear in court and DMV hearings for you.
DUI and Immigration Lawyers for Non-US Citizen DUI
If you are a non-US citizen arrested for DUI, you need to be very careful. DUI arrests often trigger automatic visa revocation, causing big problems for visa holders such as international F1 visa students and H-1B visa highly skilled workers.
It is key to quickly consult with both a DUI defense and immigration lawyer to carefully handle the case to minimize immigration consequences. Chudnovsky Law is a rare law firm that has both the DUI and immigration expertise that is needed for foreign nationals.
Orange County DUI Injury Lawyer
In California, penalties increase dramatically when DUI causes an accident with injury. It is crucial to hire an Orange County DUI injury attorney experienced in defending these serious charges.
Orange County prosecutors usually file DUI injury charges as felony DUI with very serious penalties, even if the injuries are minor. Call for a Free case consultation to learn more.
How to challenge DUI charges
Driving under the influence cases are rarely hopeless. Law enforcement officers can bungle roadside investigations and arrests.
Breath test and other blood alcohol tests are subject to error. Breathalyzer and other blood alcohol tests can provide false readings due to factors like medical conditions and some foods.
DUI cases often have errors or flaws
Fighting DUI charges almost always makes more sense than pleading guilty for many reasons including:
Law enforcement officers are required to follow strict, standardized procedures, and often they fail to do so.
Breathalyzers can give false readings due to device malfunctions, medical issues or more than 100 substances that interfere with the chemical readings.
Testing the alcohol level in blood is difficult and prone to error. When retesting police blood samples, it is not unusual to find different results or that the blood was contaminated.
The 4 elements of a prosecutor's DUI case
Prosecutors are required to establish guilt in their case "beyond a reasonable doubt." This is the highest standard of proof under California law.
This strict legal standard is required for any alleged criminal charges and judges can dismiss any case that is not free of doubt. The 4 elements that prosecutors use to prove their case are:
Visual DUI detection: National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) research has identified 24 visual cues for police officers to detect impaired motorists including speeding, weaving out of lanes and ignoring traffic signs.
Physical signs and symptoms: Officer observations such as smell of alcohol, bloodshot eyes or difficulty walking are often easiest to discredit.
Field sobriety testing such as balance, physical ability or attention level.
Chemical blood alcohol tests or refusal to take a test: Blood tests can be discredited based on many factors.
A skilled Orange County drunk driving defense attorney will work to identify any weaknesses in the four elements above to demonstrate a reasonable doubt in the prosecutor's case. The best DUI defence lawyers will carefully analyze the evidence and determine the defense strategy with the highest probability of success.
Consequences and penalties for DUI
The penalties for DUI convictions vary widely based on several factors. The range of penalties judges can dictate are defined by statue under California DUI laws.
Judges have discretion to impose a range of penalties depending on the seriousness of the crime committed and the quantity of prior DUI convictions. And a skilled DUI lawyer has many strategies available to influence the penalties finally imposed.
A DUI conviction counts as a prior conviction on your record for 10 years. After the conviction is over 10 years old, the courts no longer consider it as a prior conviction when determining the penalties for subsequent DUI charges.
What are some other consequences of DUIs?
Ask your OC DUI attorneys to explain the following drunk driving consequences and penalties:
Insurance costs can go up dramatically and subject you to SR-22 insurance requirements.
Professional license holders such as nurses and doctors can have their licenses, insurance and certifications affected.
Applications for jobs often ask about convictions and if the employer does a background check, the conviction will be visible unless it has been expunged.
University admissions and financial aid can be affected.
Foreign citizens have to disclose DUI arrests and answer DHS questions when applying to adjust status, obtain visas, green cards, or even just enter the US.
Installation of ignition interlock devices on vehicles can be required for some convictions.
Most penalties can be reduced or eliminated
Even though consequences can be severe, a successful DUI defense can dramatically reduce or eliminate penalties if the DUI charges are successfully challenged. If your DUI involved an accident, be sure to consult the best Orange County drunk driving accident lawyer skilled in restitution hearings.
A DMV license suspension can also be avoided if you hire good DUI lawyers Orange County early in the process. DUI attorneys can request a DMV APS hearing to save your license and utilize a range of negotiation and defense strategies to achieve the best outcome possible
California DUI laws and penalties by type of DUI conviction:
UCI DUI Lawyer | Chapman DUI Lawyer
Chudnovsky Law represents students for DUI and criminal defense at all universities in Orange County including: UC Irvine, Chapman University, Anahiem University, California State University Fullerton, Golden West College, Irvine Valley College and National University. UCI students that are arrested for DUI should contact Chudnovsky Law's UCI DUI lawyer.
The University of California Irvine (UCI) is very popular with international students. UCI reported over 5,400 international students in 2016. International F1 student visa DUI can cause visas to be revoked and other complications.
F1 students charged with DUI should consult with the immigration and DUI defense attorneys of Chudnovsky Law in order to minimize the effects on their ability to continue to study in the US.
DUI Defense in Spanish, French and Italian
The firm’s multi-lingual DUI defense lawyers are native Spanish, French and Italian speaking lawyers. Chudnovsky Law has extensive experience representing foreign nationals for DUI charges. We are skilled in the complex intersection of immigration and criminal defense laws.
You can read more about our multi-lingual DUI defense services at:
O.C. Criminal Defense
Orange County Criminal Defense Lawyer
When your personal and professional life are on the line due to an investigation or criminal charges, you need an experienced criminal defense lawyer Orange County to skillfully protect you and fight your case.
As former government lawyers, we know the court and legal system inside out
Our former OC Deputy District Attorney & Public Defense lawyers have both prosecuted and defended thousands of cases as government lawyers. We know how DAs and police investigate and build cases against you, how to identify their weaknesses and how to create the best, most successful defense strategies.
Our Orange County criminal defense attorneys have a proven track record of 60+ years of combined experience successfully handling over 8,000+ cases and court trials. Our lawyers not only know the system, they are at home in it.
Top rated criminal defense lawyer Orange County
Often it is not the facts of the case that result in a great outcome, but understanding the legal system, relationships and the skillful presentation of your case to the district attorney or judge. Our Orange County criminal lawyer understands what judges and the OC District Attorney's office are thinking and what they must know in order to reach the best outcome possible.
Team of criminal attorneys, investigators & experts
Our attorneys have top investigators and experts available if needed to conduct interviews, testify & gather evidence to exonerate you. Our OC criminal defense attorneys also have resources we can work with to build a mitigation package to explain to the DA's office why your case should be dropped or reduced before it even gets to a court.
If your case cannot be dismissed or defeated, we have relationships with many alternative sentencing and diversion programs that can be proposed to the prosecutor and judge if appropriate. Alternative sentencing programs are based on the belief that rehab or treatment is a more effective solution for offenders than prison time.
Multilingual immigration & criminal lawyers for foreign citizens
The intersection between criminal and immigration law is one of the most complex areas of US law. Chudnovsky Law is recognized as a leading criminal attorney Orange County CA for non-US citizens and minimizing the immigration consequences of criminal charges. The firm provides multi-lingual legal services in Spanish, French, Italian, Portuguese, Hebrew, Español and Amharic.
Criminal Defense Attorney Orange County
Our experienced OC criminal defense lawyers have handled over 8,000 cases and jury trials involving virtually every type of criminal charge.
Chudnovsky Law also represents clients under investigation, working with the O.C.D.A. or Federal prosecutors to demonstrate why a case should be dropped or reduced before charges are even filed.
Theft & property crimes
Theft Crimes, Penal Codes 484 PC, 459 PC, 487 PC, 496 PC
Petty Theft, Penal Code 484 PC, Shoplifting, Penal Code 459.5 PC
Receiving Stolen Property, Penal Code 496 PC
Armed Robbery, Burglary, Penal Code 459 PC
Credit Card Theft, Penal Codes 484e, 484f, 484g, 484h, 484i, 484j PC
Recall Arrest Warrants
Recall bench warrant
DUI, driving under the influence
DUI Vehicle Code 23152(a) VC, Vehicle Code 23152(b) VC
Child Endangerment, Penal Code 273(a) PC
Vehicular Manslaughter, Penal Code 192(c) PC
Felony Drunk Driving, Drunk in Public
Fraud lawyers Orange County
Credit Card Fraud, Penal Code 484e PC, 484f PC, 484g PC, 484h PC, 484i PC, 484j
Insurance Fraud, Penal Code 550 PC
Welfare Fraud, Welfare and Institutions Code 10980 WI
Identity Theft, Penal Code 530.5 PC
Financial Crimes, Fraud, Embezzlement, Extortion, Tax crimes
Forgery, Penal Code 470 PC
Sex crime lawyers Orange County
Sex Solicitation, Prostitution, Penal Code 647(b) PC
Indecent Exposure, Penal Code 314 PC, Lewd Conduct, Penal Code 647(a) PC
Internet Sex Crime, Criminal Sexual Conduct
Sexual Assault, Statutory Rape
Post conviction services
Post conviction relief, Parole & Probation Violations
Driving License Restoration
Elder abuse & neglect, Penal Code 368 PC
Federal criminal lawyer Orange County
White Collar Crimes, Bank Fraud, Forgery
Insider Trading, Securities Fraud
Medicare Fraud, Medicaid Fraud
Interstate Drug Crimes
Federal Financial Crimes, Money Laundering, Tax Fraud, Tax Evasion
Drug crime lawyer
Federal & Major Felony Drug Trafficking
Drug Cultivation and Manufacturing
Drug Distribution and Sales
Possession of Drug Paraphernalia
OC Pot Dispensary Violations, Marijuana Crimes, Making Hash Oil, Honey Oil
OC Drug Possession, Prescription Drug Charges
Possession with Intent to Deliver
Orange County domestic violence attorney
Domestic Violence, Penal Code 273.5 PC
Assault & violent crime
Conspiracy, Penal Code 182 PC, Extortion, Penal Code 518 PC
Assault with Intent to Murder, Assault, Penal Code 245(a)(1) PC
Gun Law and Charges, Felony Firearm
Criminal Threats, Penal Code 422 PC
Hit and Run, Vehicle Code 20002 VC
Weapons Charge, Penal Code 25850 PC
Homicide, Penal Code 187 PC, 191.5 PC, 192 PC
Domestic Battery, Penal Code 243(e)(1) PC
Arson, Penal Code 451 PC, Arson Charges
Stalking, Penal Code 646.9 PC
Robbery, Penal Code 211 PC, Criminal Threats, Penal Code 422 PC
Kidnapping, Penal Code 207 PC, Stalking
Shoplifting defense attorney
Criminal Defense in Spanish and French
Chudnovsky Law’s criminal defence lawyers are native Spanish and French speaking attorneys. The law firm has extensive experience representing foreign citizens for both criminal defense and immigration matters.
You can read more about our multi-lingual criminal defense at:
Orange County Criminal Immigration Attorney
A DUI or criminal conviction can have serious consequences for your immigration status if you are a non-US citizen. Under US immigration law, criminal convictions can lead to a non-citizen being deported regardless of how long they have lived in the US or how well-established their life is here.
If you are a foreign citizen facing criminal or DUI charges, it is critical that you be represented by a criminal immigration lawyer who understands both immigration and criminal law. Chudnovsky Law is recognized as a leader in the intersection of criminal and immigration law and minimizing the immigration consequences of crimes.
California Professional License Defense Attorney
If you are a licensed healthcare professional facing an investigation, accusations, statement of issues and disciplinary actions, give us a call.
When the stakes are high, our skilled administrative law & criminal defense lawyer will skillfully work to protect your reputation, your license and your ability to practice.
If your ability to practice is at risk due to investigations, complaints or medical board disciplinary actions, you need an experienced medical doctor license defense attorney who knows administrative law, how to defend you and how to best resolve your case.
Former Prosecutor skilled in licensing, Federal & California criminal defense
Our licensing defense attorney Robert K. Weinberg is a former government prosecutor that has successfully handled 1000's of license defense and criminal cases.
We know how California license boards function, how disciplinary investigations are handled and the process of administrative law hearings, statement of issues & administrative appeals. We are also proficient at challenging any evidence presented against you.
Committed, compassionate attorney focused solely on protecting you
You can count on us to provide a smart, capable defense with the goal minimizing your exposure to penalties or disciplinary actions. Our caring lawyers understand what you're going through and are totally focused on defending you and preserving your license to practice. We never judge, we are only here to help and protect you.
Consult our license defense attorney if you are contacted by your licensing board
When health care professionals are contacted by an investigator or an attorney for their licensing board, it is critical to consult with an experienced health care license defense lawyer before responding. Often smart counsel can help deliver a response that may cause the matter to be closed without any formal accusation or citation on your record.
We represent all licensed healthcare professionals, including:
Registered Nurses (RN)
Licensed Practicing Nurses (LPN)
Licensed Vocational Nurses (LVN)
Advanced Practice Nurses (APRN)
Clinical Nurse Specialists (CNS)
Nurse Practitioners (NP)
Certified Nurse Midwives (CNM)
Dentist, Dental Assistant & Hygienist
Respiratory Care Therapists
Mental Health Professionals
Marriage & Family Therapists
Pharmacies & Pharmacists
We represent professionals for all California healthcare licensing boards, including:
Medical Board of California
Board of Vocational Nursing and Psychiatric Technicians
California Board of Podiatric Medicine
California Board of Registered Nursing
California State Board of Optometry
California State Board of Pharmacy
Board of Behavioral Sciences
Board of Chiropractic Examiners
Board of Occupational Therapy
Dental Board of California
Osteopathic Medical Board of California
Physical Therapy Board of California
Physician Assistant Board
Respiratory Care Board of California
Skilled in nurse DUI defense and nurse criminal defense
If you are a nurse arrested for DUI, it is critical to consult a nurse license defense attorney that is skilled in DUI defense. Many of our cases involve nurses whose licenses are at risk due to substance abuse, DUI, criminal arrests or convictions. Our experienced nurse license defense attorney knows how to skillfully handle all types of DUI and criminal charges as well to protect you, your license and ability to practice.
Insurance billing, medical license and health care business defense lawyer
Our medical practice act defense lawyer also represents licensing defense, Medicare, medical insurance reimbursement, Medical Board of California disciplinary actions and patient care matters for health care businesses and companies. Some examples of the types of healthcare businesses we represent include:
Skilled nursing facilities (SNF)
Senior care and assisted living facilities
Adult day healthcare businesses
At home healthcare providers and agencies
Long term patient care facilities
Pharmaceutical vendors, wholesalers and distributors
Don't let one mistake ruin your career. Call us to learn your legal options.
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For more info or to read about our nurse license defense attorney California, please visit:
How do Orange County DUI arrest and conviction rates compare to other California counties?
Orange County has a reputation for being very tough on DUI and data collected by the California Department of Motor Vehicles confirms it is true. Among all California counties, Orange County had the second highest DUI conviction rate in the state after Shasta county.
Southern California DUI conviction rates by county:
Orange County: 91.2%
Ventura County: 87.6%
Riverside County: 84.8%
San Diego County: 81.6%
San Bernardino County: 75.4%
Los Angeles County: 73.7%
Orange County's DUI arrest rate is one of the lowest in California
While conviction rates are high, the Orange County rate of arrest for DUI of 0.7 per 1,000 residents is one of the lowest in California. Only Contra Costa (.6), San Francisco (.3) and Santa Clara (.6) have lower arrest rates. Sparsely populated Alpine County had the state's highest DUI arrest rate at 4.2.
How long does it take OC courts to process a DUI case?
Analysis by the California Department of Motor Vehicles shows that Orange County courts vary widely in how long they take to adjudicate DUI cases. The median time from DUI violation to conviction for the 6 Orange County DUI courts ranged from 45 days to 137 days. (1)
The Harbor Justice Center Newport Beach courthouse processed 4,704 DUI cases, more than any other court in Southern California except Metropolitan court in downtown Los Angeles.
Orange County DUI collisions & injuries from 2008 to 2017
Even though Orange County's population is growing, data from the California Highway Patrol shows DUI collisions trending down from 2008 to 2017.
Researchers believe the decline is due to the increase of Uber type services and sustained law enforcement DUI prevention activities. From 2008 to 2017, reported DUI collisions have declined 18% from 3,541 to 2,878 per year.
Orange County fatalities due to DUI collisions from 2008 to 2017
From 2008 to 2017, DUI involved collision fatalities increased 9% from 33 to 36 per year:
Total Fatalities in 2008: 33
Total Fatalities in 2009: 30
Total Fatalities in 2010: 19
Total Fatalities in 2011: 25
Total Fatalities in 2012: 29
Total Fatalities in 2013: 36
Total Fatalities in 2014: 31
Total Fatalities in 2015: 32
Total Fatalities in 2016: 43
Total Fatalities in 2017: 36
Top 10 Orange County cities with the most DUI arrests
Orange County is California's third largest county with over 3.1 million residents in 34 cities encompassing a 794 square mile metropolitan area. According to the California Department of Transportation, there are 300 route miles of highway on 17 state highways.
DUI arrests happen all over Orange County. According to law enforcement data published by the California Office of Traffic Safety, here are the top 10 Orange County cities ranked by number of DUI arrests per year:
Huntington Beach: 858 DUI arrests
Orange: 747 DUI arrests
Santa Ana: 650 DUI arrests
Fullerton: 614 DUI arrests
Irvine: 501 DUI arrests
Anaheim: 480 DUI arrests
Newport Beach: 447 DUI arrests
Costa Mesa: 356 DUI arrests
Garden Grove: 354 DUI arrests
Mission Viejo: 118 DUI arrests
Orange County criminal charges filed by crime type
The Orange County District Attorney's office prosecutes more than 65,000 criminal cases each year. The Judicial Council of California 2017 California Court Statistics Report breaks down the type of criminal charges as follows:
Felony criminal charges have declined 23% from 2012 to 2016 while Misdemeanor criminal charges are up 29% over the same period. The whole State of California court system processed 200,200 felony and 841,716 misdemeanor criminal case filings in 2017.
What are the crime rates for Orange County cities?
According to data published in the 2016 FBI Uniform Crime Report, the Orange County cities ranked by their crime rate are as follows.
While the above crime rates are per 1,000 residents, the cities with the most absolute crimes reported rank much differently. The top 5 cities with the most crime in 2016 were:
Anahiem: 10,826 total crimes
Santa Ana: 8,592 total crimes
Costa Mesa: 5,022 total crimes
Huntington Beach: 4,889 total crimes
Garden Grove: 4,867 total crimes
10 OC cities with the highest violent crime rates
Violent crimes reported in the 2016 FBI Uniform Crime Report include aggravated assault, robbery, rape, manslaughter and murder. Laguna Beach has the highest violent crime rate in Orange County of 494 crimes per 100,000 residents. The wealthy city's high rate is driven primarily by aggravated assaults and a tiny population of 23,486 with non-resident criminals.
The highest violent crime rate cities per 100,000 residents in 2016 were:
Laguna Beach: 494
Santa Ana: 478
Costa Mesa: 362
Garden Grove: 309
Buena Park: 297
San Juan Capistrano: 236
Irvine has the lowest violent crime rate in Orange County with only 57 violent crimes per 100,000 residents during 2016. Orange County overall has among the lowest violent crime rates in California at 200 violent crimes per 100,000 residents vs 396 state wide.
Orange County Superior Court
Chudnovsky Law represents clients in the OC Superior Court (OCSC), one of 58 superior courts created by California's Constitution. OCSC encompasses 34 cities and serves a population of over 3.1 million residents with 7 courthouses throughout the county’s 948 square miles.
Serving All OC Courts
The presiding judge designates cases to be heard and tried in the various courts according to this court matrix. Our criminal defense law firm Orange County represents clients in all OC courts:
Harbor Justice Center
4601 Jamboree Road, Newport Beach, CA 92660
Central Justice Center
700 Civic Center Drive West, Santa Ana, CA 92701
Lamoreaux Justice Center
341 The City Drive South, Orange, CA 92868-3205
North Justice Center
1275 North Berkeley Avenue, Fullerton, CA 92832
West Justice Center
8141 13th Street, Westminster, CA 92683
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Our lawyers serve all OC cities including:
Aliso Viejo, Anaheim, Brea, Buena Park, Costa Mesa criminal attorney, Cypress, Dana Point, Fountain Valley, Garden Grove, Huntington Beach, Irvine, La Habra, La Palma, Laguna Beach DUI lawyer, Laguna Hills DUI attorney, Laguna Niguel, Laguna Woods, Lake Forest, Los Alamitos, Mission Viejo, Monarch Beach, Newport Beach, Orange, Placentia, Rancho Santa Margarita, San Clemente, San Juan Capistrano, Santa Ana criminal defense attorney, Seal Beach, Stanton, Tustin, Villa Park, Westminster and Yorba Linda.
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Last updated 9.6.19