Three people with suspended licenses tried to drive away from a Newport Beach courthouse immediately after a judge told them not to get behind the wheel Monday, according to the Orange County Sheriff's Department.

Deputies arrested the drivers as part of a sting operation that targeted alleged offenders in driving-under-the-influence and unlicensed-driving cases at the Orange County Superior Court's Harbor Justice Center in Newport Beach.

Undercover deputies staked out courtrooms where suspects with revoked or suspended licenses were scheduled for hearings, according to a news release from the Sheriff's Department.

After each hearing, deputies followed the suspects out of the building and into the parking lot.

"While some offenders complied with the law and had alternate means of transportation, three individuals in court proceeded to get behind the wheel and drive away from the courthouse," the release said.

The three face a new charge of driving on a suspended license and the impounding of their vehicles for 30 days.

The arrestees were cited and released at the scene. They could be penalized with more jail time, longer driving suspensions and higher court costs than they were already facing, according to the release.

The Sheriff's Department said the sting is meant to be a deterrent, much like a DUI checkpoint.

— Jeremiah Dobruck

Twitter: @jeremiahdobruck