A standard DUI conviction could result in the following penalties: jail time, work release, community service, electronic monitoring, alcohol monitoring, monetary fines, alcohol programs, license suspension, installation of an ignition interlock device, and probation. The State has the authority to charge a driver with specific allegations that could result in harsher penalties. A skilled DUI attorney will not only fight the DUI, but also the special allegations. Some of the most common sentence enhancements include:
Prior Convictions: Increased penalties can result from a previous DUI conviction that occurred within the last 10 years. Consequences increase with the number of prior convictions incurred during that same 10 year period. It is important to understand that having three prior convictions in 10 years will result in a fourth offense being filed as a felony. Enhancements that may accompany a prior offense could include: custody time, extended length of an alcohol program, and a longer license suspension period.
High BAC: Having an excessive blood alcohol content of 0.15% or higher is subject to sentence enhancement terms pursuant to California Vehicle Code Section 23578. Being charged with this allegation can result in enhanced sentencing terms. On a first offense, a blood alcohol content of 0.15% could result in a 6 month or 9 month alcohol program, while a blood alcohol content of 0.20% would require the 9 month alcohol program.
Refusal: Under California Vehicle Code Section 23578, if a driver refuses or fails to complete a chemical test, the refusal enhancement may be charged. Refusal could be grounds for increased penalties that include extended length of a license suspension or revocation. In addition, a 9 month alcohol program may be required on a first offense.
Injury: A DUI incident that results in injury to another person could be charged as a felony that is punishable by up to 3 years in California State prison. In addition, that sentence could be extended by one year for each person injured or an additional three years if the person sustains great bodily injury. Furthermore, a longer alcohol program could be required in addition to a higher fine and an extended license suspension period.
Child Endangerment: A child endangerment enhancement could be charged if a minor child, under the age of 14, is in the car at the time of the DUI arrest. This penalty carries the following required consequences:
- First offense: 48 continuous hours in custody
- Second offense: 10 days in custody
- Third offense: 30 days in custody
Speed Enhancement: Under California Vehicle Code Section 23582, a speed enhancement can be charged if a person is driving 20 mph over the speed limit on a street or highway or 30 mph over the speed limit on a freeway, in a reckless manner in addition to driving under the influence. Serving a mandatory sentence of 60 consecutive days in jail will result if the special allegation is not stricken.
A skilled DUI attorney should be contacted immediately upon being arrested for driving under the influence. If one or more of the above sentence enhancements were present during your arrest, it is far more critical to contact an experienced DUI defense attorney to start preparing your defense. Contact the DUI Professor today to help protect your rights and to reduce the consequences associated with your arrest!