Law enforcement in California has ramped up its awareness and enforcement of driving under the influence so much so that DUI is now one of the more commonly charged criminal offenses in the state. The least serious DUI charge with mitigating factors results in fines, license suspension and probation. However, if the circumstances of your DUI arrest indicate the presence of aggravating factors, you face increased penalties, a higher charge and perhaps even jail time.
California law provides for a range of possible sentencing for the same offense. Mitigating factors, while not excusing the offense, make the crime seem less serious. Factors in mitigation that a Walnut Creek DUI lawyer may argue include such things as a first time DUI, a blood alcohol level barely over the 0.08 legal limit, an interaction of alcohol with properly prescribed medication and an otherwise spotless driving record. Aggravating factors are those that make the act of DUI even more dangerous and include some of the following.
A BAC of 0.20 or greater for drivers 21 years or over is considered extreme. By statute, a Napa DUI lawyer can explain that a driver in California is per se impaired with a BAC of 0.08, and there is a commonly held belief by lawmakers that an extreme DUI is likely to lead to a serious accident or fatality and should be punished accordingly.
Minor in the Vehicle
If you are convicted of DUI with a child less than 14 years of age in the car, you face child endangerment charges. The potential penalties include up to 30 days in jail plus one year of parenting classes.
Current California law requires the district attorney to look at your driving record for the past 10 years; each additional DUI brings increasingly harsher penalties.
If you are charged with exceeding the speed limit by 20 mph or more, you may be charged with excessive speeding or reckless driving. However, the reckless driving charge must be proved by some evidence other than merely the excessive speed.
Driving with a Suspended License
If your driving privilege was suspended and you were stopped for DUI, you face additional penalties regarding your license suspension that could include license revocation. If the reason your license was suspended was due to a prior DUI charge, you will be facing a multiple DUI charge as well.
DUI Accident or Hit and Run
Other than the consequences you will face for getting into an accident or leaving the scene after an accident, a Napa DUI lawyer will caution that such occurrences provide further evidence that you were in fact intoxicated. Depending on the nature of the accident and whether injury or death resulted, you could be facing felony DUI charges.
Chemical Test Refusal
California has what is known as an implied consent law, which means that as a condition of driving, you agree to submit to a chemical test to determine your BAC if you are arrested incident to a DUI. It is important to distinguish this legal requirement from a breath test you are asked to submit to prior to arrest. That test, as well as the field sobriety tests you may be asked to submit to, is voluntary.
A driver less than 21 years of age with a BAC of 0.01 or more faces at least a one year license suspension and penalties for underage drinking.
Contact a Walnut Creek DUI Lawyer for Legal Advice
There is a common misconception that DUI charges are indefensible; nothing could be further from the truth. Explore the options you may have in your case; call Blackie Burak, a Walnut Creek DUI lawyer, at (925) 933-4500 .