Driving with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) over the legal limit of 0.08 percent is a crime in California. Anyone arrested and charged with a DUI in California faces some of the toughest punishments in the country. License suspension, fines and even jail time are all part of the consequences you may face if arrested and charged with a DUI.
As bad as these penalties are, did you know that there are ways you can make DUI charges even worse? In California, there are aggravating factors that will result in even harsher penalties and consequences. If any of these factors apply to your case, you need an experienced and skilled Oakland DUI attorney in your corner from the start.
What are aggravating factors in a California DUI?
There are numerous factors that can result in sentencing enhancements. Some of those enhancements include felony charges, increased time in jail and higher fines. They can also include longer probation and a longer suspension of your driver's license.
Some aggravating factors include, but are not limited to:
- Previous DUI conviction. If you have a previous felony DUI conviction or previous DUI convictions, you may face serious penalties. These include longer time in jail and higher fines.
- Excessive BAC. If the driver's blood alcohol concentration is over 2x the legal limit, the courts are more likely to impose harsher punishments.
- Excessive speeding. In California, exceeding the speed limit by at least 30 mph while driving drunk will result in enhanced penalties. California law allows for 60 days to be tacked onto the sentence as a condition of probation.
- Refusal to submit to chemical testing. In California, all drivers must submit a chemical test of their breath or blood if they are suspected of DUI. Failure to submit this test can result in enhanced punishment, such as the automatic loss of your license.
- Accident causing bodily injury. If you cause an accident that results in bodily injury, you may face felony charges.
- Child or minor in the car. If you drive under the influence with a passenger in the car that is under the age of 14, you may face additional jail time. You can also face additional charges, such as child endangerment.
When determining DUI penalties, the court examines all of the factors surrounding the DUI. In addition to enhanced penalties, these aggravating factors could result in additional criminal charges. Some of the additional charges you could face include:
- Hit and run charges
- Reckless driving charges
- Child endangerment charges
- Vehicular manslaughter
Due to the severity of these charges and the punishments you face, contacting an experienced DUI lawyer is critical. Your attorney will need to advocate on your behalf for reduced sentences and longer probation in lieu of jail time.