It is unlawful to operate a motor vehicle in California, as well as the rest of the United States, with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) above .08%. Driving with a BAC over .08% is classified as driving under the influence, or DUI. A DUI conviction can carry punishments that vary in jail time and seriousness. Courts consider many factors, and the specific circumstances of the case when they determine what punishment an individual convicted of DUI will face. Factors that are viewed in favor of the defendant can lighten the sentence the individual is facing. The factors that lighten the sentence are called mitigating factors. Some mitigating factors include a clean driving record, successful completion of voluntary alcohol education programs, or a BAC that was marginally above a .08% and may show the court that the DUI was a one-time incident. By successfully showing the court that the individual’s DUI was an isolated incident, the court may show leniency when sentencing the individual. However, there are factors that can adversely affect the sentencing for the defendant. These factors may show that this DUI may be more severe than a normal DUI case, or may show the individual has had many previous DUIs. These factors are called aggravating factors and can lead to more serious punishments being handed down, as well as lead to a felony DUI in some cases.
Absent aggravating factors, a first offense DUI will not require the individual to serve jail time. Each court in each county has the discretion to assign different levels of importance to the interpretation of the aggravating factors. Having a skilled and experienced attorney like the ones at the Orange County DUI Attorney Law Firm, can provide you with the best defense by their extensive knowledge at how to handle various DUI cases and provide a well tailored strategy to best serve your specific case’s needs.
Aggravating factors that can affect your sentencing can include the subsequent circumstances:
- Your DUI involved an accident with another vehicle or you caused property damage.
- You injured somebody while you were driving under the influence.
- Your BAC level was at or above a .20%.
- During the DUI you had a passenger under the age of 14.
- This may sometimes result in a child endangerment charge.
- You refused to submit to a breath or blood test.
- You were on probation at the time you were arrested for DUI.
- During the DUI traffic stop, you did not have a CA driver’s license, or it was suspended, invalid, or rescinded.
- You were previously arrested 2 or 3 times for DUI.
- The manner you were driving was reckless or you were driving at an excessive speed (25 to 30 mph above the speed limit).
- You were under the legal drinking age (21) at the time of your arrest.
- You fled the scene of an accident and a hit and run charge was brought against you.
The aforementioned factors are aggravating factors that can lead to far more serious punishments imposed on you by the courts than those you would face in a normal DUI case. The consequences stemming from an aggravated DUI can affect an individual’s professional and personal life. It is important to hire the right attorney, one who can make sure that you are not subjected to more serious punishments than your case requires. The attorneys at the Orange County DUI Attorney Law Firm have the skill and experience to ensure that you have the best defense for your case, and will get you the best possible outcome for your case.
Other Penalties for Aggravated DUI Convictions
Usually, for a first or second DUI offense, the case can be settled during the plea bargaining phase of the case. However, if the case involves an aggravating factor, the prosecutor will most likely seek more penalties against you. Additional penalties may include jail time, community service, and mandatory participation in alcohol education programs, higher fines, or a felony charge.
The aggravating factors that DUI cases usually include are listed below. This article is meant to educate you on what an individual can expect in an aggravated DUI case.
DUI Including an Accident
Most of the time, a DUI case includes an accident with another car or an accident resulting in property damage. If you have been charged with DUI and it involved an accident in Orange County, your case may be prosecuted in a different manner depending on what court has jurisdiction to hear your case. Regardless, an aggravated DUI can carry very serious punishments such as, higher fines or more public service work. Our attorneys at the Orange County DUI Attorney Law Firm have the experience in dealing with all types of DUI cases, and are familiar with the way the court handles these cases. Our lawyers will ensure to handle your case in order to get you the best possible outcome.
DUI Resulting In Bodily Injury or Great Bodily Injury
A DUI that results in bodily injury to another person is usually the most severe DUI case and can be even more overwhelming. A DUI where bodily injury is involved can be charged as a felony or misdemeanor. If your DUI resulted in bodily injury to another person, you may be charged with a misdemeanor and can face a punishment of driver’s license suspension of 1 year, as well as, a minimum of 5 days in county jail.
A felony DUI charge can be brought if the injury to the other person is seen as “great bodily injury” (GBI). The decision determining if bodily injury or GBI occurred is usually dependent on the specific circumstances of the case. The biggest factors in deciding if an injury can be classified as GBI are, how serious the injury is, victim’s amount of pain suffered, and the level of medical treatment that the victim will need. If a court determines the accident caused a GBI to the other person, and a felony DUI charge is brought against you, you can face a sentence of 16 months in a state prison. Your sentence may also include restitution for the victim(s), paying the damages resulting from the accident, and/ or repaying the county for the expenses it acquired to investigate your accident. The attorneys at the Orange County DUI Attorney Law Firm have experience handling bodily injury DUI cases, and are capable of handling the hearings, court appearances, and restitution that your case may require. We will dedicate ourselves to mitigate your punishments at every phase of your case to get you the best possible result.
DUI Involving a Passenger Under the Age of 14
A more severe sentence may be imposed on you if your DUI included a passenger under the age of 14 in your vehicle. The punishment that may be imposed on you can be more jail time, anywhere from 48 hours to 90 days, depending on your previous DUI history, if applicable. On top of an increased jail sentence, the state of California can bring a child endangerment charge against you. The charge of child endangerment can be charged as a felony or misdemeanor, and may result in an increased sentence of up to 6 years in a state prison.
Refusing to Submit to a Breath or Blood Test Following Your DUI Arrest
Most California drivers are unaware that when they receive their driver’s license, they have implicitly given their consent to submit to a breath or blood test if arrested for DUI. No matter, a DUI arrestee can still refuse to submit to a breath or blood test. An individual may think that refusing to take the breath or blood test may be in their best interest, but it is important to remember that doing so can lead to more severe punishments. Refusing to take either test can lead to 48 hours in the county jail or participation in a required alcohol program for 9 months. Moreover, the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) can impose a 1-year suspension of your driver’s license. If you chose to refuse either test, make sure that your lawyer knows the law and is capable of protecting your rights. Here, at the Orange County DUI Attorney Law Firm, our attorneys will dedicate their time to ensure your rights are not infringed upon during your DUI case.
DUI Arrest During Probation Period
Usually, if a person operates a motor vehicle after drinking any amount of alcohol during their probation, it is considered a probation violation and it does not matter if the individual’s BAC is under the legal limit. If you were arrested for DUI during your probation, you will most likely have to appear at a probation violation hearing, as well as your DUI hearing. A violation of the terms and conditions of your probation can result in jail time. A condition of your probation for a previous DUI probably included not driving a motor vehicle with any amount of alcohol in your system and a violating that condition can lead to your license being suspended for an additional year. The lawyers at our firm have had much success in handle these types of DUI cases and will be at your side for any hearings to help get you the best outcome possible. Our lawyers will also work to make sure that the terms and conditions of your original probation are reinstated.
Having a Suspended or Expired License During a DUI Arrest
You may face additional penalties if you were arrested for DUI when your driver’s license was suspended, or expired, or if you were never issued a California driver’s license. If this describes your case, the prosecutor may ask the court to impose a jail sentence of 48 hours. The attorneys at the Orange County DUI Attorney Law Firm specialize in DUI and criminal defense. Let our attorneys handle your DUI case involving any aggravating factors. Our attorneys will work to help you avoid any jail time and get you the best possible outcome for your case.
DUI Arrest Involving a Suspended or Restricted License Following a Previous DUI (VC14601.2)
If you were arrested for DUI when your license was suspended due to a previous DUI, the court may impose more severe penalties. If your driver’s license was suspended as a result of a previous DUI and you are charged with California Vehicle Code 14601.2, the prosecutor can look to impose the penalties of at least 10 days in jail, higher fines, and requiring an ignition interlock device (IID) in your vehicle.
DUI Involving Driving Recklessly, or at an Excessive Speed
The prosecution can charge you pursuant California Vehicle Code 23582, if at the time of your DUI arrest, you were driving 30 miles per hour above the highway speed limit, or 20 mph on a residential street, AND driving recklessly. The court may impose a 60-day jail sentence if you were driving at an excessive speed and driving recklessly because it puts the public, as well as, people’s property in danger.
DUI Involving a Hit and Run
Sometimes, a driver will leave the scene of an accident when the driver is afraid because the driver has been driving with alcohol in his or her system. Orange County aggressively prosecutes DUI cases involving property damage and where the driver left the scene of the accident. If a driver is considered responsible for a hit and run, two points will be added to the driver’s driving record, in addition to the two points added for the DUI arrest. The four points added to an individual’s driving record can lead to a 6-month suspension of a person’s driver’s license because the individual will be considered a “negligent operator.” If your DUI arrest includes a hit and run charge, we recommend you contact the Orange County DUI Attorney Law Firm, so that our attorneys can increase your chances of avoiding jail time and higher fines. Our experienced attorneys can help in mitigating the points added to your driving record, which can result in avoiding your license being suspended
The Orange County DUI Attorney Law Firm Will Prevent Any Infringement of Your Rights
In the usual DUI cases, the specific circumstances control the case. Hiring an experienced attorney who specializes in DUI defense can make a significant difference. Our attorneys understand, and can devote the time necessary to look at the specific facts of your case and apply them in a way that will work to your benefit. The lawyers at the Orange County DUI Attorney Law Firm are here to help you, and we will dedicate in getting you the best possible outcome.
If you, or a loved one has been arrested for DUI and the case includes any of the aforementioned aggravating factors, call the Orange County DUI Attorney Law Firm at 949-377-2280 to schedule your FREE consultation with a law firm that specializes in DUI cases.