Enhancement Penalties for California DUI Charges
Enhancements to a DUI charge are aggravating circumstances that take the charge over and above a basic DUI charge. When an enhancement situation exists, the law provides prosecutors with the opportunity to ask for increased penalties or sanctions for those convicted of driving under the influence.
For example, if you are arrested for a DUI and found driving 20 mph over the speed limit on a city street, or 30 mph over the speed limit on a highway, the penalty enhancement is a mandatory 60-day jail sentence. This jail time is in addition to any other DUI penalties that are imposed, which may include a fine or an alcohol treatment program.
Examples of DUI Enhancements
In California, the penalties for DUI are complex and influenced by special factors (enhancements). Some of the most common enhancements to a DUI charge are:
High blood alcohol level (0.14 or above) Accident with injury Prior DUI conviction within the last 10 years Child endangerment Being under the influence of both drugs and alcohol
While the basic blood alcohol level to be charged with a DUI is 0.08%, California Vehicle Code Section 23578 allows for enhanced punishment levels if you are found to have a blood alcohol level of .15% or higher.
“…the court shall consider a concentration of alcohol in the person’s blood of 0.15 percent or more, by weight, or the refusal of the person to take a chemical test, as a special factor that may justify enhancing the penalties in sentencing, in determining whether to grant probation, and, if probation is granted, in determining additional or enhanced terms and conditions of probation.”
Being proactive in your defense by identifying these types of circumstances early after a DUI arrest allows a knowledgeable DUI attorney to mitigate the risk of a DUI enhancement.
How We Help Our DUI Clients
Our experience as skilled DUI defense attorneys helps us figure out creative alternatives to jail time for our clients. We can show the prosecutor that a client is taking steps to get help early by entering an inpatient or outpatient alcohol treatment program, attending AA meetings, or even getting psychological counseling. These are powerful solutions to help our clients mitigate the damages of a DUI enhancement in the eyes of the judge and prosecutor.
We may also try to show that the DUI is out of character for the client. For example, if there are no priors but the client is dealing with specific personal issues, such as a divorce or death in the family, we can make the case that the behavior is not typical.
If you are charged with a DUI, and facing an enhancement of the charge, it is important to speak with an experienced DUI lawyer right away. At Hoffman & Associates, we have over 30 years of experience in successfully defending DUI cases for our clients. We offer a phone or office consultation to discuss your case, so contact us at 323-655-3900 and put our DUI expertise to work for you.