Under California law, it is illegal to operate a motor vehicle with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) above .08%. If you are caught driving with a BAC of more than .08%, you will be charged with driving under the influence, or DUI. Getting convicted on a DUI charge can carry serious punishments that can seriously impact all aspects of your life.
The court will consider various factors when assessing the punishment, penalties and fines for a DUI conviction. Factors that are viewed in favor of the defendant can lighten a sentence. Some of these factors, which are generally referred to as mitigating factors, include:
- Clean driving record
- Successful completion of voluntary alcohol education programs
- BAC that was marginally above the .08%
Aggravating Factors in a DUI Case
However, there are also factors that can adversely impact the sentencing for a drunk driving conviction. These factors, referred to as aggravating factors, can show that that the individual convicted of drunk driving has had numerous DUIs. Any aggravating factor can ultimately lead to more serious punishments, or even result in a felony DUI.
Some common aggravating factors that can significantly impact your drunk driving sentencing include:
- Your DUI involved an accident with another car or you caused any type of property damage.
- Your DUI resulting in bodily injury to another party.
- Your blood alcohol content level was at or above a .20%.
- There was a passenger under the age of 14 in your car at the time of your DUI arrest. If so, you may also be charged with child endangerment.
- You refused to submit to a breath or blood test.
- You were on probation at the time of the drunk driving arrest.
- During the DUI traffic stop, you did not have a valid driver’s license.
- You have more 2 or more DUI arrest charges on your record.
- 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 of 21 at the time of your DUI arrest.
- You failed to remain at the scene of an accident, which resulted in a hit and run charge.
If your drunk driving case involves any aggravating factor, the prosecutor will most likely ask the court for a harsher punishment. Additional penalties may include:
- Jail time
- Community service
- Mandatory participation in alcohol education programs
- Higher monetary fines
- Felony charge
Call an Experienced Central Valley DUI Defense Attorney
If you or someone you know has been arrested for a DUI, it is in your best interest to immediately consult with an experienced criminal defense attorney to help you learn your legal rights and options.