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What Factors Can Aggravate A DUI Offense In California?


In many counties throughout the state of California, there are several factors that can result in enhancements for DUI, such as a blood alcohol concentration at or above 0.15, having a minor in the vehicle (there are extra charges if the minor is under the age of 14), the occurrence of an accident and/or injuries to another person, and refusal of a chemical test.

Consequences of a DUI enhancement include lengthier DUI school requirements and additional charges. A conviction of a refusal allegation may result in a one-year license suspension. In Marin County, we have had a great deal of success in fighting refusal allegations and persuading the district attorney to dismiss these cases. Depending on the arresting agency and how the case plays out, it may be possible to obtain a normal .08 concentration DUI hearing instead of a refusal hearing. This charge is accompanied by a six-month ignition interlock device requirement and a restricted license (instead of a full one-year license suspension).

A first-time DUI conviction typically results in about $2,000 in fines (payment plans are allowed), a three-year unsupervised probationary period, two days in jail, and DUI school, which can usually be done through the adult work offender program. The maximum penalty for a first-time DUI conviction is six months in jail, which means that if a person were to violate probation, that’s the consequence they would face. Second-time DUI convictions are accompanied by higher fines (around $2,600), lengthier probationary periods, and multiple offender DUI school.

If a person receives a DUI in Marin County and is required to attend DUI school, they will be allowed to do so in the county where they live. Many people who receive a DUI in Marin County do no reside here, but are simply passing through or visiting the wine country. Historically, DUI school had to be attended in person, but with the recent COVID-19 pandemic, some schools have been authorized by the state of California to hold their classes through Zoom or other online platforms. If anyone is having a difficult time getting into or contacting a DUI school program, they would be well-advised to contact their DUI lawyer.

In Marin County, a second DUI conviction generally results in a minimum of 15 days in jail, unless other enhancements apply or the individual is still on probation from their first DUI. If an individual has received a second DUI within 10 years of the first, then they may be required to serve four days in jail, followed by entrance into an adult offender work program. There are some exceptions to this that have come out over the last year or so, particularly with regard to immigration cases. For example, in Emery County, the district attorney has been willing to allow certain offenders to avoid jail time in exchange for a sheriff’s work program or home detention for the purposes of allowing these offenders to avoid being picked up by ICE while in custody.

The maximum penalty for a second or third DUI is up to one year in jail, and there must be proof of the offender’s vehicle having been impounded for 48 hours (showing proof of this is not difficult, and I am happy to discuss how to do this with any interested client). While on probation for a second DUI offense, the use, possession, and/or transportation of alcohol is prohibited. An ignition interlock device will be required for one year; proof of having obtained and installed the device in the vehicle is required within 30 days. Oftentimes, multiple DUI offenders will be required to attend a certain number of AA or self-help meetings per week for a certain number of weeks. Additionally, an alcohol treatment program may be required.

Many penalties for DUI offenses can be negotiated by an experienced DUI lawyer in Marin County. For example, if someone received a 29-day sentence in jail, a deal could be worked out that would allow the offender to apply that time to the probationary requirement and work program, as well as waive what are called half-time credits. If there were no enhancements, this would mean the offender would be given a 15-day sentence in jail, serve only 96 hours in custody, and participate in the work program to fulfill the remainder of the sentence.

In essence, this is a non-custodial offer that allows the offender to waive their half-time credits and serve more of their sentence in the work program. Fortunately, the probation office is generally agreeable to allowing offenders to participate in the work program on the weekends or days when they do not work. Approximately 50 hours of community service are usually added to the sentence.

In some cases, an offender might be able to enter a residential treatment program for one or two months and avoid serving 96 hours in custody. However, this is something that the district attorney has historically been very unwilling to allow.

For more information on Aggravating Factors For DUI Offenses, a FREE case evaluation is your next best step. Get the information and legal answers you’re seeking by calling (415) 523-7878 today.

Aaron Bortel

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