In California, as in most states, there are several categories of DUI conviction. Among these are the “Standard” DUI penalties, the “Enhanced” DUI penalties and penalties involving DUI by minors. This post deals specifically with “Enhanced” DUI penalties. For information on the “Standard” DUI penalties check out this article titled California’s DUI Laws and Penalties.
Enhanced DUI Penalties in California
California has instituted a statute containing several Enhanced DUI penalties when certain aggravating factors exist at the time of the DUI arrest. Factors which generally merit an Enhanced DUI penalty include (1) prior DUI convictions, (2) a high Blood Alcohol Content, (3) refusal to submit to chemical testing, (4) speeding or reckless driving, (5) child endangerment, and (6) accident or injury are involved.
Prior DUI Convictions
If you have been convicted of DUI within the previous ten (10) years, the minimum jail sentence, DUI school, and license suspension are increased. If you have been convicted twice within the previous ten (10) years the penalties are increased further. Three (3) prior convictions will result in felony charges (punishable by state prison).
High Blood Alcohol Content
California imposes an enhanced sentence when your BAC is .15 or higher.
Refusal to Submit to Chemical Testing
Should you refuse to submit to chemical testing, your jail term will be increased in addition to the administrative suspension for your refusal.
Speeding or Reckless Driving
In California you will receive an enhanced penalty when you are caught DUI and driving twenty (20) mph over the speed limit on a surface street or thirty (30) mph over the limit on a freeway.
In California, you will receive an enhanced DUI penalty if you are caught driving under the influence with an individual under the age of fourteen (14) in the car.
Accident or Injury
If you injure someone while DUI, your DUI may be considered a felony.