"Hardcore drunk drivers," what are they and how are cases like
this handled? The National Transportation Safety Board has identified
two classes of drunk drivers: regular offenders and "hardcore"
When someone is arrested for driving under the influence (DUI) with a
blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of .08% and it is their first offense, it’s considered a simple DUI.
On the other hand, if the driver has a BAC of 0.15% or above, or if it’s
their second or subsequent DUI offense, they may be classified as a “hardcore
In California and virtually every other state, hardcore DUI offenders face
stiffer penalties than those arrested with a lower BAC, or for a
first DUI offense. But, this is the state’s approach to criminal offenses
in general: the penalties get steeper for each subsequent offense. This
is understandable since the state is making an effort to deter criminal activity.
Penalty Enhancements for Aggravated DUI
As we mentioned above, there are harsher penalties for those arrested for
aggravated DUI (0.15% BAC or higher), and they include: mandatory ignition
interlock device (IID) installation, increased license suspension periods,
enhanced fines and jail time.
When you were arrested for DUI, did you have a high BAC? If so, an aggravated
DUI charge such as this could label you as a hardcore offender. California
also has a 10 year look back period when it comes to DUIs. Repeat DUI
offenders are those that have multiple drunk driving convictions within
a 10 year period.
The NTSB has issued 11 recommendations to get hardcore drunk drivers off
of the roads. Some of these recommendations have been adopted in various
states, and others have not. To reduce the number of hardcore drunk drivers
on the roads, the NTSB recommends:
- Frequent DUI checkpoints in various locations throughout each state
- Develop programs geared at identifying people who drive on suspended/revoked licenses
More clearly define repeat DUI offenders as anyone
arrested for this type of offense within ten years of a prior arrest
- Increase penalties for aggravated (0.15%+) DUI offenders
- Implement or more effectively enforce administrative license revocation
- Refuse to allow plea bargains in intoxicated driving cases
- Do not allow for alcohol or drug diversion programs
- Establish sanction programs to conduct random testing, mandatory assessment
and treatment of hard core DUI offenders
- Utilize or implement vehicle sanctions such as impoundment and IID installation
- Allow for alternatives to jail sentences, such as home monitoring
- Demand all DUI offenders to retain a zero BAC at all times
If you were arrested for a DUI or aggravated DUI in Orange County, know
that the state of California does not require as law all of these recommendations
made by the NTSB.
Orange County’s law enforcement agencies do enforce frequent DUI
checkpoints and penalties are greater for aggravated offenders, but things
such as plea bargaining and diversion programs may still be options in
If you would like to learn more,
contact an Orange County DUI lawyer at our firm today!