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Aggravating Factors in a California DUI

When a driver is arrested on suspicion of driving under the influence in Orange County, they will usually be charged with a misdemeanor under California 23152(a) or 23152(b).

In California and every other state, it is unlawful for drivers 21 and older to drive with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of .08% or higher. If someone is arrested for DUI in California, the judge will review the facts of the case and determine the driver’s sentencing and penalties.

When the prosecutor and judge examines a case, they will weigh all mitigating and aggravating factors. For example, if the driver’s BAC was a bit under .08%, the prosecution may agree to reduce the DUI charge to a wet reckless, which is favorable for the DUI defendant because the penalties are lower.

In contrast, there are aggravating factors, factors which make the DUI more serious, and the prosecution less willing to be lenient. For instance, the courts frown upon people with an extremely high BAC in their systems, and people who were speeding like maniacs down a residential street while under the influence.

Recognizing the fact that DUIs are not all the same and with pressure from groups, such as Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD), courts across the country enacted stiffer punishments for DUIs involving “aggravating” circumstances or factors.

Aggravating Factors Under California Law

In California, there are several aggravating factors in a DUI case that will lead to stiffer sentencing and penalties, and these include:

  • Having a BAC above 0.15%
  • Refusing to submit to a chemical test (breath, blood or urine)
  • Having a minor passenger under 14-years-of-age
  • Causing injury or death to multiple victims
  • Driving at an excessive speed (more than 20 mph over the speed limit on streets and more than 30 mph on the freeway)
  • Having a previous DUI or felony DUI conviction

If you are facing DUI charges and there were aggravating factors present, such as an elevated BAC or a child passenger, contact the Law Offices of Virginia L. Landry, Inc. right away. When there are aggravating factors present, the penalties are much stiffer and can impact you for much longer than a standard DUI.

Call now for a free consultation with Orange County’s DUI Queen!