What Factors Will Enhance Or Aggravate A DUI Charge?
Different factors can aggravate or enhance a DUI charge, meaning the prosecutor can and usually will want greater punishment. For example, a simple DUI is driving under the influence, with no aggravating factors, no car accident, no hit and run, no children in the backseat when you were driving. These are some of the aggravating factors that the prosecutor will consider when deciding whether or not to go after a greater punishment. This is in addition to an accident with or without an injury, or prior convictions for DUI which will also aggravate a new DUI charge. An additional aggravating factor is excessive blood alcohol level. If your blood alcohol level is .15 to .19 the law requires a longer alcohol program of six months. If it is .20 or higher, the law requires a 9-month alcohol program. In addition, the prosecutor will generally seek more jail time or other punishment because of your excessive blood alcohol level.
What Happens After Someone Is Arrested For A DUI And Taken To The Police Station?
When you’re arrested for DUI and taken to the police station it’s important to remember that you have a right to an attorney. You don’t have to answer any questions. You don’t have to be impolite or uncivil; simply say, “I want to speak with my attorney.” You should not talk about anything else; not when you started or stopped drinking, what you ate, where you were, nothing. Police officers are not required to read you your Miranda rights when they pull you over because you’re not in custody at this point; it’s just detention for investigation.
When they arrest you, they’ll take you to the police station, and book you into jail. How long they keep you depends upon your level of alcohol and also your behavior. Liability is too great, however, to let you go on the street because of the chance that you will get back into your car while you’re intoxicated and injure yourself or someone else. They will book you, which means they will take your fingerprints and photographs and put you in a jail cell so that you can sober up after which they will either release you or require you to post bail. How long you remain in jail will depend on your level of intoxication and whether bail is required. They’ll allow you to make phone calls. Sometimes they’ll draw your blood at the station. They will have a registered nurse come in and draw the blood from your arm for purposes of testing.
You will then be placed into a jail cell commonly referred to as the “drunk tank.” Usually, you will not be the only person there; you will keep company with other people waiting to get bailed out or released. Many times people in custody will call a family member to bail them out. Generally speaking, on your first time, you’re not going to need to be bailed out. It’s better to save the money and not spend it on bail so that you can be released on your own recognizance. This decision will be based upon your personal needs, such as having to get to work. You may also wish to call your attorney from jail.
You can call an attorney when you are released. My recommendation is that while in jail just ask for an attorney. There should be no further questions of you from that point onward unless you begin the conversation. Please don’t. Just think to yourself, “I’m not going to have any kind of conversation. I’m not going to answer any questions about the DUI and my driving, where I started drinking, when I stopped drinking, or how much I drank.” Just wait your time until you can be released and then call the attorney.
What Are The Penalties For First Time, Second, Third For DUI Convictions?
The penalties for multiple DUI convictions are going to range depending on how many DUI’s that you have already been charged with. There are statutory penalties, which means your fine is fixed by statute. Everybody arrested for a first time DUI is going to get the same punishment unless there are aggravating circumstances such as accident, children in the car, or excessive blood alcohol. If you don’t have any of the aggravating factors, your penalties are going to be a fine set by statute, which is currently $390 plus penalty assessment. In Orange County, you will be required to attend a Victim Impact course, which is a 1-day class where you watch videos and hear victims of car accidents, in an effort to educate people about the dangers of driving under the influence and the lives lost and affected by driving under the influence.
There will be a required DUI school varying in length for a first time DUI from three months to nine months depending on your blood alcohol level. The fines and fees come out to around twenty-five hundred dollars. You’ll also have three years of informal probation during which time you’re not to violate any laws, drive with any measurable amount of alcohol in your system, and you must complete all court requirements: pay all your fines and fees, and complete all your classes. You’ll also have a problem with the DMV, which runs an administrative proceeding separate from the criminal case where they will begin the process of suspending your license.
The burden of proof at the DMV hearing is much lower than the criminal case and they will almost always suspend you after a first DUI. The license will be “hard suspended” for 30 days under the old system, meaning absolutely no driving for any reason. After the passage of 30 days, you will be permitted to drive on a restricted license, provided that you have enrolled in the required alcohol school, obtained an SR-22 from your insurance carrier and paid the DMV fee. Beginning in January 2019 the law regarding suspended licenses changed; now your license won’t be suspended for 30 days as long as you go to the Department of Motor Vehicles, show them proof of insurance through an SR-22, pay the DMV fee, and get an ignition interlock device on your vehicle. You will be able to drive your vehicle through the term of the suspension for six months without any restriction except that you must have that ignition interlock device in the vehicle, which means blowing into it every time that you are prompted when driving to test your blood alcohol concentration.
On a second and third DUI, your license suspension goes up to 18 months. The ignition interlock is restricted though you still have an opportunity to get it. Fines are essentially the same as are the other requirements. The alcohol programs are longer; you get 18 months of school and your probation can be three to five years. The court and the D.A. in Orange County will want to punish you more severely than a first time DUI if the second time is within a 10 year period of time from your first. Different counties will handle their sentencing in different ways. Orange County second-time offenders can expect a D.A. offer of 60 to 90 days in jail depending on the circumstances. For a third time DUI, it’s not uncommon for the Orange County DA to seek between 150 to 180 days in jail.
If you get a fourth DUI within a 10 year period, Orange County will file the case as a felony. They will seek a 16-month state prison term. If you are involved in a DUI and have an accident and someone is killed in that accident, Orange County will charge you with murder, which carries a state prison sentence of 15 years to life.
For more information on Aggravating Factors For DUI Charges In CA, a personal case evaluation is your next best step. Get the information and legal answers you are seeking by calling (714) 769-1200 today.