What are the Possible DUI Charges?

DUI possible chargesAfter a driver is arrested for DUI, the case will be referred to the relevant prosecutorial agency that will review the case and make a filing decision. There are a number of different criminal charges and sentencing enhancements that can be filed against DUI drivers depending on the facts of the case and the defendant’s criminal history.

Possible DUI Criminal Charges

Drivers who are under the influence of alcohol are typically charged with two DUI counts; driving under the influence of alcohol in violation of California Vehicle Code Section 23152(a) VC and driving with a blood alcohol content of 0.08 percent or higher pursuant to California Vehicle Code Section 23152(b) VC.

If the driver is suspected of driving under the influence of drugs, he or she can be charged under California Vehicle Code Section 23152(e) VC. Driving under the combined influence of alcohol and drugs is illegal under California Vehicle Code Section 23152(f) VC.

If the driver is involved in a collision that results in an injury to another person, he or she can be charged with DUI causing injury in violation of California Vehicle Code Section 23153 VC. This is a “wobbler” offense that can be charged as either a felony or a misdemeanor, depending on factors such as the extent of the injuries, the number of victims involved and the defendant’s criminal history.

When a DUI collision results in the death of another person, the driver can be charged with vehicular manslaughter under the influence pursuant to California Penal Code Section 191.5(b) PC, which is a wobbler offense, and gross vehicular manslaughter under the influence under California Penal Code Section 191.5(a) PC, which is always a felony. If the defendant had a prior DUI conviction and someone loses his or her lives, he or she can be charged with DUI murder pursuant to California Penal Code Section 187 PC.

DUI Enhancements

There are various enhancements that will add penalties to any underlying DUI conviction. If the defendant had prior DUI convictions occurring within the previous ten years, each prior conviction will lead to increased penalties. A second conviction requires mandatory jail and a third requires a minimum of 120 days in jail. If the defendant has four or more DUI convictions within a ten year period, the fourth can be charged as a felony and the defendant can be sentenced to prison if convicted.

If the driver refused testing, the prosecution can file a refusal enhancement that will result in automatic jail time if convicted. If the defendant had a high BAC, he or she can face additional penalty enhancements. The prosecution can file a .15 or greater enhancement if the driver’s BAC was over .15 percent and can add a .20 or greater enhancement if the defendant’s BAC was that high. If convicted, the defendant may be required to attend a longer DUI alcohol education class as part of his or her sentence.

In addition, there are sentencing enhancements that can be alleged if the defendant was driving over 100 mph pursuant to California Vehicle Code Section 23582 VC or if the defendant had a minor under the age of 14 in the vehicle in violation of California Vehicle Code Section 23572 VC. Both enhancements will add automatic jail time consecutive to any sentence received for the underlying DUI offense.

If you have been charged with a DUI offense, it is imperative that you meet and discuss your case with an experienced DUI attorney as soon as possible. As a former Deputy District Attorney with over 14 years of prosecutorial experience, Michael Kraut understands how to effectively defend clients charged with DUI offenses regardless of what charges are filed.

For more information about possible DUI charges, and to schedule your free consultation, Mr. Kraut can be reached 24/7 at 888-334-6344 or 323-464-6453.

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