DUI Charges and Their Penalties
Under California Vehicle Code 23152, DUI cases are defined as misdemeanor cases. The filing of additional criminal charges can complicate your case, increasing the severity of the charges and their associated penalties. The most common DUI offenses you may be charged with are:
Without any priors within the past ten years, the driver of a motor vehicle was either under the influence of alcohol or drugs (Vehicle Code sections 23152(a) and (e) respectively) and/or they were driving with a .08 or higher blood alcohol content (Vehicle Code section 23152(b).
Drivers with a Class “C” license may be charged with Commercial DUI, a different DUI charge which carries increased penalties, including a mandatory one year suspension of the commercial privilege for a first time DUI offense and a lifetime ban on the ability to obtain/maintain a commercial license when there are 2 or more DUIs.
Drivers arrested for DUI while actively serving a probation term for previous DUI offense are subject to increased sentencing penalties. New DUI offenses are violations of probation, and offenders are subject to harsher punishments by the court. Even if the probation was not DUI-related, picking up a DUI while on probation will violate the terms of any court-ordered probation.
DUI with Children Passengers
If you are arrested for DUI with a child passenger you will likely be charged with a separate misdemeanor or felony offense of child endangerment. As an alternative, you may be charged with a sentencing enhancement to the DUI which would mandate jail time if convicted.
DUI causing Injury
If, while under the influence of alcohol or a controlled substance, you commit a DUI offense resulting in any injury to another person, you may be charged with DUI Causing Injury under California Vehicle Code 23153. DUI with injury requires mandatory jail time if convicted, as well as at least a one year hard suspension of your driving privileges. In the event “great bodily injury” (GBI) is pled and proven, you would be facing up to seven years in state prison and would be subject to having a strike felony conviction on your record. In the event of a death, your charges may be upgraded to vehicular manslaughter or even second degree murder (assuming a prior DUI).