Under California Vehicle Code §23578, the state may enhance a DUI penalty if the blood alcohol concentration (BAC) was excessively high or if the defendant refused to submit to a sobriety test. These enhanced punishments can be quite harsh. If you face these charges, it is important to hire an experienced DUI lawyer to help with your defense.
What Is Considered an Excessive BAC?
Driver’s are considered to have an excessive blood alcohol concentration (BAC) once they have reached 0.15%. The legal limit for blood alcohol concentration while driving is below 0.08% in most cases. Once you are over 0.08%, you will be charged with driving under the influence (DUI). A DUI can be charged even if you are below this limit if you show signs of intoxication.
In some instances, the legal limit is lower than 0.08%, like in the case of truck drivers. For commercial truck drivers, the legal limit is half of the normal limit, at 0.04%.
The higher your blood alcohol concentration, the more impaired you become. The more impaired, the greater danger you pose to other motorists and pedestrians. Consequently, courts pose stronger penalties for those found to have been driving with an excessive BAC.
Refusing a Sobriety Test
When a California driver gets their license, they are entering into a contract. Part of this contract is consenting to submit to a chemical test if arrested for a DUI. This agreement is a part of California’s implied consent law under California VC §23612.
An important note about this law is that it only goes into effect after a DUI arrest. If you get stopped on suspicion of DUI and the officer asks you to take a chemical test, you are allowed to decline. However, after they officially place you under arrest, they will once again request that you submit to a chemical test, and this time you are legally required to do so.
Additional Penalties for an Enhancement Under VC §23578
A DUI charge enhanced under California VC §23578 can result in several additional penalties, including:
- Added jail or prison time
- An increased length of your driver’s license suspension
- An ignition interlock device (IID) bein installed in your vehicle
- A longer DUI course
- Increased fines
- Additional community service
- A longer probationary period or tougher probation conditions
To Which Violations Does VC §23578 Apply?
If you are charged with either of these crimes and refused to take a chemical test or recorded a BAC in excess of 0.15%, you can face additional penalties under California Vehicle Code §23578.
Is California VC §23578 Always Enforced?
Sentencing enhancements under California VC §23578 are not always enforced when they are applicable. The use of these enhancements to further punish a defendant after a DUI conviction is left up to the discretion of the court. The language of the law states that these enhanced penalties may be enforced but are not mandatory.
How a DUI Lawyer Can Help You Fight This Charge
When you face a DUI charge with the potential for enhanced penalties under California VC §23578, it is crucial that you hire an experienced DUI attorney. Not only will hiring a DUI lawyer put you in the best position to avoid getting enhanced penalties added to your DUI charge, but it will also give you the best chance at beating the charge outright.
At the Simmrin Law Group, our dedicated team of DUI lawyers works hard to help our clients win their cases or, at least, avoid the harshest penalties for a conviction. Give us a call today or fill out our online contact form to schedule a free, no-obligation consultation. We will review your case and advise you of all your legal options.