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Facing a DUI charge is hard enough, but if your charge involved any possible enhancements, you might find that defending your case is even harder. DUI enhancements refer to any circumstances that surround your case as well as any other laws that you violate while driving under the influence. California Vehicle Code 23152 includes all the enhancements that the prosecution can charge you with in court. In cases that involve injury to another person, the prosecution can use California Vehicle Code 23153.
These codes do not apply in most standard or straightforward cases. In a standard case, an officer may stop your car because you drove erratically and kept weaving across the road. The officer can administer a test to check your blood alcohol content at the scene. Unless your BAC is significantly higher than normal or average, the officer may let you call someone to come and get your car and let you go home. If your BAC registers higher on the scale or you meet any other circumstances, the officer can add enhancements to your charge. With a qualified DUI lawyer in Los Angeles, you can get the help needed to dismiss your case or reduce your total charges.
You can take a look at some of these enhancements and how those enhancements can significantly change your charge.
Refusing to Submit to a Chemical Test
As a California driver with a valid license, it is not mandatory that you submit to a test in the field. These tests can include both a field sobriety test and a breathalyzer. The field sobriety test has you do simple things like reciting the alphabet, walking a straight line and standing on one foot. Officers can also administer a breathalyzer test to get an accurate idea of your BAC. While you can refuse to take either of these tests, the officers can place you in custody and require that you take a second test at the station, which is mandatory.
Refusing to submit to this second test means that the prosecution can add an enhancement to your charge. This gives the court the right to add 48 hours to the time that you spend in jail, which does not include any jail time you serve because of the DUI.
Driving Over the Posted Speed Limit
Drivers must agree to follow the posted speed limit as well as any other signs on the road. Police can pull you over for speeding and realize you are under the influence. If police catch you driving at least 20 miles per hour over the posted speed limit on a city street, you may face a reckless driving charge. Reckless driving charges can also occur because you drove at least 30 miles per hour over the speed limit on the highway. When you face a DUI charge with a speeding enhancement, you risk some additional penalties. The court can sentence you to an extra 60 days in jail and require that you enroll in an alcohol counseling program. These penalties are in addition to any that you receive for the DUI.
Passengers in Your Vehicle
While driving drunk is dangerous, it’s even more dangerous when there are passengers in your vehicle. Any child who is 14 or younger and in your vehicle at the time of your DUI is a minor in the eyes of the court. This can result in you facing a child endangerment charge or another charge because you did not keep that child safe. The court can find you guilty of child endangerment and a DUI for driving under the influence with anyone under the age of 18 in the car. You may need to spend up to 48 hours in jail on top of your other penalties.
The reason that officers do field tests is because they want to know the exact BAC of a driver. This determines the charges leveled against that individual by the prosecution. A higher BAC means that you have less control over your senses and shows a poor sense of judgment on your part. The judge may sentence you to counseling or require that you attend an inpatient or outpatient rehab program.
As the judge in your case has the final say in which enhancements to add to your charge, you should work with a lawyer like the ones at H&M Law to argue on your behalf.