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Los Angeles DUI with a Property Damage Enhancement

If you were charged with a DUI that came with a property damage enhancement in Los Angeles, it means that you caused damage to another vehicle, a home, a business or government property. Many people wonder if they will face jail time with an enhanced DUI charge. Although jail is more likely with an enhanced charge, it is not inevitable in all cases.

Penalties For DUI With Property Damage Enhancement In Los Angeles

One of the biggest detriments associated with an enhanced DUI is that a plea bargain is not common. For a regular DUI charge, a prosecutor will usually offer you a plea deal. If it is your first offense, you may get a deal that includes probation, corrective education and fines without any jail sentence. However, even a first-time DUI conviction with a property damage enhancement could come with the following penalties:

  • A bigger fine
  • A longer jail sentence
  • Extensive education requirements
  • More treatment programs
  • Victim impact panel participation
  • Paying for property damages

Most people who are convicted of a DUI with a property damage enhancement are ordered to complete a large number of community service hours. They are usually assigned to work with CalTRANS, which translates into cleaning up trash along the Los Angeles freeways.

What Determines A Sentence?

Since each case is unique, the judge considers several factors. If you have prior criminal convictions or any previous DUI convictions, you are more likely to spend time in jail. Also, the judge considers the severity of the property damage. If you have a previous DUI conviction, drive your vehicle into a storefront and destroy expensive merchandise, you are more likely to receive a jail sentence. However, if you do not have a criminal record when you drive up over a curb and destroy a small flowerbed on someone’s residential property, the judge is not as likely to send you to jail. The ideal plan of action is to hire a private defense attorney who can build the strongest case in your favor.

What Makes The Enhancement Worse?

It is bad enough to get a property damage enhancement whether it is small or significant damage. You can rest assured that you will have to pay more to compensate for those damages. However, you may have additional charges if you leave the scene of the accident. For example, if a traffic camera records footage of you hitting another car and driving away shortly before you are arrested for driving under the influence, the prosecutor may issue a DUI charge with a property damage enhancement as well as a hit and run.

Keep in mind that the DUI property damage enhancement can be further escalated even if you do not leave the scene. Imagine that you hit another car after running a red light. The driver and passenger are injured, and you stop to provide your insurance and contact information. You cannot be charged with a hit and run. However, you could expect a felony DUI charge in such an instance since the two people were injured. Also, you would likely be ordered to pay victim restitution.

What To Do After A DUI Accident With Property Damage

If you know that you may be intoxicated and cause an accident, do not admit fault at the scene. People who do this limit any possibilities of seeing reduced charges or lighter sentencing. Provide your insurance and contact information, and do not answer questions about fault from any party. You can decline and ask to speak with an attorney first. As soon as possible after a DUI arrest, contact a private defense attorney. Remember that a felony comes with negative repercussions such as difficulty finding employment, renting or gaining professional certifications. Hiring a private defense attorney in Los Angeles is the best way to protect yourself from harsher penalties for a DUI charge with a property damage enhancement.

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