If you are facing a California DUI charge and your blood alcohol concentration (BAC) is above .15%, you are facing an aggravated DUI charge. After a conviction for aggravated DUI, you may receive severe consequences. When facing charges for aggravated DUI, it is important to have an attorney to fight on your behalf. An attorney can identify weak areas in the prosecution's case and help you to come up with a strong defense.  You should not attempt to fight on your own because the prosecutor may overwhelm you with strong evidence against you. If you are currently facing charges under VC23578 DUI Over .15%, we at the Orange County DUI Defense Attorney Law Firm can help you fight the charges. 

DUI Over .15% Offense under California Law

In California, the law classified DUI offenses based on the risks of injuries and accidents. If you are operating a vehicle with a high blood alcohol concentration, you are more likely to cause an accident. By causing an accident, you may end up inflicting injuries or even killing other innocent road users. It is a crime to operate a vehicle with a BAC of 0.08% or more in California. Therefore, if you have a BAC of .15%, you are almost twice the legal BAC limit, and you will face enhanced DUI penalties. The California Vehicle Code 23578 outlines the possible sentences that drivers with a BAC of .15% or more are likely to face. The court may assume that you have a BAC of .15% or more if your DUI test results reveal so. The court may also assume a case of aggravated DUI if you refuse to submit to a breath or urine test. 

The California Vehicle Code 23578 allows the court to impose enhanced penalties in DUI cases where a driver records an excessive BAC and where the driver refuses to submit to a DUI test.  You may be guilty of test refusal if you refuse to under a DUI breath test and if you refuse to undergo a DUI urine test.  The law states that if you are accused of violation of VC23153 or 23152, the court shall consider that your blood alcohol concentration is above .15% if you refuse to submit to a DUI test. This assumption by the court may justify enhancing the penalties during sentencing. This assumption will also determine if the court grants you probation sentencing. The assumption will also influence the enhanced or additional terms and conditions of probation that the court will impose on you.

Consequences for DUI over .15% Charge

In California, a general DUI offense supported by BAC results is referred to as a "per se DUI" offense. When measuring BAC, several factors may determine the amount of alcohol that you can consume to be legally drunk. The conditions may include medical conditions like diabetes and the amount of alcohol that you consume. When you operate a vehicle with a BAC of over .15%, you will face harsher penalties than you would for a normal DUI charge. If you commit a first-time DUI offense in California, the charges imposed may include suspension of your driver's license for four months. The court may also require you to attend DUI classes for not less than three months.

If you commit an offense under Vehicle Code 23578, you may face enhanced penalties, and your charges may increase to license suspension for six months. The court may also impose on your DUI school for nine months. Other enhanced charges may include serving longer jail time in a California county jail. You may also have to pay more hefty fines than for a normal DUI offense. You may also have to serve longer probation period, and while on probation, you may face more severe terms of probation. Terms of probation may include performing community service and being subject to random alcohol and drug testing. 

It is important to note that the enhanced penalties that come with having a BAC of .15% or more apply to first times DUI offense and subsequent DUI offenses.  The court may apply the penalties for DUI of over .15% if you are convicted for driving under the influence, according to VC 23152. The court may also impose penalties for aggravated DUI if you are facing a conviction for DUI causing injury as outlined under VC23153. You may violate the California VC23152 if you operate a motor vehicle while under the influence, and you have a BAC of .08% or more. If you violate VC23152 and you refuse to submit to a DUI test, the court may automatically assume that you had a BAC of .15% or more. Being under the influence means that alcohol has impaired your physical and mental abilities to the extent that you can no longer drive cautiously the way a sober person would.

The court may also assume excessive BAC if you commit a crime under VC 23153, and you refuse to submit to a DUI test. You may violate VC23153 if you operate a vehicle under the influence, and you cause bodily injury to another person due to your intoxication. You may face enhanced DUI charges if you are under the influence of alcohol, drugs, or a combination of both alcohol and drugs. 

The court may not always enhance your penalties when you drive under the influence or in the case of DUI causing injury. The California statute states that recording excessive BAC and refusal to submit to DUI testing are the special factors that may enhance the penalties during DUI sentencing.  This means that the court is not under any obligation to impose tougher penalties in all cases. Instead, the court may choose to punish you with harsher penalties. In other words, the court is free to use its discretion when imposing enhanced penalties for DUI. This means that with proper defense, the court may reduce your penalties even after committing an offense of driving with DUI of .15% or more. 

If you are a first-time offender, the jury may require you to install an ignition interlock device in your vehicle for up to three years. If you are a first time offender with a BAC of .15% or more, you may have to participate in a probation program.  The persons or the institutions facilitating the probation must be court-approved and licensed.  You must also undertake DUI counseling and classes from licensed practitioners.

While you are on probation, you have to adhere to conditions of probation. For instance, you should not commit an additional crime or drive under the influence of alcohol while on probation. While you are on probation, the law requires you to submit to taking a random breath or blood test. Other conditions of probation may include attending Alcohol and Narcotics Anonymous Meetings. If you inflict injuries on other people while driving with a BAC of .15% or more, the court may require you to pay restitution to the victim. This entails reimbursing the victims for any losses they may have suffered due to your intoxication. 

Through your DUI attorney, you may request for alternative sentencing. The jury may grant your request and mandate you to live in a sober environment. The jury may also impose a house arrest as a form of alternative sentencing. The court may also order you to spend a specified number of hours conducting community service. The judge may allow alternative sentencing if you successfully manage to challenge the evidence that the prosecutor may have against you. 

What to Expect after Recording Excessive DUI

Regardless of the charges that you are facing, DUI arrests are often frustrating and depressing. If the court finds you guilty of a DUI crime, you may end up losing your driver's license and attend DUI School. Some of the things that may take place between your arrest for BAC of .15% and the trial include:

Suspension of your Driver's License. If the arresting officer arrests you for impaired driving, he/she will confiscate your driver's license.  Upon confiscating your driver's license, the arresting officer may submit the license to the California Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV). The DMV will retain the license until the administrative and criminal proceedings are complete. You may have to pay a reissue fee of $125 to get your driver's license back. If you are below the age of 21 years, the applicable reissue fee is $100. 

DMV Hearing and Court Hearing. Upon your arrest and confiscation of your driver's license, you should apply for a DMV hearing within ten days from the date of the DUI arrest. During the DMV hearing, you try to prove to the DMV why you should retain your driver's license. If you manage to convince the DMV official, you may retain your license temporarily before the court hearing. It is important to note that even if you prevail at the DMV hearing, you would still have to attend a court hearing, and you may still lose your driver's license. The verdict of the DMV proceedings is independent of the DUI court trials. You may choose to attend the DMV hearing in person, and you may have an attorney attend the hearing on your behalf. 

License Suspensions. You should expect to face both the restricted license suspension and the hard license suspension. You may get a hard license suspension, which consists of a suspension of your driver's license for thirty days if you fail to request a DMV hearing within 10 days of your arrest. After the 30-day license ban by the DMV, you may apply for a restricted driver's license. With a restricted driver's license, you may only drive to some limited areas. For instance, you may be able to drive to and from the DUI counseling programs and educational classes. With a restricted driver's license, you may be able to drive to and from work. 

DUI Record. You should also expect to have members of the public, including potential employers, to access your DUI records.  In most cases, law enforcement agencies make DUI charges public upon arresting you for impaired driving. The officers will avail of the information on the public domain. Parties like law firms and bail bond companies may also get your address from the arresting officer. If your employer or potential employer conducts a background check on you, he/she will know that you have a history of committing a DUI offense.

Cost of DUI Classes. Upon your arrest for DUI with a BAC of .15% or more, you should expect to incur some costs in paying for DUI classes.  You will not just have to attend DUI classes, but you will also pay for the classes. The court may require you to attend a 60-hour DUI program for driving with a BAC of .15% or more. The 60-hour DUI classes may take you up to nine months to complete.

What Must the Prosecutor Prove?

For you to face charges for driving with a BAC of .15% or more, the prosecutor has to prove several factors. The prosecutor has to prove that you were driving with a BAC of .15% or more. Before arresting you for DUI, the arresting officer has to make the right observation. However, even if a law enforcement officer did not observe, the prosecutor may use other ways to prove that you were operating a vehicle while intoxicated. In some cases, a law enforcement officer may not be present at an accident scene. The prosecutor may rely on witness statements to build a strong DUI case against you. You may also admit in court that you were driving a vehicle before your arrest. The prosecution team will gather all the evidence to prove that before the arrest, you were operating a vehicle. If you can prove that you were not driving before the arrest, you may put up a strong defense in court. 

In addition to proving that you operated a car before the arrest, the prosecutor must also prove that you were under the influence.  To prove this factor, the prosecutor has to rely on the results of blood or breath tests.  The prosecutor may introduce expert witnesses in court to help convince the jury that your BAC results are credible. The prosecutor may also offer expert testimony in writing to help prove a case against you. To reduce cases of impaired driving, motorists have to undergo regular testing.  If you refuse to submit to a DUI test, the court may rely on the results from the previous DUI tests.  As long as the prosecutor lawfully obtains evidence, the court may use the evidence against you. It is important to have a DUI defense attorney who can challenge the prosecutor's evidence by your side. 

The Role of a DUI Attorney

A case under California Vehicle Code 23578 may take several hours of court appearances to solve.  To increase your odds of winning the case, you will need to have a strong DUI defense attorney by your side.  With proper defense, you may be able to retain your driving privileges in California. Upon facing charges for recording a BAC of .15% or more, you may have to pay increased auto insurance rates. The insurance companies will increase your insurance premiums, depending on the complexity of the charges you may be facing. You are likely to incur hefty charges in paying legal fees and fines. You are also likely to suffer a loss due to lost time from work or school and raised liability limits. With all these financial burdens, you may feel as if you are hiring an attorney will strain your finances further. However, this is not the case, and an attorney will enhance a favorable outcome for your DUI case. 

Your DUI defense attorney will handle the prosecutor on your behalf. The prosecutor handling your DUI case has one goal; to get you off the road. A DUI charge can be detrimental, especially if you are used to driving to work, the grocer, school, and other areas. It is important to contact a DUI defense attorney immediately after the DUI arrest before things get out of hand. 

Through all stages of your case under California Vehicle Code 23578, your DUI attorney will help to protect your rights. The attorney will give you proper legal guidance to help solve your charges in a fairway. A good attorney will identify mitigating factors for your case and your them to prepare a good legal defense on your behalf. 

You have a right to contact an attorney immediately after a DUI arrest. You should let the arresting officer know that you would love to speak to your attorney immediately after an arrest for DUI. At the time you start responding to the questions posed by the arresting officer, your attorney should be present. The arresting officer may attempt to incriminate you by asking random questions when your DUI defense attorney is not present. 

What if you cannot afford to hire a private DUI defense attorney? At times, you may be undergoing financial constraints, and this may make it hard for you to afford an attorney. In this case, the court may assign a public defender to individuals who cannot manage to hire attorneys. The choice of working with a private or a public attorney lies in your hands. However, you have a higher chance of succeeding in defense against BAC of .15% or more charges when working with a private attorney than when working with a public attorney. 

Common Legal Defenses for DUI of above .15% Charges

If the prosecutor accuses you of operating a vehicle with a DUI of .15% or more, you may challenge the prosecutor's evidence in court.  Some of the common legal defenses include:

Inaccurate BAC Results

You may challenge the accuracy of the BAC results presented by the prosecutor.  If the testing officer fails to conduct the BAC testing correctly, he/she may record very high BAC results. You may also assert that the alcohol in your mouth elevated the BAC results. For instance, you may record high BAC results if you use an alcohol-based mouthwash before the testing.  You may also challenge the BAC results if you suspect that the testing equipment was faulty or poorly maintained. You may also challenge the BAC results if the testing officer did not store your blood samples properly. 

Illegal Arrest or Traffic Stop

A law enforcement officer should have a probable cause for stopping your vehicle.  The California law protects you against illegal searches and seizures.  Therefore, if you feel that you are a victim of an illegal search and seizure, you may challenge the DUI case in court.  An officer should not stop your vehicle without cause unless at a DUI checkpoint.  

Poor Administration of Field Sobriety Tests

When an officer stops your vehicle on suspicion of DUI, the officer may conduct several field sobriety tests to help establish if you are intoxicated.  The law requires the administration of field sobriety tests to follow some laid down guidelines.  If you feel the testing officer deviated from the set protocols, you may challenge the outcome of the tests. You may also challenge the outcome of FSTs if you feel that the arresting officer intimidated you at the time of administering the test. 

BAC Results influenced by a Medical Condition

You may challenge the validity of BAC results on the grounds that the results were influenced by an underlying medical condition.  If you are ill and if you are on certain medications, the results of FSTs and BAC tests may not be reliable. If you suffer from diabetes, and if you are fasting at the time of the test, you may record unusually high BAC results.  You can provide medical records in court to prove that you have underlying medical conditions, which may have elevated your BAC results.  

In addition to recording a high BAC of .15%, additional factors may lead to enhanced DUI penalties. The factors include DUI with a minor below the age of 14, DUI causing injury or great bodily injury, and DUI involving an accident. You will also face enhanced penalties for DUI on a suspended license and a DUI arrest while on probation.  

Contact an Orange County DUI Defense Attorney Near Me

If the police arrest you for a DUI above .15% offense, the consequences are severe since this will be treated as an aggravated DUI. It is important to contact an attorney immediately after the arrest. The attorney can fight on your behalf and negotiate for a reduction of your charges.  Contact the Orange County DUI Defense Attorney Law Firm at 714-740-7866 and speak to one of our attorneys today.