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Aggravated Driving Under the Influence in California

Posted on in Criminal Defense

San Jose DUI defense attorneys, aggravated drivingUnder California law, what is the difference between driving under the influence (DUI) and aggravated driving under the influence? Aggravated driving under the influence is often talked about as if it were a separate offense. However, in reality it is simply a type of DUI under California law.

When a person is convicted of driving under the influence in California, the court will consider both mitigating and aggravating factors when deciding how the offender will be punished. An aggravated DUI in California is therefore a drunk driving offense involving one or more aggravating factors considered at sentencing.

Aggravating Factors Under California’s Drunk Driving Laws

A drunk driving conviction in California can result in enhanced penalties if any of the following aggravating factors (also referred to as “special factors”) were involved in the relevant drunk driving incident:

  • Excessive Blood Alcohol Concentration: If the offender had a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of .15 percent or more (i.e. their blood alcohol concentration was more than twice the legal limit), then enhanced penalties may be added by the court. California Vehicle Code section 23578.

  • Refusal to Take a Chemical Test: California is an implied consent state, which means that drivers within the state are required to submit to a breathalyzer test if stopped by a police officer and asked to take such a test. A driver who fails to do so may face enhanced penalties if convicted of drunk driving. California Vehicle Code section 23578.

  • Driving Drunk with a Child in the Car: If a child under 14 years old was riding in the vehicle at the time of the drunk driving offense, then the driver may face enhanced penalties. California Vehicle Code section 23572.

  • DUI Resulting in Injury or Death to Multiple Victims: If a drunk driver injures or kills more than one person in a single drunk driving incident, then the drunk driver will almost certainly face enhanced penalties if convicted. California Vehicle Code section 23558.

  • Excessive Speed: If a convicted drunk driver was operating his or her vehicle at an excessive speed while under the influence, they will likely face enhanced penalties at sentencing. In this circumstance “excessive speed” is defined as driving at a rate of more than 20 miles per hour over the speed limit on a street, or 30 miles per hour over the speed limit on the highway. California Vehicle Code section 23582.

  • Prior DUIs: If a convicted drunk driver has one or more prior DUIs on his or her record, then he or she will receive enhanced penalties at sentencing. California Vehicle Code section 23550.

Need Legal Advice?

If you have been charged with a crime related to driving under the influence, it is imperative that you consult with an experienced DUI attorney as soon as possible. Here at Jachimowicz Law Group our passionate San Jose DUI defense attorneys have extensive experience defending clients accused of driving under the influence throughout Northern California and would be happy to assist you.








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