California Vehicle Code section 23162 requires that anyone who drives a motor vehicle in California must submit to a chemical test to determine the driver’s blood alcohol level if the driver is arrested for DUI. Refusing to submit to a chemical test at the time of a DUI arrest results in a one year license suspension. The refusal is also typically charged against you as an enhancement to the DUI charge, which could mean a longer jail sentence and a longer DUI school. If your case goes to jury trial, the law allows the jury to consider your refusal as consciousness of guilt.
A blood alcohol level above .15% can be charged as an enhancement to increase your jail sentence. A blood alcohol level above a .20% will be charged as an enhancement that not only increases your potential jail time, but also increases the time of your DUI school from three months to nine months. A skilled Sonoma County DUI lawyer like Ryan or Rachel Wilber can often negotiate these enhancements down for you to decrease the penalties they could bring.
If, in addition to your DUI charge, you are also charged with reckless driving under Vehicle Code section 23582, or you drove more than 30 mph over the speed limit on the freeway or 20 mph over the speed limit on any other road, you may be sentenced to an additional 60 days in the county jail.
If you are charged with DUI and you had a passenger under 14 years old in the car with you at the time of driving, your penalties will be increased. How much they will increase depends on whether the DUI is a first, second, or beyond, as well as the circumstances of your individual case. Often, the prosecution will bring an additional charge against you for Child Endangerment (Penal Code sections 273a(a) and 273a(b).) This can be charged as a misdemeanor or a felony and usually brings with it the requirement of a year of parenting classes as a term of probation, not to mention potential prison time. CPS may also be contacted.
Qualified, knowledgeable DUI lawyers can often reduce or eliminate enhancements such as the above. If you find yourself charged with any DUI enhancements, it is critical to have a lawyer by your side who is capable of reducing your potential additional consequences. Ryan and Rachel Wilber have dealt with countless DUI cases involving enhancements like these, successfully lessening penalties for their clients. (See our results page for details.)