A person may be charged for a DUI under two different code sections: California Vehicle Code §23152, and California Vehicle Code §23153.
If a person is charged under California Vehicle Code §23152, it is likely a misdemeanor. If a person has been charged under California Vehicle Code §23153, it is likely a felony. Each code sections gives its own range of possible consequences. The final sentence a person may face will depend on the code section under which they have been charged, their criminal history and the facts of the case.
If a person has been charged under California Vehicle Code §23152, the person may face the following:
- Informal probation from three to five years
- Up to one year in county jail
- Alcohol education or rehabilitation classes
- License suspension
- Installation of a California ignition interlock device
- Insurance consequences
A person who has been charged under California Vehicle Code §23153 may face the following:
- Formal probation
- Up to three years in prison
- License suspension or revocation
- Alcohol education and rehabilitation classes
- Insurance consequences
The actual sentence will vary and will take into considerate all factors. Let’s consider two examples to demonstrate the factors that may influence the Court’s final decision.
Charge under California Vehicle Code §23152: Dina was driving home from dinner. At dinner she had drank four glasses of wine and a glass of scotch. She did not believe she was intoxicated. While driving she ran a red light and weaved in and out of lanes. She was immediately pulled over by officers. Officers asked her if she had been drinking and she replied that she had a glass of wine. She was slurring, had blood shot eyes and her breath smelled of wine and scotch. Officers asked her to submit to a blood alcohol test. She agreed. Her BAC was 1.8. Dina has no prior criminal record.
Dina will be facing a misdemeanor DUI. She was compliant, and has no prior record. Chances are she will be issued a sentence on the lower end of the spectrum. If Dina had a criminal record, she may be facing some jail time. If Dina has no submitted to a blood alcohol test, or was speeding at the time she was pulled over, she may face additional consequences. These factors are called aggravating circumstances, and could result in increasing her final sentence.
Charge under California Vehicle Code §23153: David is driving home from watching the basketball game with friends at a bar. During the game he has had 8 beers and several well drinks. It is a dark night and it is raining. As David drives home he does not have his headlights on, and he hits a pedestrian crossing the street. David immediately stops and calls 911. Fortunately, the pedestrian only has a broken leg as David was not driving very fast. The pedestrian is immediately taken to the hospital and treated for his injuries. Officers question David and arrest him for suspicion of DUI. They ask him to take a blood alcohol test, to which he complies. His blood alcohol level is 1.9. David has no prior criminal record.
David will face felony DUI charges because he injured a person. Even though there were no fatal injuries, or soft tissue injuries, this is still a serious charge and may result in jail or prison time as well as a plethora of other consequences such as probation. David may also be sued by the pedestrian in civil court for damages and medical bills. Despite the seriousness of the charge, David may face penalties closer to the lower end of the spectrum since he was compliant, stopped and called 911, provided aid, and the injuries were minimal compared to what they could have been.
A DUI is a serious charge and has long term consequences despite what the final sentence may be. If you are facing a DUI, do not hesitate , contact a Los Angeles DUI Lawyer as soon as possible!