Driving under the influence (DUI) is a serious offense in California. The law is designed to increase penalties in cases where an individual has prior DUI convictions and in aggravating circumstances. One such aggravating circumstance is speeding or reckless driving. If you are found guilty of a DUI charge, and it is proven that you were driving at an excessive speed or were driving in a reckless manner, you could be facing enhanced penalties and you need to hire a California San Diego DUI attorney.
What You Need to Know About DUI and Speeding
It is important to remember that speeding and reckless driving in relation to a DUI charge is a sentencing enhancer. The underlying DUI charge is what you must fight — if there is no conviction, there is no sentence to enhance.
To use speeding or reckless driving to enhance a DUI sentencing, the following elements must be present:
- A conviction for a DUI-related charge;
- You were clocked driving at 20 to 30 mph over the speed limit; and
- There is evidence that you were driving in a reckless manner.
It is clear that speeding alone will not be sufficient to trigger this sentencing enhancement. The prosecution must also show your driving was reckless. This can be difficult to prove since a prosecutor must demonstrate your behavior was likely to injure someone. The standard of proving your reckless intent is high and, with an experienced California DUI lawyer, you may be able to beat this DUI sentence enhancement.
In most instances, a DUI charge is a misdemeanor and offenders may sometimes avoid jail time on their first conviction. Penalties can include fines and suspension of your driving license. However, aggravating circumstances such as speeding and reckless driving can potentially spell jail time. The law stipulates that if you’re found guilty of speeding and reckless driving in addition to the DUI, the court can add a minimum jail sentence of 60 days and order you to enroll in an alcohol education program.
How a California DUI Lawyer Can Help
There are a number of good reasons to have a lawyer by your side when you are facing a DUI charge. When the prosecutor is seeking to pursue the sentence enhancement of speeding and reckless driving, it is even more important to have the experienced hands of an attorney who will be able to fight the charges.
- DUI laws in California can be complex and confusing to the average person. There are often a lot of technical points that you will need a lawyer to explain to you.
- A lawyer can get your charges dismissed or reduced. In many instances, overzealous police officers will pursue a charge that a prosecutor will not be able to bring to court. Your lawyer’s knowledge of the law can help with getting those charges dismissed. Depending on your case, your charge could also be reduced to wet reckless, for which sentencing enhancement would not apply.
- A lawyer can prepare a sound case should your matter go to trial. There are a number of legal defenses available to you. Individuals charged with DUI often assume that it is impossible to fight the result of a breath test. However, an experienced San Diego DUI with speeding and DUI attorney will know how to challenge your test results or the procedure used.
- If you choose to plead guilty, a lawyer can help make a case for leniency. Enhanced sentencing could mean jail time and it will be important to employ the services of an experienced criminal defense lawyer who will present arguments on your behalf to minimize your sentence.
It is important for you to remember that in all criminal cases, you are innocent until proven guilty. Having a lawyer is one way to make sure that you are in a position to prove your innocence and secure your freedom. There are a number of options and alternatives available in the law in regards to DUI offenses, but, without a lawyer, you may never know they exist.
At McElfresh Law, we have been representing individuals charged with San Diego criminal offenses for years. We have dedicated our legal practice to providing high-quality courtroom representation and advocacy that can help get your charges dismissed or reduced. There is no need to face the justice system alone. Call San Diego DUI attorney Jessica McElfresh today at (858) 756-7107 for your free consultation.