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Increased Penalties for a High Blood Alcohol Content (BAC)

Aug 18 2016, by Jessica McElfresh in Alcohol, DUI, Legal Blog

Blood alcohol content (BAC) is a scientific measurement of alcohol intoxication, established through chemical testing such as a blood or breath sample. In most cases, your BAC test results will be used as evidence that you committed a DUI offense. In California, as in the majority of other states, it is illegal to operate a motor vehicle with a BAC of .08 or higher (also referred to as the legal limit).

While the amount of alcohol necessary to become impaired varies based on a number of factors such as weight, gender, age, or metabolism, the more alcohol that is consumed, the more likely it is the person will be involved in an accident. For the majority of adults, a BAC level of .08 or higher will impair their ability to drive in a safe manner.

Driving with a BAC of .15 or higher has been shown to cause substantial impairment in vehicle control, driver attention, reaction time, judgment, and information processing. According to data from the NHTSA, roughly 70% of alcohol-impaired driving deaths involve at least one driver with a BAC of .15 or greater. One way in which states have attempted to address this concern is by passing laws that increase penalties for drunk driving offenders with a BAC of .15 or higher.

What Are The Consequences of Having a High BAC in California?

The penalties you could face will depend on the nature of the specific DUI charge. Courts will typically consider the circumstances surrounding the specific offense and any prior DUI convictions in determining the appropriate sentence and/or whether to grant probation in a given case.

Under California law, having a BAC of .15 or higher at the time of arrest is an aggravating factor, meaning the court or prosecutor have the option of seeking enhanced penalties. Enhanced penalties for an elevated BAC could include the following:

  • Extended AB-541 (DUI education program)
  • Extended license suspension
  • Required attendance at Mothers Against Drunk Driving Impact Panel, in which convicted offenders listen to presentations from people negatively impacted by drunk driving.
  • Mandatory Alcoholic Anonymous meetings
  • Increased jail time
  • Increased fines
  • Required installation of an interlock ignition device

A conviction for high BAC DUI in California can have life-long consequences. Working with a knowledgeable DUI attorney as early as possible can make all the difference in the outcome of your case. Depending on the specific circumstances of your case, a skilled DUI lawyer may be able to get the charges against you dismissed, or have offenses reduced with lesser penalties.

Contact a San Diego DUI Lawyer for Help

If you are facing a high BAC DUI charge, it is critical that you speak with an experienced DUI attorney as soon as possible. At McElfresh Law, we have helped countless individuals facing DUI charges. We will aggressively fight the charges against you and protect your rights throughout the legal process. Our goal is to provide high-quality legal representation, exceptional client service, and to obtain the best available outcome for your case.

Call us today at (858) 756-7107 for a free consultation about your charge and to learn how we can help.