High Blood Alcohol Enhancement

Many judges and prosecutors dealing with DUI cases in Los Angeles and Orange County seem to believe that a blood or breath alcohol level of .15% or higher mandates a six or even a nine month alcohol education program and that the court has no discretion to allow a three month program. In addition, I have had judges and prosecutors state on the record that even if they allowed a three month program, the DMV would mandate a nine month program as a condition of license reinstatement. None of this is true.

California Vehicle Code Section 23578, provides that courts should consider a breath or blood alcohol level of .15% or higher as a special factor which may enhance DUI penalties in California. This is a discretionary factor that does not mandate anything at all. It also has nothing to do with the DMV. A court can, if it wishes, increase the length of the alcohol program, but the court should also consider not doing this for good reason. It is entirely wrong for courts to routinely enhance penalties, without individual consideration with the mistaken belief that there is no discretion.

If the blood or breath alcohol level is over .20%, then the Vehicle Code does mandate a nine month alcohol education program and the court has no discretion on this point, unless the prosecutor agrees to strike the enhancement.

If you have any questions concerning this or any other issues relating to penalties for a DUI in California, please call Los Angeles DUI Lawyers, Gold & Witham for a free consultation.


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