Speed Enhancements in DUI Cases
I have been retained by a number of defendants recently facing jail time as a result of a DUI speed enhancement. It seems that prosecutors in Los Angeles and Orange County are increasingly pressing this issue and filing borderline speed enhancements in circumstances where traditionally, it has not been an issue.
California Vehicle Code section 23582 mandates a consecutive sixty day jail sentence in addition to regular Califonia DUI penalties, if it is proven that the defendant drove more than thirty miles over the speed limit on a freeway, or twenty miles over the limit on any other roadway. Additionally, the court must find evidence of reckless driving.
This is the most punitive enhancement in the Vehicle Code. It is understood that it is very dangerous to speed while impaired, but every case should be considered on its own merits and it can be very unfair to put someone in jail for such an extended period when there was no accident and nobody was hurt. In these cases, keeping a defendant out of jail is the over-riding consideration, even if it means submitting to other penalties such as caltrans or community service.
DUI penalties are increasing all the time and jail is becoming more common for first offenders. The days of a free pass on a first time offense are gone (if ever there was such a thing). Retaining a DUI lawyer in Los Angeles or Orange County is not only necessary to try to avoid a conviction, but also to avoid some of the more punitive penalties the court can impose for this offense.