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Does it Negatively Impact my Los Angeles DUI Case is my Blood Alcohol Level is Over .08%?

  • September 1, 2017

    When a person is arrested for a DUI, their blood alcohol content (BAC) is one of the biggest factors in determining the outcome of the case. Although the legal limit in California is 0.08 percent, the law states that you can still be convicted of a DUI even if your BAC is below the legal limit. The law is very clear about this, and with enough evidence to prove that you were impaired, you can still be charged and convicted of a DUI no matter what your blood alcohol level was.

    The good news is that things generally don’t work out this way, and there is a high chance that an experienced Los Angeles DUI attorney can get the charges reduced or dropped altogether if your BAC is below the legal limit of 0.08. In this case, you might end up being able to plead to a lesser charge such as reckless driving. However, the court tends to look less favorably on cases where a driver’s blood alcohol level is well above the legal limit, and if your BAC is much higher than 0.08 percent, you could potentially face harsher penalties and enhancement charges.

    The Effect of BAC on a DUI Conviction
    Your blood alcohol concentration is one of the primary factors in determing the outcome of your DUI case and the possible penalties you will face upon conviction. Whereas the courts tend to be more flexible in cases where the driver’s BAC was quite low, the opposite is true for cases where a person has a BAC much higher than the legal limit. Should your BAC measure at or above 0.15 percent, you will automatically be facing a charge of aggravated DUI and thus be subject to additional penalties.

    Even if your BAC isn’t double the legal limit, you are still likely to face more severe consequences the higher your BAC is. Under California DUI laws, your first DUI conviction brings with it a fine of anywhere between $390 and $1,300 and a possible jail sentence ranging from 48 hours to 6 months. In addition, you will usually be sentenced to somewhere between three and five years of probation and required to attend rehabilitation and alcohol education classes.

    The law gives judges a lot of leeway to determine the specific penalties for DUI convictions. This means that depending on the circumstances surrounding your case, you could be subject to anywhere between the minimum to the maximum penalties. This is where your blood alcohol level becomes extremely important. The higher your BAC is at the time of your arrest, the more likely it will be that you’ll face penalties at the higher end of the spectrum. This means that if your BAC is well above 0.15, there is a high chance that you could face the maximum penalties allowed by law. In this case, it is essential that you have an experienced lawyer on your side to plead your case and potentially lessen the severity of the consequences.

    Even if you have a high BAC, a lawyer may be able to successfully use your lack of a criminal history and various other factors to convince a judge to give you a lesser sentence. There is also a chance, albeit a small one, that your lawyer can get you a plea deal in exchange for a reduced charge.

    Convictions for a second, third and fourth DUI offense carry with them progressively harsher penalties. However, even in these cases, the judge still has a wide range of minimum and maximum penalties. For instance, a third DUI offense carries with it the charge of felony DUI and could land you in jail for anywhere from 120 days to one year. Due to your previous convictions, a judge will be very likely to try to throw the book at you should you have a much higher BAC.

    Your blood alcohol level can be extremely important in determining the outcome of the case, and this is true no matter whether it was low or high. Either way, it’s a good idea to seek the assistance of an experienced L.A. DUI lawyer to help plead your case. If your BAC is high, you might be able to convince the judge to be more lenient, and if your BAC is low, you might be able to have your case dismissed or at least reduced to a lesser charge.

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