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Sentence Enhancements for DUI in California

California has four sentence enhancements for DUI: when the passenger is less than fourteen years old, when the motorist has a blood alcohol content of 0.15 or higher, when the motorist refuses to take a chemical test, and when the motorist harms more than one person in the course of committing a DUI and causing bodily injury to another person.

If a motorist is convicted of a DUI and a minor under fourteen (14) year old was a passenger in the vehicle at the time of the offense, the punishment will be enhanced by an imprisonment of 48 hours in the county jail for a first conviction. If this was motorist’s second DUI conviction, the punishment will be enhanced by an imprisonment of 10 days in the county jail. If this was motorist’s third conviction, the punishment will be enhanced by an imprisonment of 30 days in the county jail. If this was motorist’s third or more conviction, the punishment will be enhanced by an imprisonment of 90 days in the county jail. A minor is determined on the date of the incident. If the defendant was thirteen (13) on the date of the incident and fourteen (14) on the date of the trial, the child is still considered thirteen (13) for sentencing purposes.

If motorist is convicted of a DUI and has a blood alcohol content of 0.15 or higher, the sentencing judge may consider this as a special factor for enhancing the penalties of the sentencing, in determining whether to grant probation, and if probation is granted, in determining additional or enhanced terms and conditions of probation. California also treats refusal to take a chemical test as a special factor.

If in the course of committing a DUI and causing bodily injury to another person, the motorist causes bodily injury or death to more than one victim, the punishment shall be enhanced by one year for each additional injured victim. Enhancement is not allowed until the prosecutor proves each additional person. The maximum is three years enhancement.


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