Prosecutors and Judges have an enormous amount of discretion when it comes to imposing California DUI penalties. If you're sentenced for a DUI, your punishment can range anywhere from spending no time in jail to spending up to ten years in the California State Prison, depending on whether (1) it's your first, second, or subsequent offense, (2) you're charged with misdemeanor or felony DUI, (3) anyone was injured as a result of your DUI…and the list goes on and on.
And if you're charged with a DUI that resulted in another's death, you could ultimately be charged with murder.
Regardless of whether you are charged with misdemeanor or felony drunk driving, California courts consider a host of other questions that may include:
Was there a child in the car?
What was your BAC?
Did you refuse to submit to a chemical blood or breath test?
How fast were you driving?
The above list is just a sample of some of the factors that judges and prosecutors consider!
These are just some of the reasons why it is so important to try to present as many mitigating factors in your defense as possible. If you show remorse for your actions, if you voluntarily enroll yourself in an alcohol program or attend AA meetings, if you tell the judge that you would like to educate others as to the dangers of drinking and driving…any of these actions may help reduce your DUI sentence. Learn more in our article on California DUI probation violations.