Facing Charges for a Serious DUI in Ventura County
Ventura County is one of the toughest jurisdictions in the nation when it comes to prosecuting charges for DUI. As a result, aside from routine first-time offenses, largely any charge can be considered a “serious DUI” in Ventura County. With your freedom, money, criminal record and personal reputation hanging in the balance, it is critical to have an experienced Ventura DUI lawyer on your side.
The main categories of Ventura serious DUIs are as follows:
DUIs Involving Serious Personal Injury
DUIs that involve accidents resulting in serious personal injuries can be charged as either misdemeanors or felonies under California law. However, in Ventura County, in most cases you can expect to be facing felony charges.
On a misdemeanor “DUI with injury” charge, possible punishment includes up to $5,000 in fines, a year in jail, three to five years of probation, and other penalties. For felony charges, you can face a prison sentence of up to thirteen years in extreme cases involving injuries to multiple individuals.
Click here to read more about serious DUIs in Ventura involving personal injury.
DUIs Involving Death
If you are involved in a fatal accident in connection with your DUI, you are likely to face one of three possible charges for vehicular homicide. The vehicular homicide charges for a serious DUI involving death in Oxnard, Camarillo or Ventura are:
- Vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated
- Gross vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated
- Second-degree DUI murder (Watson murder)
Vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated may be charged as either a misdemeanor or a felony. Gross vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated is a felony punishable by up to ten years in prison. Second-degree murder is also a felony, and carries a prison term of fifteen years to life.
Click here to read more about DUI-related homicide.
Other “Aggravating Factors” That Increase the Punishment for Ventura DUIs
DUIs involving “aggravating factors” are another class of Ventura serious DUIs that carry enhanced sentencing. These aggravating factors include:
- Refusal to submit to a chemical test (breath or blood)
- A blood alcohol concentration (BAC) level of 0.15% or above
- Excessive speeding
- Driving under the influence or while intoxicated with young children in the vehicle
- Causing an accident (regardless of injury or death)
Enhanced Sentencing for Prior DUI Convictions
Finally, even a simple DUI arrest can become a serious DUI in Ventura County if you have one or more prior DUI convictions within the past ten years. A second DUI conviction can easily land you in jail for sixty days, and for a third conviction you are facing up to 180 days in Ventura County jail. A fourth conviction within a ten-year period will be prosecuted as a felony, with possible punishment including roughly a year and a half of prison time and a four-year driver’s license suspension. If any of your prior convictions involved injuries, death or other aggravating factors, the punishment can increase substantially.
Click here to read more about the enhanced penalties for prior DUIs.
Free Consultation with a Ventura Serious DUI Lawyer
To learn more about the penalties for serious DUIs or to request a free consultation about your Ventura, Oxnard or Camarillo serious DUI case, contact The Law Offices of David Lehr today.