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Los Angeles DUI: BAC Above 0.15 Percent

Los Angeles DUI: BAC Above 0.15 Percent

Getting arrested for a DUI is scary enough, but getting arrested for a DUI with a blood alcohol content (BAC) above 0.15% brings additional charges and penalties. This is considered an excessive BAC, and prosecutors and judges take these cases very seriously.

In California, a driver is legally intoxicated if they have a BAC of 0.08% or higher[1]. But if your BAC is 0.15% or above, you can face enhanced DUI penalties on top of the standard DUI consequences. Let’s break down what happens when you’re arrested for DUI with a BAC over the 0.15% limit in Los Angeles.

DUI Penalties for BAC Above 0.15%

Under California law, a BAC above 0.15% is considered an aggravating factor in a DUI case. This means prosecutors can file additional DUI charges against you, resulting in harsher punishments if convicted. Here are some of the enhanced penalties you may face:

  • Up to 1 year in county jail – compared to 6 months max for standard DUI
  • Fines up to $1000 higher than normal DUI fines
  • Longer driver’s license suspension – up to 2 years
  • Required alcohol education program for 18-30 months
  • Possible vehicle impound for 1-90 days
  • Ignition interlock device required after license reinstatement
  • Increased auto insurance rates for 5+ years

These consequences are on top of the standard DUI penalties, which include fines, DUI classes, probation, and more. Simply having a BAC above the 0.15% threshold exposes you to much harsher punishments.

Why is a High BAC Treated More Harshly?

There are a few reasons why California law looks so unfavorably on extremely drunk drivers:

  • Higher BAC indicates impaired judgment and motor skills – Drivers with BACs above 0.15% have very poor judgment, inhibitions, reaction time, coordination, and control. This makes them an extreme danger on the road.
  • Higher risk of causing injury or death – The drunker the driver, the more likely they are to cause an accident and seriously injure or kill someone. A BAC of 0.15% makes drivers 7x more likely to cause a fatal crash[2].
  • Shows recklessness and irresponsibility – willingly driving while extremely intoxicated shows blatant disregard for the safety of others.

Simply put, the legal system has less tolerance for drivers who get behind the wheel at BAC levels that high. That’s why prosecutors often throw the book at them.

What to Do If Arrested for 0.15% BAC DUI

Being charged with a 0.15% BAC DUI in Los Angeles can have devastating effects on your life. Here are some steps to take immediately if arrested:

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  1. Remain silent and politely refuse to answer questions. Anything you say can be used against you.
  2. Do not resist arrest or get into an argument with the officer.
  3. Request a DMV hearing within 10 days to challenge your license suspension.
  4. Hire an experienced DUI lawyer right away. An attorney can help minimize penalties and build your defense.

An attorney can review your case details and determine if the chemical BAC test was faulty or administered improperly. There may be ways to get the BAC results excluded from evidence. A lawyer can also negotiate with the prosecutor to reduce charges and penalties. Don’t wait to get legal help.

Fighting High BAC DUI Charges

While BAC levels above 0.15% create an uphill battle, there are still ways your DUI lawyer can challenge the charges. Here are some strategies they may use:

  • Contest BAC results – Many factors like faulty equipment, improper collection, or testing errors can produce incorrect BAC results. An attorney can scrutinize the process to find flaws.
  • Negotiate lesser charges – Prosecutors often reduce 0.15% BAC charges to standard DUI in exchange for a guilty plea. This avoids harsher penalties.
  • Challenge traffic stop – If the officer lacked probable cause for the traffic stop, evidence can potentially be suppressed.
  • Dispute intoxication – The defense may argue you were not actually impaired despite the high BAC reading.
  • Claim rising BAC – It’s possible your BAC was below 0.15% when driving but rose by the time of testing.

An experienced DUI lawyer will thoroughly examine every aspect of your arrest to build the strongest defense. While BAC levels above 0.15% make defending a DUI charge more difficult, it’s still possible in many cases.

Avoiding an Extreme DUI

The best way to avoid an excessive BAC DUI is to not drive after heavy drinking. If you plan to drink, arrange for a designated driver, taxi, or rideshare. Also consider these tips:

  • Pace yourself – drink water between alcoholic drinks and don’t gulp drinks.
  • Eat before and while drinking to slow absorption.
  • Know your limits – stop drinking long before you need to drive.
  • Bring cash for a cab in case you can’t drive.
  • Leave your car keys at home if you’ll be drinking.

Remember, even a standard DUI charge can wreck your finances, freedom, and future. Never risk it.

Get Help From an Experienced DUI Lawyer

Being arrested for DUI is scary, and a BAC above 0.15% makes it much worse. The enhanced penalties can destroy your livelihood and saddle you with a criminal record. But an experienced DUI defense attorney can help minimize consequences and protect your rights. Don’t go it alone against the legal system. Get professional legal help immediately.

At the Law Offices of Daniel R. Perlman, we understand how devastating a high BAC DUI conviction can be. For over 30 years, we have successfully defended clients facing DUI charges. We dig deep into every case to build an aggressive defense while treating each client with compassion. Don’t wait to contact us for a free consultation. The sooner we get involved, the better.

[1] https://www.shouselaw.com/ca/defense/vehicle-code/23152/

[2] https://www.nhtsa.gov/risky-driving/drunk-driving

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