DUI-Related Charges

Child Endangerment

If there is a child in the car when you are pulled over, you can also be charged with Vehicle Code Section 23572 or Penal Code Section 273a.

The prosecutor must prove that you were driving under the influence and that there was a child under 14 years of age in the car at the time.  The penalties for child endangerment vary depending on whether this is your first, second, third or fourth DUI.  The related charge of child endangerment carries a 48 hour, 10 days, 30 days or 90-day penalty, respectively.

Penal Code 273a child endangerment is a much harsher related charge than Vehicle Code 23572.  It is a wobbler, which means that it can be punished as a felony or misdemeanor. The misdemeanor would be punished by up to 1 year in jail and the felony would be punished by 2, 4, or 6 years in prison.  Additionally, there is mandatory 4-year probation with onerous terms such as classes and such.

Excessive Speed Enhancement

If you are speeding you can also be charged with violation of the related charge of Vehicle Code Section 23582.

To prove a violation of Vehicle Code Section 23582 the prosecutor must prove that you were driving under the influence or driving with a .08% BAC and that you were driving 20 miles over the speed limit and that you were driving recklessly.  The prosecutor can’t prove reckless by the DUI or excessive speed alone. There has to be more.  The enhancement carries an additional 60 days in jail and requires completion of an alcohol awareness class.

Hit and Run

If you are involved in an accident where there is property damage and don’t stop to exchange the information you can be charged with the related charge of misdemeanor hit and run a violation of Vehicle Code Section 20002 if there is just property involved.  If a person is injured you can be charged with a felony violation of Vehicle Code Section 20001.

The prosecution must prove that you were involved in an accident, that you didn’t stop to give the required information, that you knew or should have known of the accident and that there was damage other than to your vehicle.  Conviction of Vehicle Code Section 20002 carries a maximum of 6 months in jail and a fine up to $1,000 or both.

The prosecution must prove that someone was hurt in an accident, you didn’t exchange information and that you knew of or should have known of the accident. If the person is seriously injured it is a straight felony punishable by 2, 3 or 4 years in prison.  If the injury is less severe, it is a wobbler punishable by 1 year in jail or 16 months, 2 years or 3 years in prison.

Driving Without a License

If you don’t have a California Driver’s License you can be charged with the related charge of driving without a license, a violation of Vehicle Code Section 12500.

The prosecution must prove that you did not have a license at the time you were stopped.  Often out of state drivers are charged with this offense because prosecutors don’t know of the exception.  There is an exception to this related charge in Vehicle Code Section 12502, for those who are over 18 and possess a valid license from another jurisdiction and have not resided in California for more than 10 days (VC 12505).  Driving without a license is a ‘wobblette’ in that it can be punished as a misdemeanor or infraction. As a misdemeanor, it is punishable by probation and a fine. As an infraction, it is punishable by an infraction.

Driving on Suspended License

If your license is suspended you can be charged with the related offense of driving on a suspended license, a violation of Vehicle Code Section 14601.

Driving on a suspended license requires that the prosecution prove that your license was suspended and you had knowledge of the suspension.  It is a misdemeanor punishable by probation, fine and possibly 5 days to 6 months in jail for a first offense and up to a year for subsequent offenses.  If convicted of driving on a suspended license as a result of DUI (VC 14601.2) there are a mandatory 10 days in jail for a first offense. If a license can be obtained, it is possible to get the prosecutor to reduce this to a violation of VC 12500 or obtain an infraction.

Evading Police

If you don’t stop when the police turn on their lights and siren, you can be charged with the related charge of evading a police officer, a violation of Vehicle Code Section 2800.1 a misdemeanor or Vehicle Code Section 2800.2 a felony.

The prosecution must prove that the cop’s vehicle was distinctively marked, operated by a uniformed cop, his lights and sirens are activated and the person willfully fled from the cop.  It is punishable by up to one year in county jail.

In addition to the elements of Vehicle Code Section 2800.1, the prosecution must prove that the person drove with a willful or wanton disregard for the safety of persons or property. Violation of the related charge of Vehicle Code Section 2800.2 is punishable as a wobbler (either a misdemeanor or felony) with up to 1 year in jail or 16 months, 2 or 3 years in prison.