Multiple OWI convictions result in significantly harsher punishments
There is no doubt that California leads the way when it comes to enacting legislation. And with OWI, it is no different. However, California is not the only state where DUI punishments escalate based on the number of arrests and convictions a person has. Other aggravating factors can turn a first time OWI into a nightmare as well. Here are a few things that you need to know when it comes to increasing the already stiff penalties for an OWI conviction.
Multiple OWI Convictions
As mentioned previously, if you have been arrested and convicted of OWI before, the penalties are much harsher the second, third and fourth times around. In some cases, the amount of time you have to spend in jail significantly increases along with the financial penalties and even how long you have to spend in drug and alcohol rehab. Depending on what state you reside in, the mandatory minimums for each of these categories of penalties will vary. But, you can expect that you will feel the pain for multiple OWI offenses.
High Blood Alcohol Content
While you don’t have to meet the maximum blood alcohol content in order to be arrested and charged with OWI, you should know that the higher your BAC, the harsher your penalty will be. For example, if you are charged with OWI and your BAC is .08%, you are probably looking at the minimum sentencing guidelines, assuming that there aren’t other factors involved like harm to a person or property. However, if your BAC is higher, say .15% or higher, you can expect to receive a higher penalty under the law. The prosecutor in the case has the right to ask for a harsher penalty and the judge has the discretion to levy one, whether the prosecutor asks for it or not.
Some people believe that you have the right to refuse to submit to testing for OWI, both in the field as well as to a blood or breath test. However, this law has changed in almost every state. Now, you no longer have the right to refuse to take the test. And, while no one can actually force you to submit to testing, you should expect to automatically lose your driving privileges for a period of time. Even if you do submit to an breathalyzer test but don’t blow hard enough for the machine to get an accurate reading, it can be seen as a refusal and you will be subject to any penalties under that statute.
If you are found to have been operating a motor vehicle in a reckless manner, whether it is because of speeding or with reckless disregard to others on the road, you can expect to be facing a much harsher penalty than if you had just been trying to get home.
If you are found to be under the influence of alcohol and are the cause of an accident where there is damage to someone else’s property, you are going to feel the pain in your wallet. The fines for such activity are especially high and you may face some mandatory jail time.
It should go without saying that someone under the influence of alcohol that has chosen to get behind the wheel and then injures someone else is going to be facing some pretty stiff penalties. But what you might not know is that you might be facing a felony charge rather than a misdemeanor, not matter if this is your first Arrest Records or your 10th.