DUI while Speeding
An enhancement that can bring increased punishment to a DUI is the speed enhancement for DUI.
The law allows prosecutors to choose to charge certain enhancements, which are filed along with DUI charges in a case. Those make a case eligible for increased punishment. Those are known as sentencing enhancements, and one of them can be charged if a person was speeding while DUI. That requires proof that the driver was:
- arrested for or accused of DUI; and
- alleged to have been driving recklessly;
- and was going 30 miles or more per hour over the maximum speed limit.
DUI while Speeding – the law
A prosecutor can choose to allege a speeding enhancement to any DUI charge under Vehicle Code 23582(a) . The code section states:
“Any person who drives a vehicle 30 or more miles per hour over the maximum, prima facie, or posted speed limit on a freeway, or 20 or more miles per hour over the maximum, prima facie, or posted speed limit on any other street or highway, and in a manner prohibited by Section 23103 during the commission of a violation of Section 23152 or 23153 shall, in addition to the punishment prescribed for that person upon conviction of a violation of Section 23152 or 23153, be punished by an additional and consecutive term of 60 days in the county jail.“
As you can see from the above, this enhancement adds a mandatory 60 days of jail to any sentence on the DUI charge. That makes it especially serious.
The speed required changes depending on where the DUI was observed.
What speed is considered “speeding” depends on the actual location where the police first observed driving, as follows :
(1) On a freeway – 30 or miles per hour over the speed limit;
(2) On any other street or highway – 20 or miles per hour over the speed limit.
You’ll notice that the code section mentions “prima facie speed”. “Prima facie” speed limits are those which are the “norm”, absent a posted speed limit sign. Typically, the prima facie speed limit is 65mph on a freeway and 25mph on a public street.
However, it’s not enough that the prosecutor prove both DUI and speeding. With this enhancement, the prosecutor must also prove:
(3) The driving was in a manner prohibited by Vehicle Code 23103, Reckless Driving. Therefore, not only must there be proof of the speeding, there must be proof that it was done “intentionally with a willful and wanton disregard for the safety of persons or property.”
What is considered reckless driving?
“Reckless driving” also must be proven in the case in addition to speeding. That term means driving with a “willful or wanton disregard for the safety of persons or property”. “Willful or wanton disregard” in turn means that you have a conscious awareness that your conduct is likely to injure another person but you intentionally ignore that risk.
This is a very high standard. That your conduct is “likely” to injure someone isn’t the same as saying that it is “possibly” going to injure someone. Willful and wanton conduct refers to conduct that is definitely likely to injure another person.
The speeding enhancement is a tough one to prove, This is due to the fact that the prosecutor has to also prove a violation of Vehicle Code 23103, Reckless Driving. The reality in most of these cases is that the defendant was just speeding. Although a dangerous activity, it generally does not meet the higher proof level of Reckless Driving.
Defenses to the DUI Speed Enhancement.
The DUI speed enhancement would only apply to a person who is convicted of a DUI. Thus, if the defendant’s charges were reduced, or if there was an acquittal of the DUI charge, the speed penalty would be inapplicable, as it “attaches” to the DUI charge.
In addition, speeding while under the influence does not automatically qualify as reckless driving under the speed enhancement statute. There must be some type of reckless driving conduct in addition to the speeding. This is a high standard and a defendant may have a strong argument that while he or she may have been speeding, his or her driving was not reckless.
You might also be able to show that you were not intoxicated at the time, were not speeding, and were not driving recklessly, all of which are defenses.
Note that the Speed Enhancement is not a separate Crime in California Under Vehicle Code 23582 VC – it is only an enhancement to any filed charges of DUI.
Is jail time mandatory if found guilty in a speed enhancement case?
Yes, A judge in your case is mandated to give you a jail term if the speed enhancement charge is proven in your case.
What if I don’t think there is enough evidence to prove the speed enhancement charge in my case?
You should always consult an experienced DUI attorney if there is a speed enhancement in your case. In some speed enhancement cases, an attorney may be able to fight the charge because there was no properly maintained, calibrated measuring device. That includes radar guns, laser guns, or speedometers) used to track the driver’s speed and there is a lack of evidence to prove the speed enhancement charge.
Contact us for help.
If you or loved one is charged with a DUI and a Vehicle Code 23582 VC speeding enhancement, then you need an experienced lawyer. We invite you to contact us right away. We provide a free consultation in office or by phone.