Speed Enhancement- California Vehicle Code §23582
Sentencing enhancements, such as a speed enhancement, are usually charged by prosecutors in DUI cases where the police reports show some supporting evidence. These enhancements substantially increase the potential consequences that you may face. Unfortunately, this is becoming a commonly used tactical maneuver by the prosecutor. They allege an enhancement in every DUI case where the subject is allegedly driving 20 mph over the limit on the street, or 30 mph over the limit on the freeway, regardless of whether they can prove the enhancement beyond a reasonable doubt. The prosecutors do this to persuade you into taking a plea bargain to plead guilty/no contest to the DUI, and they will strike (eliminate) the enhancement allegation which carries a 60 day mandatory minimum jail sentence.
This may seem tempting to an attorney that doesn’t handle many DUI cases, and the rest of the facts or the law may not even matter to them. That’s why it’s important to hire a DUI attorney that knows the law and knows how to fight an enhancement allegation. These allegations must be proven beyond a reasonable doubt, as well as the underlying criminal charge. A DUI attorney from The Law Office of Ben Mironer knows the various difficulties that a prosecutor actually has in proving all of the elements of a speed enhancement allegation and DUI, in trial.
First, a prosecutor must prove that you are guilty of committing the underlying offense. This is a prerequisite before you can get to the speed enhancement. If the prosecutor can’t prove the DUI beyond a reasonable doubt, then this speed enhancement can’t apply.
Next, the alleged speed must exceed 30 mph over the posted speed limit on the freeway (sometimes not posted), or 20 mph over the posted speed limit on the street (sometimes not posted). The default prima facie speed limit that applies is 65 mph on the freeway, and 25 on most public streets (when not posted).
A DUI attorney from The Law Office of Ben Mironer knows this issue is actually very technical, given that most officers establish the speed, in a DUI stop, based on a visual observation or a bumper pace. It is very rare that a DUI arrest is predicated by a stop for speeding based on a laser or radar detection. This is a key when a prosecutor must prove the enhancement beyond a reasonable doubt. A DUI attorney from our office knows how to effectively negotiate with a prosecutor, or cross-examine a police officer to show weaknesses in their evidence.
Another critical element the prosecutor must prove is that your driving was done in a reckless manner. Under California Vehicle Code §23103, reckless driving is described as driving “in willful or wanton disregard for the safety of persons or property.” Driving under the influence and speeding can’t be considered reckless driving, if that’s all there is. There must be something that shows reckless driving. An experienced DUI attorney that has litigated trials knows that you must look at the jury instructions in order to understand the law.
Jury Instruction- CALCRIM 2200 states, “A person acts with wanton disregard for safety when (1) he or she is aware that his or her actions present a substantial and unjustifiable risk of harm, and (2) he or she intentionally ignores that risk. The person does not, however, have to intend to cause damage.”
An attorney at The Law Office of Ben Mironer can truly impact your case if you’re charged with a speed enhancement. We know how to challenge these allegations because the standards set forth in the law make it very difficult for a prosecutor to prove beyond a reasonable doubt. In order to be guilty of this allegation, an individual must not only be DUI, and exceeding the speed limit by 20 or 30 mph, but also must be intentionally maneuvering the vehicle in such a way as to cause a substantial and unjustifiable risk of harm.
If you see that you’ve been charged with a speed enhancement, a skilled DUI attorney at The Law Office of Ben Mironer will ensure that you do not need to feel threatened or discouraged. We know how to challenge these allegations and get them stricken, without being forced to plead guilty to a DUI. We don’t just take deals without fully investigating your case and all of our possible defenses. Our main goal is not to just get your speed enhancement stricken, it’s to get your DUI dismissed.