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Questions:  Why am I charged with VC 23578?  What is VC 23578?   How much trouble am I in for a VC 23578?  What does Fresno do in court when I'm charged with VC 23578?  Should I hire a DUI Lawyer for my DUI with a VC 23578 enhancement?

What is a VC 23578? A Vehicle Code 23578 is a commonly charged along with a VC 23152(B) or even with a VC 23152(A) charge.  It is an allegation that a defendant was operating a motor vehicle while their Blood Alcohol Content was at or above .15% by weight.  It may also be an allegation that a defendant refused the chemical test after being lawfully arrested

The statue reads: Vehicle Code Section 23578. Concentration of Alcohol in Blood or Refusal to take Chemical Test as Special Factor to Enhance Penalties or to determine Probation or Conditions.

In addition to any other provision of this code, if a person is convicted of a violation of Section 23152 or 23153, the court shall consider a concentration of alcohol in the person's blood of 0.15 percent or more, by weight, or the refusal of the person to take a chemical test as a special factor that may justify enhancing the penalties in sentencing, in determining whether to grant probation, and, if probation is granted, in determining additional or enhanced terms and conditions of probation.

The truth being, different courts treat this allegation quite differently.  Some courts, such as Madera County tend to increase fines when a conviction under VC 23578 occurs.  Fresno County routinely gives and extra 5-days of county jail, often served on Adult Offender Work Program when such a conviction occurs. However, further increases in Blood Alcohol Concentration may result in more severe penalties.  In fact, Fresno will sentence a person convicted of having a high blood alcohol concentration to additional days in County Jail, often increasing Jail Time with each .05 increment.  There are other factors that may lead to even more severe punishments, depending on the circumstances of your case.  It is important to have an experienced criminal defense attorney explain the possible sentences that can occur prior to entering a plea.

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