Enhanced DUI Charges Mean Tougher Penalties

Posted By Law Offices of Scott Henry || Aug 15, 2016

You were pulled over by a cop who suspected you were driving under the influence. You disagreed but still ended up in handcuffs and charged with driving under the influence. Now you find out that if convicted, your sentence may include enhancements.

Enhancements is a nice word, but not when it comes to drunk driving charges because they make a bad situation even worse. Basically, it means there are other factors to consider in these cases that could result in harsher punishment for the person convicted. Punishments vary based on the severity of the offense, but the person convicted can expect bigger fines, more jail time, a suspended license or community service.

First, let’s look at the standard penalties. Whether the charge is driving under the influence of alcohol or driving under the influence of drugs, the penalties are the same before adding enhancements. Standard first offense punishment includes up to six months in county jail and possibly probation for three to five years. There are also fines and assessments that could total $2,000 and a six month suspension of the driver’s license. The more driving under the influence offenses a person has, the penalties increase.

Now, let’s review possible enhancements.

Minor passenger

Driving under the influence with a child under the age of 14 adds time in county jail. A first offence is an additional two days in jail, but a fourth offense is an additional three months in lockup.

Reckless driving

Driving under the influence and speeding is dangerous, which is why prosecutors made it an enhancement. Driving 20 or more miles per hour on a street or 30 or more miles per hour on a freeway gets the person convicted a mandatory 60 additional days in jail.

Bodily injury

When a person driving under the influence causes bodily harm to another person, the punishment is one year in prison for each victim. There is a three year maximum penalty.

Safety zone

Getting caught driving under the influence in a safety zone results in double fines.

DUI in a construction zone

Getting caught driving under the influence in a construction zone results in double fines.

Prior felony

Anyone charged with driving under the influence within 10 years of a previous felony conviction will have their charges upgraded to a felony.

Fourth driving under the influence charge

Anyone with a fourth driving under the influence charge within a ten year period will have their charges upgraded to a felony.

Multiple driving under the influence charges

A second or third charge of driving under the influence results in an additional 48 hours in jail or 10 days of community service, if convicted.

BAC 20 or above

A blood alcohol level of .20 or above may result in increased penalties and a stint at a state approved drunk driving school.

Refusal to submit or failure to complete a chemical test

Refusal to submit to a chemical test of failing to complete one has increased penalties for each additional offense. A first offense gets 48 extra hours in jail and a one year suspended driver’s license. By the fourth offense, the charges are upgrade to felony, additional jail time is 18 days and the driver’s license is revoked for three years.

Driving under the influence charges are bad enough, but with enhancements, expect prosecutors to be even more diligent in trying to convict you. That’s why you need an even more aggressive attorney on the case. Scott D. Henry at Riverside, San Bernardino and Orange County's leading DUI defense law firm is the type of lawyer you need. With years of experience and a passion for helping people facing criminal charges, you can be confident he’s a lawyer who will work hard to get you the best possible legal outcome.

Facing these charges without a good criminal defense attorney could mean the difference between no conviction, a minimal penalty and a stay behind bars. Now is the time to find the best criminal defense attorney possible. Call Riverside, San Bernardino and Orange County's leading DUI defense law firm now to get the help you need with enhanced drunk driving charges.

Categories: DUI