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DUI sentence enhancements make a bad situation worse

Reports of drunk driving arrests are something you may hear about frequently. Politicians, celebrities, even police officers may make headlines when arrested for driving under the influence of alcohol. However, without planning ahead, just about anyone who enjoys an adult beverage has the potential for making the mistake of getting behind the wheel of a vehicle.

Overall, law enforcement is zealous about preventing drunk driving. They see many tragic accidents that result from impairment. California, along with many other states, continues to re-evaluate its drunk driving laws and toughen its penalties. What you may not realize is that there are already factors that can enhance the penalties you may face if a court convicts you.

What are sentence enhancements?

Enhancement factors are those circumstances that exist at the time of your DUI arrest that authorities determine make the offense even more serious. In addition to the sentence you may receive for the DUI itself, you may face additional penalties if a court agrees that the aggravating factors warrant it. Some common examples of enhancement factors include the following:

  • Your blood alcohol concentration is significantly higher than the .08 legal limit in California.
  • You already have at least one DUI conviction on your record.
  • You are driving without a license or on a suspended license.
  • You have a child under age 14 in the vehicle while driving under the influence of alcohol.
  • Police find an open container of alcohol in your vehicle at the time of your arrest.
  • You are impaired while driving with an ignition interlock device on your car.
  • You are involved in an accident that results in property damage.
  • You are involved in an accident that results in injury or death to someone in another vehicle or a passenger in your car.
  • You refuse to submit to a legal breath test after police arrest you.

In fact, California, like many other states, has separate administrative penalties for refusing to take a blood alcohol test after your arrest. This may include an automatic suspension of your license and a fine even if a court does not convict you of the original DUI charge.

Since DUI penalties are harsh enough, you would be wise to seek the advice of an attorney, especially if you are facing aggravating factors that may enhance your potential sentence. An attorney can investigate the circumstances of your case and assist you in fighting for the most positive resolution possible.

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