While the penalties for drunk driving are already rigid, certain circumstances can further increase your DUI sentence. Any factual or legal factor that increases the threat to public safety because of a drunk driver can lead to a stiffer penalty and punishment, including license suspension for a longer time, mandatory jail time, and higher fines.
The laws for DUI vary in all states, but the following factors can result in the enhancement of a DUI sentence:
Previous DUI Conviction – the penalties in every state for drivers with a prior DUI offense are greater. A few states enhance the penalties for a DUI offense within the last five years, while others within the last ten years. Some states increase the sentence no matter when the previous offense occurred.
Higher Concentration of Blood-Alcohol – many states have increased penalties for drivers with a higher level of blood alcohol when they are arrested.
Breath Test Refusal – if you refuse to take the breath test, you are likely to receive a stricter penalty. Certain states even revoke the driver’s license immediately, and mandatory jail time is required in other states.
Endangering a Child – if you were drunk driving with a child in the car, you will be given a stricter penalty. This applies to the majority of states.
Property Damage – in case you crashed into another vehicle or property, your sentence will be severe, which may increase further if you don’t have insurance.
Some other DUI enhancement factors include:
- Bodily injuries of others
- Driving without a license
- Already on probation for other crimes
- Found with an open alcohol container
Often, individuals are so ashamed of getting arrested for drinking and driving that they accept whatever penalty the DA presents to them just to get over with it. However, this may mean you are agreeing to unnecessarily severe consequences. This is the reasons why it is recommended to consult a criminal defense lawyer so they can try to minimize your penalties.