While DUI charges are always serious, there are factors that may make them even more serious. Such factors also increase the severity of your potential sentences in the case of a conviction. Here are four examples of these DUI enhancements:
Your Blood Alcohol Level Was Unusually High
Some states have limits on blood alcohol levels that you should not cross. If your level is even slightly higher than the limit, then you are deemed to be driving while intoxicated. However, motorists whose blood alcohol levels are much higher than the limit face heavier penalties. For example, if the level is 0.08 BAC, then a 0.2 BAC may be considered extremely high and attract an enhancement.
You Damaged Some Property
As you know, you don't have to break a traffic law to be arrested and convicted of DUI. The mere fact of driving while intoxicated, even if you are obeying all the traffic rules is enough for a conviction. However, if you do cause an accident that results in damaged property, then your penalties may be higher than the standard penalty for DUI. A good example is driving off the road and crash into a roadside shop. The same is true if you cause an accident that causes physical injury to another person.
You Had a Child Passenger
There are some groups of people that are given more protection by the state than the average Joe. For example, most states have special rules that protect children from negligence created by adults.
Therefore, if you are caught driving under the influence while having a child passenger, then you are deemed to be endangering the child's life unnecessarily. The rationale is whereas an adult may know and object to your driving while drunk, a child may not be aware of your state or drunkenness. Moreover, he or she may not have the authority to raise an objection even if he or she knows about it.
You Have Prior DUI Convictions
A DUI conviction is meant to punish you and deter you from committing similar offenses in the future. Therefore, if you have a prior conviction, then the authorities believe that your last one did not "teach you a lesson" if you are still driving while drunk. As a result, you may be penalized more heavily so that you don't repeat the offense.
These enhancements can result in severe penalties for DUI. It's important not to admit to anything before consulting an experienced DUI attorney (such as R. Patrick McPherson Attorney At Law). The lawyer may help to downgrade some of the enhancements to reduce the severity of your accusations.