What is Penalty Enhancement and What Can Increase the Punishment in a Drunk Driving Case?

By Jonathan Blecher on June 18, 2015

When you think of a law and its punishments, you would rightfully imagine something that is unwavering and unchanging. Isn’t that the purpose of a law – to provide us with set rules and regulations? However, due to penalty enhancements, crimes can carry punishments that vary widely from case to case.

Typically, penalty enhancement – or enhanced sentencing laws – will escalate any punishments an accused may face if they already have a substantially similar conviction on their criminal record. In this regard, it causes penalties to scale exponentially, rather than cumulatively, in an attempt to discourage repeat offenses.

Penalty enhancement can also occur on first time convictions, though. The court may consider particular “aggravating factors” surrounding a criminal case and use them to ramp up any punishments. For example, someone who robs $500 at gunpoint will be penalized more harshly than someone who steals $500 without brandishing a weapon of any kind. In this scenario, the act of thievery is virtually identical but the details surrounding it will significantly alter the consequences if convicted.

Are DUI cases affected by penalty enhancement?

Driving while under the influence of drugs or alcohol is a criminal offense and subject to penalty enhancement just like any other violation. A common reason DUI penalties – such as fines, jail time, and license suspensions
– are escalated is due to the offender’s driving record and aggravating circumstances of the case. Previous DUI arrests and citations
– even if they were fully paid – will be taken into consideration when determining the punishment for any future DUI convictions.

Other factors that can enhance the penalties of your DUI charges include:

  • Notably high BAC
  • Refusal of chemical testing
  • Speeding or reckless driving while drunk
  • Presence of minors in your vehicle
  • Any resulting accidents or injuries

If you are facing DUI charges and are afraid the potential punishments might be escalated due to penalty enhancement, you need to seek the legal counsel of a Miami DUI defense lawyer right away. I, Attorney Jonathan Blecher, can help you sort out your case and pursue a fair settlement. Start today by requesting a free consultation!

Back To Blog