Can Moving Violations Become Enhanced?
Interviewer: Now obviously a DUI violation is something that’s pretty serious anyway but are there stiffer penalties for driving under the influence through a construction zone, a school zone or leaving the scene of an accident after driving under the influence?
Aaron: Yes. Those are different enhancements, which will increase the fines. They do have the double fine penalty if you’re going through a construction zone. I just had one of those cases recently. My client had allegedly gone through a cone zone where there were some police officers. Eventually some construction workers were up ahead.
Penalties for Enhanced Violations Can Escalate to Double the Original Amount of the Fine
It was a case where in the end we were able to agree on dropping the enhancement but the DA’s office wanted the double fine. It was going to add close $2,000 more onto the fine for just the DUI. I was able to convince them not to require the double fine, which made my client happy.
There Are Factors That Can Enhance a DUI Charge and Escalate the Penalties
There are other allegations and there are numerous factors with DUIs that make them more serious or make the fines increase substantially. One that we see, unfortunately too frequently, is when someone drives with a child in the car.
A DUI with a Minor Passenger
Sometimes depending on the way the DA files, it can even be charged as a felony. There’s an enhancement which would just make the penalty a little greater, saying there was a child in the car or there’s a separate crime of child endangerment, which the DA’s office sometimes files.
That’s a misdemeanor if they don’t tack on the enhancement. It requires some pretty severe penalties, such as attending a year of parenting classes on top of everything else and a longer probation.
Other types of enhancements can be for driving at a high speed. If you’re going 30 miles an hour or more over the speed limit on a freeway or a highway, there’s a 20 mile and a 30-mile enhancement on that. Also for high blood alcohol levels, such as a .15 or a .20; those are different levels where they start making the penalties greater and, of course, multiple DUIs can also be enhanced.
By Aaron Bortel
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