While the penalties for an ordinary driving under the influence (DUI) conviction can be very harsh, things will inevitably get much worse in some cases. When special circumstances are present, a simple DUI charge can be enhanced to a far more serious higher level. Read on to find out more.
Enhanced DUI Charges
In most cases, a DUI is charged at the misdemeanor level. Misdemeanors are generally less-serious and any time behind bars usually never exceeds a year. If any of the below issues are present, you might be charged with an enhanced DUI charge and that can mean a felony or a higher degree of a misdemeanor.
- Fleeing from law enforcement.
- Causing an accident.
- Causing the death of a passenger or pedestrian.
- Resisting arrest.
- Having blood alcohol levels over a certain amount (far more than the minimum level).
- Having a minor-aged child in the vehicle at the time of the arrest.
Additional Charges of Child Endangerment
The safety of children is a high priority when it comes to the justice system. Those who drink, drive, and have a child on board could be charged with an additional crime—child endangerment. Child endangerment covers any situation where your actions place a child in harm's way. Child endangerment may be a misdemeanor in some states and a felony in others, but when added to a DUI, it can mean a far more serious case. As you can imagine, a judge hearing your DUI case won't be sympathetic to a defendant who put an innocent child's life in danger no matter what your other charges may be.
Fight the Charges
If you have an enhanced DUI along with child endangerment charges, it's even more important that you fight to have the charges reduced or dropped. Not only do drivers in this situation face possible jail time, they are also facing thousands of dollars in fees, fines, court costs, and more. Almost every part of a DUI punishment is attached to a monetary fee. From probation to classes to ignition interlock devices—it never ends. Also, defendants who are divorced (or about to be) may find that their chances of gaining custody or visitation are seriously curtailed.
This is no time to procrastinate. A case has to be built based on evidence such as the field sobriety tests, dash-cam footage, and more. Speak to a DUI defense lawyer as soon as you are released from jail so that they can get started on your case. Contact a criminal lawyer for more information.