Possible Sentence Enhancements
If you are charged with a DUI, you should be aware of the possible existence of facts, if proven or admitted, will significantly increase the sentence.
These “sentence enhancements” will usually be apparent since they must be alleged in the criminal complaint. In many cases, however, the prosecution may ask leave to amend the complaint to reflect an enhancement relatively late in the proceedings.
The most common and for many years the only enhancement was a prior conviction for a DUI offense within 10 years of the current offense.
More recently, however, the legislature has continued in its unrelenting obfuscation of the DUI sentencing provisions by adding more enhancements. As of this writing, these include increased sentences for refusing to submit to blood-alcohol testing (CVC 23577), excessive speed (CVC 23582—additional 60 days in jail on a first or second offense DUI if found guilty-may be charged if there is speed greater than 20 mph above the posted speed limit on surface streets or speed greater than 30 mph above the posted speed limit on the freeway), excessive blood-alcohol concentration (CVC 23578-above .15%; CVC 23538), and having a child passenger under the age of 14 (Veh. Code, § 23572) and great bodily injury (Pen. Code, § 12022.7). See, e.g., People v. Poroj, 190 Cal. App. 4th 165, 117 Cal. Rptr. 3d 884 (4th Dist. 2010), review denied, (Mar. 2, 2011). Certainly, more laws such as these will be passed in the future.