What is a sentence "enhancement"?
Most states increase the punishment in drunk driving cases if certain facts exist. The most common of these is an earlier conviction for the same or a similar offense — usually within five or seven years of the current offense. Other commonly encountered enhancements (which must usually be alleged in the complaint) include:
In most states, the existence of significant personal injury caused by drunk driving elevates the offense to a felony. A death can trigger manslaughter or even, in a few states (including California), murder charges.
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