DUI Sentence Enhancements

Enhancements relating to drunk driving violations are handled is the addition of DUI sentence enhancements in certain cases. Enhancements are used to raise fines, lengthen suspensions and increase jail time for those considered to be repeat offenders or who have committed more serious crimes.

Although these “enhancements” help to serve politicians and those in political office in their quest for attention, and often make the rest of society feel good, their effectiveness is still up for debate. One thing is for sure though, anyone charged with one of these enhancements is looking at serious trouble whether it is warranted or not.

In order to avoid or reduce these costly penalties, those facing a DUI charge should enlist the help of a qualified DUI attorney to assist in defending their rights and protecting their freedom. With over 15 years of practice in DUI law and litigation, the Law Office of Joshua Kaizuka knows what it takes to fight DUI enhancements and win cases for their clients.

If you or someone you know has been charged with a DUI offense, call our office today at 916-706-0678 for a free, no-obligation consultation to discuss your case. Our DUI lawyers are experts in dealing with DUI enhancements and can help you choose the best defense for your particular situation.


When it comes to enhancements, there are complex rules regarding how, when and why someone can be charged with these kinds of add-ons. Although specifics vary from region to region, some of the most common examples include:

  • Prior Convictions - If a driver has other previous DUI convictions in the last 10 years, this rule allows fines, jail time, alcohol recovery and education programs and license suspensions to be significantly increased. If the defendant has three or more priors, they can be charged with a felony offense and receive even more severe punishments (including state prison time).
  • Refusal to Submit to Chemical Testing - Anyone who does not comply with requested blood or breath testing during a DUI arrest can be charged with this enhancement. Multiple refusals often lead to even stiffer penalties. These are in addition to the penalties imposed by the DMV for drunk driving.
  • Accidents or Injuries - When there personal injury is involved, many DUI cases are elevated to felony offenses.
  • Elevated BAC (Blood Alcohol Concentration) - Having a blood alcohol level of .15 or higher (at the time of arrest) can also lead to increased fines and punishments.
  • Reckless Driving or Speeding - This enhancement is applied when a person is above the legal limit (.08 BAC) and is speeding while operating a vehicle. Going 20 mph over the posted speed limit on surface streets - or 30 mph or more on the freeway - is considered reckless driving.
  • Child Endangerment - Persons arrested for a DUI with minors (14 years old or younger) in the car face child endangerment charges. If the driver is a repeat offender, the resulting penalties go even higher.
  • Previous Felonies - Having a prior felony DUI conviction within ten years triggers a even if the incident would normally be a misdemeanor, results in a felony case and can lead to a much harsher sentence for the offender.
  • Prior VM (Vehicular Manslaughter) Conviction - If this condition applies from any previous DUI arrests, faces murder charges which at minimum can be 15 years to life in prison.


Anytime DUI enhancements are included it falls upon the prosecution to prove that these extra charges are valid. In other words, there must be proof to show that a driver was speeding, a child was involved, or that prior convictions apply. The prosecution cannot add a sentence enhancement without providing evidence to back it up.

Although it may seem counterproductive, sometimes it is best for the offender to admit to some DUI enhancements without contesting the charges. Certain facts, such as having a child in the car while driving intoxicated (or prior convictions that can easily be verified) can often bias the jury or create other negative emotional responses.

Some evidence (if admitted to beforehand) can be excluded from the case.

Enhancements are a complex area of law and one that should be approached carefully in order to be effective. Your best option is to work with a qualified DUI attorney who understands the pros and cons of how DUI enhancements affect your case.

The Law Office of Joshua Kaizuka can assist you with this process. Our experienced attorneys have a long history of serving DUI clients in the Sacramento area, and we know what strategies work best in dealing with DUI enhancements.

If you have questions about your particular circumstances, call our office today at 916-706-0678 for a free consultation to discuss your case.


Of course no one wants to see additional charges added to their DUI offenses, but there are ways to manage them and still mount a successful defense. For example, some out of state alleged priors might not be priorable in California, enhancements that may not look good for a jury to learn about at trial be something to take care of before trial.

Doing so opens the door to negotiations between both sides of the aisle. If a prosecutor can get an easy DUI conviction (from someone who is willing to admit to it), they may be more open to dropping the enhancements that go along with it.

This is just one example of how working with an experienced DUI lawyer can help change the direction of your case. Without a thorough understanding of how the legal process works, you may be exposing yourself to more charges than necessary.


If you, a family member or friend is facing a DUI case with enhancements, it is important to work with someone experienced in this area of law. For over 15 years, Joshua Kaizuka has been helping DUI clients and their families settle their cases and achieve extraordinary results.

If you have questions about DUI sentence enhancements or any other concerns about your case, contact us today for a free consultation. We are the experts in Sacramento DUI defense and can help you with your case and stand beside you for every step of the process.

Contact us today at 916-706-0678 to learn more and get started.