A conviction for driving under the influence in Missouri can result in a variety of penalties. These penalties are largely contingent on the circumstances of the DUI investigation and arrest. With DUI sentence enhancement, it is important to understand when a driver might face harsher penalties.

The facts of the case or a legal requirement could lead to sentence enhancement. If a driver has had a DUI conviction in the past, it will likely result in worse penalties for a conviction on a subsequent offense. A driver with a high blood-alcohol concentration could also face sentence enhancement. Since 0.08% BAC will generally warrant a DUI charge, those who register 0.15% might be confronted with this challenge.

Based on implied consent, drivers are required to submit to a law enforcement officer’s request to take a breath test. A common mistake that drivers make is to think that they have the right to refuse. Refusal may spark an immediate driver’s license suspension. There can also be jail time. For a person who was driving under the influence when they had an accident that caused property damage, it can mean sentence enhancement. In the same context, if there is an accident and a person suffers bodily injury, this will enhance the penalties.

Other reasons for sentence enhancement include not having a driver’s license, committing a DUI while on probation for other criminal acts, driving with an open container of alcohol and committing DUI while the vehicle is equipped with an ignition interlock device. Fortunately, there are strategies to lodge a defense, such as calling the traffic stop into question, investigating whether the officer was violating protocol or asserting that the testing machine was not working properly. A plea bargain may be possible if evidence against the defendant is strong. A law firm with experience in criminal defense may help to combat the charges.