Drunk Driving Sentencing
A person who is convicted of drunk driving most likely faces some or all of the following in terms of punishment: a fine; time in jail; suspension, restriction, or revocation of the defendant's driver's license; probation; enrollment and completion of a course in drunk driving or alcoholism. In addition to these, states have also developed other penalties or requirements that drunk drivers must fulfill.
One requirement that has become more common throughout the nation involves the use of an ignition-interlock device. Such a device captures a driver's breath and analyzes the BAC of the driver. The device only allows the driver to start the vehicle when the breath analyzer reads below a certain level, such as .02 percent.
Another form of punishment is the impoundment of a drunk driver's vehicle for a certain period of time. A more serious form of this punishment is the forfeiture of a vehicle, meaning that a court can order the sale of a person's car after the person has had multiple convictions for drunk driving.
States have also modified their statutes to provide for enhanced sentences under some circumstances. These sentence enhancements may apply when one of the following events occur:
- (1) The defendant's BAC is very high, such as above .20 percent.
(2) The defendant refuses to submit to chemical testing.
(3) The defendant greatly exceeds the speed limit or drives recklessly while drunk.
(4) A child under the age of 14 is in the car when the defendant is driving drunk.
(5) Drunk driving is accompanied with an accident or injury to another person.