Being arrested for driving under the influence (DUI) is a serious matter. Things can quickly escalate, however, when the charge is aggravated DUI. Those charged with this higher level of DUI must be prepared for a greater degree of potential punishments than that of a simple DUI. To find out more about aggravated DUI charges and what to expect, read on.
Enhanced Penalty Situations
Each state imposes DUI penalties differently, so check with your criminal defense attorney for more information. When a simple DUI is elevated to an aggravated charge, the following circumstances might be present.
1. Child on Board – What constitutes the definition of a child varies from state to state. In some states, if you are charged with a DUI and a child under the age of 16 is in your vehicle at the time of the arrest, it's considered an aggravated DUI. In a related matter, it should be mentioned that if you are charged with DUI and it happens to be in a school zone, you might be looking at an aggravated DUI even if no children are in your vehicle at the time.
2. Blood Alcohol Concentration (BAC) – Almost all states set the "per se" legal limit for BAC at .08%. For BAC levels measuring quite a bit above the legal limit, you might be charged with an aggravated DUI. The amount varies, but if your BAC is two or three times the legal limit, it's considered an aggravated DUI.
3. Driving With a Suspended or Revoked Driver's License – When an offender has disregarded a ban on driving and is arrested for DUI, it can prompt an aggravated DUI charge. This applies no matter what caused the original suspension or revocation.
4. Second or More DUI Convictions – If one or more DUI convictions did not convince you to avoid drinking and driving, you may pay the price when arrested again when the charges are bumped up to aggravated DUI.
5. Accidents – If you were involved in an accident, you may face elevated DUI charges. In some places, this applies even if you did not directly cause the accident. It should be mentioned that you can also face a personal injury lawsuit if you were charged with a DUI accident.
6. Speeding – The speed law enforcement clocked you at can cause your DUI to become aggravated. While the exact numbers vary, some states may apply the enhanced penalties at 30 or more miles per hour over the posted speed limit.
Regardless of the circumstances, aggravated DUI charges can result in higher fines, prison time, loss of driving privileges, and more. Speak to a criminal defense attorney from a firm like Thomas & Associates, PC as soon as possible for help with this problem.