Every year, thousands of drivers find themselves being arrested and charged with driving under the influence (DUI) in the United States alone. As one of the most dangerous offenses a driver can commit, DUI carries a number of hefty penalties—and even a first offense can lead to hundreds or thousands of dollars in fines, a lengthy license suspension, and/or jail time. However, if you are charged with aggravated drunk driving, you may be facing even harsher sentencing guidelines.
Aggravated DUI Laws Vary by State
Although each state has its own specific DUI laws, most jurisdictions impose additional penalties for certain offenses. For example, if you are caught driving with a blood alcohol content (BAC) significantly above the legal 0.08% limit (usually around 0.16%), you may be charged with aggravated DUI. The same rule also applies if you were involved in a serious auto collision, driving 30 miles or more over the speed limit, or arrested in a school zone.
You could also face aggravated DUI charges if you had an underage passenger in your vehicle at the time of your arrest. While these laws vary greatly from one state to another, transporting a person under 16 is typically grounds for a driver to be charged with child endangerment. In some areas, the offense may even be classified as a felony.
Multiple DWI Offenses
If you have a history of drunk driving (meaning you have one or more DUI convictions on your record), you will be shown little leniency if you are convicted of a subsequent offense. Indeed, the penalties for drunk driving typically increase significantly with each conviction—meaning a second offense will carry a harsher sentence than a first offense, a third offense will have tougher penalties than a second offense, and so forth. Finally, if you are arrested for DUI while driving on a suspended or revoked license (or simply do not have a license), you may once again be charged with aggravated DUI.
Penalties of Aggravated DWI or DUI
It is important to know that, regardless of the reason for the offense, an aggravated DUI carries much larger fines, a far longer license suspension, and a lengthier jail sentence than a standard drunk driving charge. As a result, it is more important than ever to have legal representation if you are charged with aggravated drunk driving.
To improve your chances of obtaining a successful outcome in DUI court, the best thing you can do is obtain legal representation immediately after your arrest. With the right legal strategy, many drivers just like you are able to significantly reduce the charges against them—or in some cases, avoid them altogether. In order to do this, however, most drivers must have help from a skilled DUI defense attorney.
Unlike general practitioners, lawyers who limit their practice area to drunk driving defense have advanced knowledge in the science of breath testing and other important areas of DUI law. For more information about the latest defense strategies, submit your information online to schedule a free, no-obligation consultation with an experienced DUI attorney in your area.
From California to Texas and every state in between, there are serious penalties for being convicted of driving under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs. The laws and consequences vary for DUI depending on jurisdiction, but one thing states agree on is that this is a serious criminal offense. In many circumstances, DUI is classified as a misdemeanor. However, if you are charged with an aggravated DUI, you may be convicted of a felony.
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What Qualifies As Aggravated DUI?
The penalties for an aggravated DUI are more severe because a driver was caught committing an additional offense in addition to their DUI. For example, if you were driving with a suspended or revoked license and you were arrested for DUI, you can be convicted of an aggravated DUI. Other examples of an aggravated DUI may include transporting a minor; driving in a school zone or operating a bus; causing an injury or death due to an automobile accident; or having a prior conviction of reckless homicide. In addition, if you have a prior DUI within a certain number of years, you may be convicted of an aggravated DUI.
Harsh Aggravated DUI Penalties
As far as penalties are concerned, it depends on your state. However, you could be looking at community service, loss of your driver’s license, expensive fines, probation and jail time. In fact, 27 states have mandatory prison sentences between 48 hours and three years depending on the circumstances surrounding your case. If your vehicle is not confiscated by the state, you may be required to have an ignition interlock system installed in your vehicle. This machine will require you to blow into it in order to start your vehicle. If a small amount of alcohol is detected, your vehicle will not start.
Outside of court, you’ll likely face the loss of your vehicle insurance. Another long-term penalty is the automatic disqualification from certain jobs.
If you or someone you know has been charged with an aggravated DUI, it’s essential to contact an experienced DUI defense attorney. The circumstances surrounding your case will need the expertise of a DUI defense lawyer who specializes in this ever-changing and quite complex area of law.
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