Driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol is a serious offense in and of itself. However, you can make it worse by combining it with other crimes that would lead to you being charged with an Aggravated DUI.
So What Is Aggravated DUI and how is an Aggravated DUI prosecuted in court? You can act in your own best interests and possibly be able to rebuild your future quickly by learning what leads to you being charged with an Aggravated DUI today.
DUI versus Aggravated Driving Under the Influence
You may already know that a DUI is defined as driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol. This crime can lead to serious consequences that include being fined to serving time in jail. However, you can face worse legal ramifications if you are charged with an Aggravated DUI.
What is Aggravated DUI? In its simplest terms, an Aggravated DUI is a DUI that is paired with a factor that makes the offense worse than what it would be by itself. The unique coupling of the DUI with another crime elevates the seriousness of the offense and must be prosecuted more extensively in court.
So what are the factors that could cause you to be charged with an Aggravated DUI rather than a basic charge of driving under the influence? Most states will file aggravated charges against you if you commit any of these other offenses while driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol:
Having Multiple DUI convictions on your record can cause you to be charged with an aggravated offense if you are caught driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol. When the officer pulls you over, he or she will check your driving and criminal records. If you have a DUI on your record, you could be charged with an aggravated DWI and face more serious punishments when you go to court.
Multiple DUI offenders are often placed on probation or parole and given terms that include not being arrested for DWI again. If you are stopped for and arrested on an aggravated charge, you may be sentenced to jail and lose your driving privileges for months if not years in the future.
High Blood Alcohol Content Level
Federal law requires that all 50 states, as well as the District of Columbia, establish the legal blood alcohol limit at 0.08 percent. If you are at or below this legal limit, you will not be arrested for and charged with DWI. Even if you are slightly above this limit, you still might face a misdemeanor charge and walk away with a lesser punishment.
However, you could face aggravated charges if you have a high BAC level that is close to or higher than half the 0.08 percent standard. Most states will file aggravated charges against you if your BAC is 0.15 percent. New Hampshire and Utah will arrest you for aggravated DWI if you have a high BAC level of 0.16 percent.
The aggravated charges stem from the fact that law enforcement considers you to be an exceptional danger to yourself and the public when you have that high of a BAC level. You may even be charged with a felony and face jail time if your BAC level is close to or more than twice the legal limit.
Kids in the Car
Law enforcement will arrest you for aggravated driving under the influence if you have minors present in the vehicle with you. Police will regard you as not only a danger to yourself but also to the children who are riding in the car as well.
Having minors present in the vehicle while you are driving drunk can lead to you being charged with DUI as well as child endangerment or child abuse. The court will not only decide your case based on the level of your BAC at the time of your arrest but also on the fact that you put children’s lives in jeopardy. You may face years in jail if you are convicted on all of the charges filed against you.
You also may be charged with public endangerment as well as aggravated driving while intoxicated if you are driving excessively over the speed limit. Excessive speed combined with being under the influence of drugs or alcohol can lead to aggravated charges as well as legal punishments that might restrict or remove your driving privileges.
If you are not speeding but still driving under the influence, you may face a lesser charge or even only be charged with a misdemeanor. The higher your speed is at the time of your arrest, however, the greater the chance that you might face felony or aggravated DWI charges.
Revoked or Suspended License
Finally, you may face aggravated charges of DWI or DUI if you are driving on a suspended or revoked license. Your license may have been restricted, revoked or suspended to punish your driving behavior and to convince you not to offend again. If you are pulled over and tested for DUI while driving on a license that has been suspended or revoked, chances are that you will be sentenced to jail and have any probation or parole terms to which you were previously sentenced revoked as well.
Aggravated charges of driving under the influence can have long-lasting and serious consequences on your life. You may find it difficult to get or keep a job, get a loan, or carry out other tasks that you take for granted.
How can you beat an aggravated charge and move on with your life after you go to court? Your best chances lie with retaining a skilled DUI lawyer to defend you and to act as your legal representative.
Why Hire a DUI Attorney
Why should you hire a DUI attorney after you have aggravated DWI charges filed against you? You have no time to waste when it comes to fighting for your future in court. The prosecutor will use every shred of evidence against you to convince the judge to hand down the harshest of punishments.
Even if you did commit one of the other offenses during the commission of your DUI, you still may not deserve to spend years in jail or pay thousands of dollars in fines. You may already know that you made a grave mistake and have resolved not to drive while intoxicated again.
When you want to avoid the severest of penalties, you need a skilled DWI lawyer working for you. Your lawyer can:
- make sure your arrest was legal
- review the results of your field sobriety tests
- ensure that your rights are protected
- argue down the charges or get the charges dropped if possible
Your attorney may even be able to help you beyond the courtroom by assisting you in keeping your job and your license. You also may be able to keep the details of your arrest under wraps and out of the local newspaper and media if you have an attorney helping you.
With good legal representation, you can hand over the finite details of your defense to someone who knows the state’s aggravated DWI laws and how those laws can be used to safeguard your future. You avoid the burden of defending yourself and instead gain an ally who wants you to walk away with your freedom intact as much as you do.
Aggravated charges of driving under the influence can wreck your life and devastate your finances. You make the circumstances of your arrest worse if you commit other crimes while driving drunk. Defend yourself and safeguard your future by hiring an attorney who knows how to defend you in court and is well-versed in your state’s aggravated DWI laws.