Aggravated DUI should not be confused with uncomplicated drunk driving charges. Generally, punishments for simple DUI offenses are less severe, and offenses are usually classified as misdemeanors. When it comes to aggravated DUIs, however, charges and punishments are more serious; and these are usually classified as felonies. As drivers, we should all be aware of state laws regarding driving offenses. Not all states have aggravated drunk driving laws. On the other hand, all states have their own regulations about DUIs, as well as sentencing directives that can make punishments for convicted offenders more difficult. In other states, serious DUI offenses may not referred to as “aggravated DUI,” but it could be termed as “extreme DUI”. Other terms may be used which indicate that an offense is more serious.
Factors That Make an Offense an Aggravated DUI
1. Extremely High BAC (blood alcohol content) Level
This is the measurement that determines how much alcohol is in your blood. The normal or acceptable value is 0.08%. A person can be charged with aggravated drunk driving if his BAC is very high. In Oklahoma, for instance, an offense is considered as extreme DUI if a driver’s BAC is 0.15% or higher on his breath test or chemical blood or urine test.
2. Injury to Others
You’re lucky if the road accident you caused didn’t harm others. Maybe you only have to deal with a bent fender, which is surely fortunate on your part. Nevertheless, some who get into car accidents that are primarily due to drunk driving suffer more serious injuries. The worst part here is that these people don’t only hurt themselves; they also cause serious physical, emotional or mental injury to other vehicle operators or bystanders. When a drunk driver causes an accident and there are injuries to others, or even death, he may be looking at an aggravated DUI charge.
3. Previous Convictions
A repeat offender is someone who gets himself in the same trouble as he did in the past. So, someone who was caught drunk driving a few months ago who is then caught driving drunk today will face a more serious aggravated DUI charge.
4. Minor on Board
Someone who is caught drunk driving with a minor on board will probably be charged with extreme DUI. Therefore, don’t ever have a sip of wine if you know that you’re going to be driving your kids to school or if you are manning a school bus. Also, there are some states that impose more severe penalties for drunk drivers who operate their vehicles near or in school zones.
5. Property Damage
A driver who plows through someone’s house, yard or building, may face more serious DUI charges too. Someone who brings about massive property damage, especially if the incident causes harm or death to others, will likely face aggravated drunk driving charges.
Possible Punishments for Aggravated DUI
Consequences include incarceration, community service, fines, license suspension or revocation, treatment for alcohol or drug abuse, and also vehicle confiscation. In other states, those convicted of extreme DUI are required to have their vehicles fitted with an ignition interlock device.
- paulswansen. “Driving to fast for conditions.”. November 20, 2008. Online image. Flickr. November 15, 2012.
- License: Creative Commons image source
Claire Shaun is a freelance blogger who specializes in issues regarding car trouble and DUIs. She provides material for http://www.DUIBroward.com/ which is a site where you can make inquiries about your case and confer with expert DUI lawyers online.