Getting caught while driving under the influence is bad enough but getting booked for aggravated DUI is just worse. DUI or driving under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs is treated as a very serious offense as it can lead to more tragic events. Aggravated DUI on the other hand is treated as an even more serious offense as it is seen by the court as a grave disrespect for the law. It carries severe penalties in the form of fines and prison time. In a lot of cases, licenses are also revoked indefinitely, if not suspended.
So, what is aggravated DUI? Aggravated DUI is usually charged when a person whose license has been revoked or suspended due to a prior DUI charge is caught driving. But in some cases, you can be charged with aggravated DUI if you have caused damages to property or loss of life while driving under the influence. Here’s a list of circumstances that can lead to an arrest for aggravated DUI. Below are other circumstances that can lead to an aggravated DUI charge:
- Having a minor in the car with you while driving under the influence. In the event that you were flagged by a police officer and based on the sobriety test and breath analyzer report your blood alcohol content or BAC is above the state limit and on top of that, you have a minor with you, then you can be charged with aggravated DUI. There are different age limits for what constitutes a minor in different states, so that is also a consideration.
- Very high blood alcohol content (BAC). In many states, the legal limit of BAC is .08 percent. If you are caught with at least twice the legal limit BAC or .15 percent, then you can automatically be charged with aggravated DUI.
- Reckless driving or speeding while driving under the influence. On a regular day, speeding would usually just result to a speeding ticket and a friendly reminder from a traffic officer. However, if you are caught speeding and the officer in charge finds a cause to investigate for a DUI, then an aggravated DUI charge is already in the horizon for you. Reckless driving has been considered unconstitutional by some states as the definition of “willful and needless neglect of the safety of other drivers” is considered too vague. But some states still consider reckless driving and DUI a combination that can result to aggravated DUI.
- Multiple DUI offenses. If you have been charged with DUI multiple times in a span of at least 3 to 12 years, the next time you are caught driving under the influence, an aggravated DUI may immediately be charged against you. The reason behind this is that a court may see a multiple DUI offender as someone who has not learned his lesson. Again, it cannot be stressed enough that far more tragic events can happen if a person is driving under the influence. And the court will not wait and see for you to make a bigger mess before heftier penalty and longer prison term is given to you.
Driving under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs results to a driver with slower reflexes and inability to make wise decision in cases of emergency and putting that driver behind the wheels is just an accident waiting to happen. This is why law enforcement sees a DUI and aggravated DUI offense very seriously. However, if you feel that you have been unfairly charged with aggravated DUI, seeking an expert DUI defense lawyer might help you get a lesser charge. Aggravated DUI comes with very serious consequences so if you’ve been unfairly charge, call a lawyer ASAP.