8 Serious Offenses That Could Affect Your DUI Sentence

Mar 27, 2024

If you thought a regular DUI charge was bad, think again. There are many aggravated DUI charges that can escalate the severity and consequences of a DUI conviction.

In this article, we will explore eight aggravating factors that can increase the severity of a DUI charge. From excessive blood alcohol concentration to causing serious bodily injury or death, these charges can lead to harsher penalties, including longer license suspensions, hefty fines, and even imprisonment. Knowing and understanding these aggravated DUI charges is crucial to avoiding getting caught in a legal nightmare. So, whether you find yourself in the middle of an unfortunate legal situation or simply want to be informed about DUI-related laws, this article will provide you with the knowledge you need to navigate the roads safely and responsibly.

Guidelines For Sentencing

Mandatory sentences for serious DUI convictions vary widely across jurisdictions. In certain areas, there are mandatory minimum term requirements for specific aggravating circumstances; in other jurisdictions, judges are given more flexibility in determining sentences through the use of sentencing guidelines.

Some jurisdictions impose statutory minimum sentences due to aggravating circumstances such as a high blood alcohol content, prior drunk driving convictions, accidents related to the offense, or injury. Penalties involve probation, community service, mandatory jail time, alcohol education classes, license revocation, or an ignition interlock device.

The laws that dictate possible sentences for DUI offenses, such as the weighting of aggravating factors, can vary from state to state. Additionally, the scope and applicability of mandatory sentencing guidelines can differ significantly from one state to another. It is important that you talk to a local legal professional about possible sentencing standards and consequences in a case that involves an aggravated DUI charge.

1 – Prior DUI Convictions

Prior DUI convictions can greatly amplify the severity of penalties for repeat DUI offenses. Multiple convictions for driving under the influence are considered a pattern of behavior by a person who shows no respect for the law and may pose a potential danger to the public. Therefore, the judge often tends to impose a much stiffer punishment on repeat offenders.

Penalties often get harsher with each conviction. This is to protect public safety and discourage people from driving while intoxicated on a regular basis. It is critical that those with prior DUI convictions get legal counsel and take precautions to avoid committing the same offenses.

2 – High Blood Alcohol Content (BAC) The blood alcohol concentration (BAC) level determines the severity of DUI penalties when an individual has been caught driving under the influence. Whenever an individual is caught driving under the influence of alcohol, they are tested to see what their BAC level is, or how much alcohol is in their bloodstream. The BAC limit of each jurisdiction is different, but most jurisdictions consider a BAC of 0.08% or higher to be illegal. If an individual’s BAC is much higher than the legal limit, then the penalties can be even harsher.

3 – Excessive Speeding Or Reckless DrivingDriving at excessive speeds on highways is one of numerous factors that can heighten the gravity of a DUI charge. Driving at a speed of 30–40 miles per hour or more over the posted limit will significantly increase the gravity of a driving under the influence charge. More aggressive driving behaviors, such as cutting people off, weaving in and out of traffic, or increasing speed to pass someone, can also increase the severity of a DUI. Speeding and reckless driving while driving under the influence demonstrate a pattern of wanton disregard for other people’s safety and for the rule of law. Given the seriousness of the offense, such behavior is unlikely to be given a light sentence. 4 – Involvement In An Accident

There are many reasons why causing an accident makes the punishment of driving under influence (DUI) more severe.

First, when a drunk driver causes an accident, they recklessly put the lives of other drivers and passengers at stake on the road. This is punishable with a more severe charge and a higher punishment.

Second, causing an accident by driving under influence can result in significant damage to many properties in the vehicle or the injury of passengers as a result of the accident. This shows how seriously the accident occurred and deserves more severe sanctions.

If a drunk driver runs through a red light and crashes his vehicle into another car, causing severe injuries for the person riding that car, the penalties, in this case, could be upgraded to a felony violation depending on the extent of the injuries sustained.

Due to the serious nature of drunk driving as a crime, any accident it causes is amplified.

5 – Endangering The Safety Of Others

When someone driving under the influence puts the lives of others in danger, enhanced DUI charges may be applied even in cases where there has not been an accident. These situations typically involve an intoxicated driver who engages in reckless behavior, endangering the lives of others. As previously stated, examples of such behavior include a drunk driver driving over the speed limit, weaving in and out of traffic, running red lights, and so on. However, if the drunk driver has passengers in the car, the charge may be escalated. The law takes such circumstances very seriously and, subsequently, imposes harsher punishments.

6 – Refusal To Submit To Chemical Testing

Individuals facing a charge of driving under the influence (DUI) or driving while intoxicated (DWI) will want to consider the ramifications of a test refusal. First, when an individual receives a driver’s license, the state considers them to have given implied consent to agree to chemical testing if they are suspected of driving while under the influence of drugs or alcohol. When that individual refuses to provide this chemical test, they have violated this law. It can thus be used against them in court as an admission of guilt, and it can result in harsher punishment. This can occur independently of whether the individual is guilty of the DUI charge or not.

Moreover, even if the charge is not proven, some DUIs result in the revocation of a driver’s license. Some states will revoke your license automatically when you are charged with a DUI and refuse to submit to chemical testing or a breathalyzer. This suspension, depending on the jurisdiction, will usually be longer than the suspension to which you will be subjected if that DUI is proven in court.

7 – Driving With A Suspended License

A DUI charge can be upgraded by driving while suspended, which could result in harsher punishments for the offender. If a person’s license is already suspended, it usually indicates that they have a history of moving violations or DUI convictions. All things considered, this offense makes a DUI accusation more serious and can have long-lasting legal repercussions for the offender.

8 – Presence Of Minors

When minors are present in the car when a DUI offense occurs, the penalties for a DUI become stiffer, and the severity of the offense increases. A judge or prosecutor is likely to go further when sentencing an offender who is driving under the influence with minors in the car, as they understand that it puts minors at risk of their lives and puts them in danger of being injured or killed. This means prosecutors and judges are more likely to come down hard on offenders who drive under the influence with minors, who can be killed or injured if an accident occurs.

Get The Legal Help You Need Today!

If you want to learn more about the specific penalties for aggravated DUI charges in your state, you can contact a local DUI attorney for more information. If one of these circumstances applies to you directly, you will definitely want to have an experienced DUI defense lawyer on your side. To learn more about your legal options and the defense that is available to you, contact Michael Reid Legal Solutions today for a free consultation.