A DUI charge, on its own, can be bad enough. Potential repercussions can include criminal penalties such as fines and jail time and can also affect your right to drive.
In the presence of so-called aggravating factors, the penalties can increase even more. These factors generally include circumstances that make your offense substantially worse than the basic DUI offense of driving with a blood alcohol content of over 0.08 percent.
Some aggravating factors will raise the level of the DUI offense to an aggravated misdemeanor. These include causing property damage or minor injury while committing the DUI, or driving with a BAC of 0.15 percent. If you have a minor child in the car and this is your first DUI, you may also face aggravated misdemeanor charges.
Other aggravating factors elevate the charges to a felony or an aggravated felony. These include committing a DUI repeatedly or while driving with a revoked or suspended license. Reckless driving, going 30 miles or more over the speed limit, or committing the DUI in a school zone are also serious aggravating factors.
If the DUI results in serious injury or death, aggravated charges with harsh penalties are likely. In this context, serious injury typically means the injury carries a solid risk of causing death, serious disfigurement, or loss or functional impairment of a limb or organ.
A conviction on aggravated charges can lead to penalties such as thousands of dollars in fines, up to five years in prison, having to pay restitution for property damage and/or injuries and losing your license forever. In addition, you will face the general consequences of a felony conviction, which can affect your ability to access housing, employment and professional certification.
The details of your case
Does facing serious charges mean giving up without a fight? Experienced lawyers know that a prosecutor's seemingly strong case can crumble under close investigation. Even evidence people think of as scientific and objective, such as Breathalyzer results, can contain serious errors. Your options will depend on the facts of your case.