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What are aggravating factors in DUI cases?

On Behalf of | Jul 8, 2024 | DUI

Driving under the influence (DUI) is a serious driving offense that can have life-altering consequences. And certain factors can escalate a DUI charge from bad to worse. Below, we’ll explore these aggravating factors and discuss why challenging them is crucial for minimizing harsh penalties.

High Blood Alcohol Content (BAC)

A high BAC can significantly worsen a DUI case. In Florida and other states, the legal limit is 0.08 percent, but if your BAC is 0.15 percent or higher, you face stiffer penalties. You could wind up with longer license suspensions and mandatory alcohol education programs.

Prior offenses

Repeat DUI offenders receive harsher punishments. A second or subsequent DUI conviction leads to increased fines, longer jail time and mandatory ignition interlock devices.

Accidents and injuries

If your DUI involves an accident resulting in injuries or property damage, the consequences become more severe. Courts consider this reckless behavior, and you may face felony charges.

Child endangerment

Driving under the influence with a child in the car is a serious offense. Drivers with a minor in their vehicle at the time of a DUI face the same escalated penalties as drivers with a very high BAC. It can also trigger child endangerment penalties.

Refusing a breathalyzer test

Drivers have the right to refuse a breath test. However, doing so violates state implied consent laws, which have penalties including automatic license suspension. Additionally, courts may consider test refusal as evidence in a criminal case.

Protecting your rights and future

Challenging aggravating factors is crucial in minimizing exposure to harsh charges and added penalties. Defending against them can help you avoid the following:

  1. A stain on your criminal record
  2. Higher insurance premiums
  3. Jail time or license suspension, which can be disruptive to your personal and professional life

Your defense could involve strategies like contesting police procedures or casting doubt on testing accuracy. You may also be able to use mitigating factors (or extenuating circumstances) to your advantage and receive more favorable treatment.

DUI charges are upsetting, especially when aggravating factors come into play. Understanding the stakes and challenging these factors can have a tremendous impact on your future, your finances and your freedom. As such, taking the charges seriously and defending against them is crucial.