Driving Under the Influence (DUI) is one of the most serious offenses a driver can commit. It is a significant crime that attracts penalties such as jail time, license suspension, and hefty fines. An aggravated DUI charge happens when a person is guilty of another offense during a DUI arrest.
According to Aaron M. Black, a Phoenix Aggravated DUI Attorney, “A person arrested for aggravated DUI may face felony charges, which have more significantly increased penalties than a DUI charge.”
Factors that Lead to Aggravated DUI Charge.
Certain situations lead to an aggravated DUI charge, which raises the severity of the criminal penalties. Below are some circumstances that can turn a DUI from a misdemeanor to a felony.
Driving with a Revoked or Suspended License
Driving with a suspended or revoked license violates a court or administrative agency order, which makes it a serious offense. You may be subject to jail time, fines, and license revocation if you are charged with a DUI while committing this crime.
Driving Without Vehicle Insurance
It is illegal to drive without insurance coverage for your vehicle. Officers usually ask motorists for proof of insurance at checkpoints. Failure to show your proof of insurance during a DUI stop may lead to an aggravated DUI charge.
Multiple DUI Convictions
A person convicted multiple times for a DUI offense is a high-risk driver and will most likely get an aggravated DUI charge.
Driving with an Extremely High Blood Alcohol Content (BAC)
The legal BAC limit for adults is 0.08%. You risk facing an aggravated DUI charge if you drive with a blood alcohol concentration of over 0.15%.
Aggravated DUI Penalties
A conviction for aggravated drunk driving can harm your life. You may face sanctions, such as higher fines, longer incarceration terms, and a prolonged license suspension period. Additionally, the judge might impose the highest DUI sentence allowed by the sentencing guidelines.It may even result in a criminal record that will follow you forever and limit your future opportunities. You may not be able to apply for some jobs. You could be ineligible for government scholarships, public benefits, or a chance to hold public office.
Possible Defenses for an Aggravated DUI Charge
Improper Administration of Field Sobriety Tests (FSTs)
There are guidelines for administering Field Sobriety Tests during a DUI stop. Failure to follow these guidelines renders the arrest invalid. Remember that you may refuse to take these tests as they can be inaccurate. Additionally, an officer cannot arrest you for refusing to take the FSTs.
Inappropriate Testing Procedures
Breathalyzers assess the amount of alcohol in your blood and identify the breath alcohol particles in your lungs. There are rules guiding the proper maintenance of breathalyzers.
First, every thirty-one days, they must be calibrated to within a 10% accuracy range. A seven-test Standard Quality Assurance Procedure (SQAP) is also performed on the machine every ninety days. All breath tests conducted between the two maintenance checks will be invalid, no matter the result.
Then again, only one test cannot tell how much alcohol is in your system. This indirect measurement of blood alcohol level may give an incorrect reading.
No Probable Cause to Arrest You
The Fourth Amendment states that a police officer needs to have reasonable suspicion to make an arrest. They must have an objective set of facts and circumstances to make a person believe that a crime has been or is being committed. The case may be dropped if an officer detained you without probable cause.
Delay or Denial of Legal Counsel Request
If you are arrested for aggravated DUI and the police delay or refuse you to call a lawyer, that could be a bases for dismissal. You should get the chance to contact an attorney as quickly as possible if you want one, according to the law. Any remarks you made may be suppressed if you were not given an attorney upon request.
Not Reading You Your Miranda Rights
The police are supposed to read you your Miranda Rights after an arrest and before they question you. Any remarks you make in response to police questioning while in custody may not be admissible in your DUI prosecution.
What to do if you face an Aggravated DUI Charge
Call DUI Attorney Immediately
Speak with a lawyer as soon as you are charged with DUI. There are several tactics that your lawyer can begin implementing that might assist in minimizing any fines or jail time, as well as downgrading or dismissing your charges. From the moment of your arrest through all your court appearances, your attorney will assist you in making the best decisions.
Also, the prosecutor might be more inclined to drop your charges to a regular DUI if it is your first DUI arrest and you have no prior criminal history. However, your defense attorney will complete this negotiation.
Additionally, you might stand a fair chance of having your charges dropped if there were no injuries to other people, no accident, no damage to property, and no minors present at the time of your arrest.
The sooner your lawyer starts working on your case, the more effective it will perform in court.