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Some states have a more serious drunk driving charge often referred to as an aggravated DUI, also known as “extreme DUI” or “felony DUI”. It is important to note that not all states use the term DUI, but all states do have drunk driving laws.
An aggravated drunk driving charge can result from certain aggravating circumstances surrounding the incident that led to the charge. While a first drunk driving conviction is typically a misdemeanor under most states’ drunk driving laws, aggravated drunk driving constitutes a felony charge, which necessarily results in harsher punishments for drivers convicted of aggravated DUI.
Once stopped for driving drunk, a person may face aggravated drunk driving charges if he or she:
A conviction for aggravated drunk driving can result in far more serious penalties than a regular drunk driving charge, which is typically a misdemeanor. Aggravated drunk driving is likely to be a felony charge in most cases, which places a permanent black mark on a person’s criminal record that may disqualify him or her for some jobs, among other things, such as:
In many states, aggravated DUI is a felony rather than a misdemeanor charge, but this varies according to different states’ laws.
Circumstances surrounding the DUI, such as driving with an extremely high blood alcohol level (BAC), driving with a minor child in the vehicle, causing serious injury or property damage, or having multiple prior DUI convictions are all common scenarios that might lead to aggravated DUI charges.
Generally, yes. Typically, penalties for an aggravated DUI conviction will include higher fines, lengthier driver’s license suspension periods, a greater likelihood of required substance abuse assessment and/or treatment, and mandatory minimum jail sentences.
While the answer to this question varies according to state law, in many states, you may be charged with aggravated DUI if you had a minor child in the car with you at the time of your offense, if your actions caused serious bodily injury to a minor child, if you were operating while intoxicated in a school zone, or if you were driving a school bus while intoxicated.
The number of DUI convictions you can have before being charged with aggravated DUI depends on the law of the state in which you are charged. In some states, two prior DUI convictions is enough to warrant a charge of aggravated DUI. In other states, you must have four or five prior DUI convictions before you can be charged with aggravated DUI.
No, but all states have laws or sentencing guidelines that can make a drunk driving conviction more severe. Plus, in response to the continuing trend of drinking and driving in the United States, many states are now passing some version of aggravated drunk driving laws, whether are called “aggravated”, “extreme”, or some other term that denotes a more serious offense.
This article is intended to be helpful and informative. But even common legal matters can become complex and stressful. A qualified drunk driving lawyer can address your particular legal needs, explain the law, and represent you in court. Take the first step now and contact a local drunk driving attorney to discuss your specific legal situation.