What is an aggravating Factor and how can it impact the DUI penalties?
Aggravating factors are factors surrounding your DUI arrest that, if present, in some states, may only act to enhance minimum jail sentences.
In other states aggravating factors may also enhance fines, fees and license suspensions. State laws vary, which means not all of the aggravating factors listed apply to all states. Listed below are common aggravating factors.
Common Aggravating Factors
- Operating a motor vehicle in excess of the speed limit;
- Operating a motor vehicle in the wrong direction on a limited access highway;
- Operating a motor vehicle that causes an accident resulting in death or serious physical injury;
- Having a prior DUI conviction within a specified time from a second or third DUI offense;
- Operating a motor vehicle with an excessive BAC level;
- Refusing to submit to a chemical test;
- Operating a motor vehicle that is transporting a child (the age varies by state);
- Attempting to elude the police;
- Driving especially recklessly or dangerously;
- Passing a stopped school bus;
- Driving with a previously revoked driver's license due to a prior DUI conviction.
In some states, prior to sentencing, the judge is able to weigh aggravating factors against mitigating factors, which could reduce the DUI penalties. For instance, if you voluntarily submitted to treatment in an alcohol or drug treatment center, if you have had a safe driving record for many years, if you had a low BAC reading or your impairment was due to an existing medical condition (and the amount of the drug taken was within the prescribed dosage), the judge may allow for reduced penalties in some states.
Talk to your DUI lawyer for more information about your DUI arrest and whether or not any of these factors applies in your drunken driving case. Due to the severity of DUI penalties, especially if there are aggravating factors, it is not a good idea to fight your DUI charges on your own.
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