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Aggravated DUI vs. Regular DUI

Not all DUI charges are created equal. In fact, certain extenuating circumstances can actually increase the severity of your charges dramatically. These escalated DUI charges are known as “aggravated DUI,” and carry much heavier penalties if you are convicted. Some of these circumstances have to do with egregiously breaking the law, while others are because of a repeated criminal history. Not sure if your accusations could be for an aggravated DUI? Here are some of the differences between a regular DUI and an aggravated DUI.

Common Aggravating Factors

Generally, a DUI is escalated to an “aggravated DUI” when some sort of factor is present that would warrant the change. Here are some of the most common reasons why a DUI charge can be escalated to “aggravated” status:

  • Getting a DUI with an already-suspended license: if your driver’s license has been suspended for some reason, whether for lack of insurance or from a previous DUI charge, your subsequent DUI charge will be automatically escalated to an aggravated DUI.
  • Getting a DUI while on probation: One of the most common terms for probation is being forbidden from drinking alcohol, or being forbidden from drinking in excess. Violating this and driving can lead to an aggravated DUI charge.
  • Getting a subsequent DUI with one already pending: When you are arrested and charged with a DUI, your license isn’t necessarily automatically suspended. However, it probably will be if you are charged with another DUI while the first one is still processing (yes, it happens).
  • Getting multiple DUIs within 5 years: Repeat offenders are often given much harsher penalties, including the possibility of being charged with an aggravated DUI.
  • Excessive speed: Often times officers who pull someone over for excessive speeding (more than 20 miles per hour over the limit) may also find that the person speeding was intoxicated. Doing so is extremely dangerous and warrants an aggravated DUI charge.
  • Having a minor passenger: Driving with someone under the age of 14 while intoxicated automatically warrants an aggravated DUI offense and an increase in jail time (mandatory increase of 48 hours in jail for a first offense and 10 days for a second offense).
  • Having multiple victims: If you are involved in a DUI accident that results in the death or serious injury to more than one person, you’ll automatically be charged with an aggravated DUI.

Aggravated DUI Penalties

Penalties for an aggravated DUI will depend on your situation, but generally you can expect to receive a much longer jail sentence, heavier fines, and a felony charge on your criminal history, as opposed to a general DUI, which is usually considered a misdemeanor.

Accused of an aggravated DUI? Call Campbell Whitten today at 661-735-1038 for a case evaluation!
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