How Badly an Aggravated DUI Could Toll Your Life?

by | May 3, 2024 | Personal Injury, Car Accidents, Commercial Vehicle Accidents, Pedestrian Accidents, Truck Accidents

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“If you drink like a fish, don’t drive: swim.” Joe E Levis. When you drink and drive, you aren’t just hurting yourself; you’re hurting others as well. Every 52 minutes, one person dies as a result of a DUI, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Every year, more than 10,000 people die as a result of drunken driving, accounting for over a third of all traffic-related deaths. The NHTSA says that more than 230 children were killed in drunk-driving crashes in the past year. Aggravated DUI is very dangerous than a standard DUI.

Because of the enormous size and power of commercial vehicles combined with impaired judgment, aggravated DUI has a huge impact on  truck accidents.The capacity of a driver to respond fast and make wise decisions is impaired when they are operating a truck while under the influence of drugs or alcohol. This makes operating such massive trucks more dangerous and ends up in truck accidents.

Are you victimized by a truck accident due to aggravated DUI? It’s time to consult an expert truck accident lawyer.

Get a Free Case Evaluation From a Truck Accident Lawyer

Aggravated DUI Meaning

What is an Aggravated DUI?

A DUI with specified aggravating influences that occur at the time of the arrest is known as an aggravated DUI. Driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs can result in serious consequences, including mandatory jail time, license suspension, and fines. Even a first-time aggravated DUI offender faces the possibility of losing his driver’s license and having to pay more for vehicle insurance. However, there are also other aggravating circumstances that might increase the severity of criminal punishment.

What makes a DUI aggravated? Aggravating elements can sometimes turn a misdemeanor DUI into a felony DUI. We will discuss the penalties at the end of the blog.

Charges of Aggravated Drunk Driving

Driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol can be made more serious by aggravating factors. In the case of a DUI, aggravating factors could include:

Having been convicted of many DUI offenses in the past 

A driver may be charged with aggravated DUI if he commits the violation multiple times in a short period. In order to be charged with severe DUI, you must have three DUI convictions within eighty-four months.

Being under the age of 21 and driving while inebriated

If this describes you, it indicates you were driving a car while inebriated with a blood alcohol content (BAC) of 0.02 or above. Because underage drinking is already illegal, minors face stiff penalties. A minor person driving under the influence of alcohol with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.16 or above can be charged with an aggravated DUI.

Having a high amount of alcohol in the blood

If you are discovered driving under the influence of alcohol, you will face harsh consequences. DUI rules are becoming increasingly strict, and anyone convicted of this offense would face serious consequences.

The only thing worse than a DUI conviction on your record is an aggravated DUI. A DUI can be made into an aggravated DUI by committing several different charges. Having a high blood alcohol content is one of these violations (BAC).

When a police officer stops a driver on suspicion of driving while intoxicated, they will ask for a chemical test sample. A BAC of 0.08 percent or higher is considered over the limit in most states. If the driver’s blood alcohol concentration (BAC) is substantially higher, they may face harsher penalties.

The legal limit for a high blood alcohol concentration (BAC) varies by state, but it is usually about 0.15 percent or 0.20 percent.

Refusing to have a chemical test performed 

Drivers who refuse to take the test will typically face a license suspension of up to 12 months, depending on the state. As per aggravated DWI New Mexico, a person driving a car automatically consents to have their blood alcohol level tested in order to determine if they are driving while intoxicated, according to the state’s Implied Consent Law. If you refuse to take the test, you might be punished with aggravated DUI and have your driver’s license revoked for a year.

Driving while your driver’s license has been suspended or revoked

A police officer would examine your driver’s license and insurance during a traffic stop and DUI investigation. You could be prosecuted with an aggravated DUI if your license is revoked or suspended and you don’t have proof of insurance.

While first-time charges for driving with a suspended license are less serious than charges for second or subsequent offenses, any charge of this nature can result in hundreds of dollars in fines and possibly months in jail.

The severity of charges is also influenced by other circumstances. Commercial drivers driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol while their license is suspended face harsher penalties. People occasionally do not realize their license has been suspended because they did not receive a DMV notice for some reason. You may only be charged with an infraction or a misdemeanor if you drive while your license is suspended inadvertently. 

Causing a serious crash that results in the injury or death of another person

Driving under the influence frequently results in a collision with another vehicle, resulting in injury or property damage. Most courts consider this aggravating circumstance to be the most serious of all. If you cause an injury or property damage while driving while inebriated, the judge or court that hears your case may charge you differently. You may also face a felony or misdemeanor penalty, depending on the severity of the damage or injuries.

Penalties for aggravated DUI change state by state. In Orange County, an additional five days in jail and a one-year license suspension are the possible penalties for the aggravating factor. Mandatory community service and further fines are the other penalties.

If you cause serious bodily harm, you will certainly face felony charges with potentially more serious consequences. One of the penalties is a state prison sentence of up to sixteen months. In addition, the court may order you to compensate the victims for the property damage. You may also be ordered to pay fines to the court.

Presence of a child in the vehicle

Every state considers transporting a minor in a vehicle while under the influence of alcohol or drugs to be a serious felony. Although all states apply harsher penalties for transporting a minor while intoxicated, they will differ in how they do so. For example, one state may define a minor as someone under the age of sixteen. A minor, according to one definition, is a youngster under the age of twelve.

Even if there are no youngsters in your vehicle and you were caught driving through a school zone, you may be charged with aggravated DUI in several states. It’s crucial to check your state’s specific rules regarding minors. In Connecticut, having a minor passenger doubles the minimum jail time for driving while intoxicated.

Let’s see what the O’Flaherty law firm says about an aggravated DUI.

Blood Alcohol Content (BAC) Limits 

A BAC of 0.08 percent or higher is illegal in every state in the United States. A person can be charged with aggravated DUI if their blood alcohol concentration (BAC) is significantly higher than the legal limit. The BAC of a motorist can be determined using one of three chemical tests: blood, breath, or urine.

A breath test is the most routinely used chemical test. You must blow into a small gadget known as a breathalyzer to perform a breath test. The device will measure the amount of alcohol in your breath once you blow into the mouthpiece. If your blood alcohol concentration (BAC) is higher than the legal limit of 0.08 percent, you can expect to be arrested and charged with aggravated driving under the influence of alcohol.

During a DUI investigation, a police officer can administer this type of chemical test. Even though breath tests might be unreliable for a variety of reasons, the findings of a person’s test can be used as evidence in court. Blood and urine chemistry tests must be performed by trained medical experts at a medical facility.

Driving Under the Influence of Drugs

Driving while under the influence of drugs is a serious threat to public safety. In the United States, lowering the number of persons driving under the influence of drugs has been a long-term goal. Though driving while under the influence of drugs is illegal in all the states of the US, around 16% of vehicle accidents are caused by drugs.

The law for aggravated DUI is different in each state. Arizona has “per se” rules, according to which having any amount of illegal drugs in your system is criminal. Drugs, unlike alcohol, remain in your system for a long time after consumption. Blood and urine testing can detect trace levels of certain drugs weeks after they have been used. The following drugs are illegal to have in your system at any time and can result in an immediate DUI.

  • Heroin
  • Marijuana (if you don’t have a valid medical card)
  • Cocaine
  • LSD

Aggravated DUI Penalties

Do you know what is the punishment for aggravated DUI? DUI laws and penalties differ by jurisdiction, but one thing that all states agree on is that it is a serious criminal infraction. When a driver is found committing a second violation in addition to his DUI, the consequences for aggravated DUI are more severe, which are listed below.

  • Vehicle seizure
  • Mandatory alcohol education classes
  • Any bodily injury or property damage caused is subject to civil liability.
  • Having your driver’s license revoked
  • Mandatory jail time
  • Fees and fines
  • Increased vehicle insurance premiums or insurance coverage denial
  • Installing a vehicle’s ignition interlock device(IID)

Let’s see the different penalties given in various states for a DUI.


Ignition Interlock Device: What Is It?

It is also called an in-car breathalyzer, car interlock, or blow-and-go. IID would be connected directly to your vehicle’s ignition system that prevents your vehicle from starting if your blood alcohol level exceeds a set legal limit. The driver must blow into the linked mouthpiece. This would quantify your Breath Alcohol Concentration.

IID operates by interrupting the signal from the ignition to the starter of the vehicle until a valid breath sample is given by the driver. It never affects the safe operation of the vehicle in any way.

Law for Aggravated DUI

A charge of aggravated DUI is a criminal offense. If a driver is convicted of aggravated DUI, the court must sentence him or her to at least ten days in jail or 480 hours of community service. However, most punishments involve at least 1-3 years in prison. An aggravated DUI conviction carries a higher punishment than a typical drive under the influence conviction.

A DUI accusation will be elevated from a misdemeanor to a felony if aggravating conditions are present, which will almost always result in prison time if convicted. If you are determined to be driving or in actual physical control of a vehicle while under the influence of alcohol or drugs, combined with one of the following circumstances, you may be charged with an aggravated DUI. Each state has its unique set of DUI regulations. In Arizona, the below DUI law is followed.

  1. When a court orders you to put an ignition interlock device on the vehicle you drove, it is a Class 4 felony.
  2. Driving when your license was suspended, revoked, or restricted is a Class 4 felony.
  3. If it is your agg DUI 3 in the last seven years, it falls under Class 4 felony.
  4. A youngster under the age of 15 was found in the vehicle, which is a class 6 felony.

Effects of Aggravated DUI Conviction

Aggravated DUI Class 4 Felony comes in a variety of forms. When a person gets a typical DUI while their driver’s license is suspended, revoked, or canceled, they are charged with Aggravated DUI in Arizona. The maximum penalty for aggravated DUI is determined by the circumstances of your arrest and whether you were charged with a Class 4 or 6 felony.

The penalties for a first-time Class 4 felony in Arizona include:

  • Three-year suspension of your driver’s license
  • 4- months of aggravated DUI jail time
  • Any car you drive should have an ignition interlock device installed.
  • At least $5,000.00 in fines and fees
  • Counseling for alcohol or drugs
  • Community service

The penalties for a first-time Class 6 felony in Arizona include:

  • Three-year suspension of your driver’s license
  • Up to 2 years in jail
  • Any car you drive should have an ignition interlock device installed.
  • At least $5,000.00 in fines and fees
  • Counseling for alcohol or drugs
  • Community service

Aggravated DUI-September 2023 Update

On September 21, 2023, an individual named Joseph Lee Frankin was sentenced to 50 years in the custody of the Mississippi Department of Corrections for aggravated DUI, causing the death of two. The subject accident happened on February 12, 2021, leading to the deaths of Damion Ford and Eric McKenny, two high school seniors. The accident also resulted in severe injuries to two other teenagers in the vehicle.

Blood tests indicated that Franklin was under the influence of methamphetamine at the time of the subject accident. Accident investigation and resconstruction indicated that Franklin was speeding and failed to maintain his proper lane of travel while driving under the influence of methamphetamines.

What if You are Hit By a Drunken Driver?

You should call 911 to report the drunk driver and have him arrested before he causes further damage. Seek medical attention for your injuries. Don’t forget to collect information from eyewitnesses.

At the accident scene, you should gather as much information as possible. If the cops ask, never say you’re good or that you’re not in pain. When you feel the driver of the vehicle that hit you is inebriated, just notice the signs such as slurred speech, a strong smell of alcohol, red eyes, and difficulty in standing up straight. Take a video of the drunken motorist if possible. It will be good evidence when you file the lawsuit. If the accident involves the element of aggravated DUI, it will come out during the investigation process.

To file the claim, the plaintiff must prove that the defendant drove a vehicle while under the influence of drugs or alcohol and had a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.08 percent or more at the time of driving.

Consult a DUI attorney, they will conduct a thorough investigation of the accident, which may include obtaining evidence that the other driver was under the influence of alcohol or drugs. They will work tirelessly to get restitution for both economic damages and non-economic damages.

What is DWI & How does it Differ from DUI?

Aggravated DWI meaning is Driving While Intoxicated. The Texas Penal Code Section 49.04 states that “a person commits an offense if the person is inebriated while operating a motor vehicle in a public place.” A DUI/DWI includes all types of drugs, including prescription medications. Having the presence of drugs in one’s system did not make the individual be arrested. It should have made him/her be impaired and unfit to control the vehicle.

What is aggravated DWI, and what are the penalties? Aggravated DWI is charged when the motorist’s breath alcohol level is.16 or higher, the driver refuses the breath alcohol test, or there is an alcohol-related accident. Aggravated DWI carries a mandatory penalty that is a necessary 48-hour jail sentence. Fines of up to $10,000 are possible for serious DWI convictions. A prison sentence of up to ten years and a driver’s license suspension is possible.


‘A mistake repeated more than once is a decision.’ An aggravated DUI charge could affect the individual’s life very seriously. Better not to mix drinking and driving to avoid serious legal consequences.

You need DUI attorneys after your DUI arrest. When someone is arrested, regardless of the charge, they have the right to talk with an attorney. Having a discussion with your attorney, you are preventing yourself from saying something inappropriate. Reading this blog, Can you hear your mind’s voice raising a question, can aggravated DUI be reduced to mandatory minimums? Having a qualified criminal DUI lawyer on your side can make a huge difference in your case. On your side, highly qualified DUI lawyers will negotiate and litigate to obtain more lenient punishment.

Winning your case at trial is another way to get your sentence reduced. If you are convicted of Aggravated DUI at trial, you will be subjected to mandatory minimum sentences. Judges do not have the authority to lower these sentences below the statutory minimum. With a skilled DUI attorney on your side, you may be able to win at trial, get your case dismissed, or plead to a lesser charge.

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