A DUI is considered a felony in most states and a misdemeanor in few other states. A serious offense in itself, a DUI charge can be made even worse by certain missteps. While specifics vary among states, an aggravated DUI, which requires you to have a DUI attorney, is often caused by the following factors:
Driving Without a License
Driving while your license is suspended, canceled, revoked, or restricted entails serious legal fines in itself. The suspension is added to your driving profile, and the police can easily track if you are driving without a license. DUI or not, you should avoid driving without a license. Combined with a DUI, this results in worse legal fines and charges.
A DUI charge has long-lasting ramifications. Previous violations within a period of at least 84 months can still make a current charge worse. Specifically, at least three violations during this period result in an aggravated DUI charge. In some states, previous DUI charges dating as far as ten years back can still worsen a current DUI charge.
Blood Alcohol Level
Not all DUI violations can lead to an aggravated charge. A blood alcohol content (BAC) of 0.08 to 0.15 often result in a standard DUI. A BAC of 0.16 or higher automatically counts as an aggravated DUI. A much higher BAC will lead to stiffer fines and longer jail time. Drinking while driving makes a DUI charge worse with longer jail time and higher fines.
Putting the lives of children in danger, such as drunk driving while children younger than 15 are in the vehicle, makes a DUI charge worse too. Other specific circumstances, such as driving a school bus with a high BAC and drunk driving within a school zone result in more serious charges as well.
Serious Injury or Death and Damage to Property
Ultimately, DUIs which result in serious injuries, death, or damage to property result in the most severe DUI charges. Avoiding these grave accidents, after all, is the purpose for penalizing a DUI. A DUI which resulted in death is elevated to vehicular manslaughter, DUI murder, or other much more serious charges depending on which state the accident happened.
So, a standard DUI charge can be made worse by factors such as driving without a license, previous offenses, high BAC, putting children at risk of serious injuries, and serious accidents. While legal implications vary from one state to another, you need a DUI attorney to serve as your counsel or to represent you should a trial occur.