We all know that driving after drinking is something that can cost us our driver’s license and land us in jail. What many of us don’t realize is that California has something called aggravated DUI which is even more serious than your standard DUI charge.
Any time you get behind the wheel of your vehicle and your blood alcohol level is .08% or higher, you’re breaking the law. When this happens, you’re sent before a judge who has a list of guidelines they’ll use to determine how severely you’ll be punished for your crime. Factors the judge takes into consideration include what you’re driving record looks like, why you were pulled over, how high your BAC was, etc.
Mitigated DUI Charges
If you find yourself on the defending side of a DUI case, you want the judge to consider all the mitigating factors. These are issues that won’t make the DUI charge disappear but will decrease the severity of the punishment you face. Solid mitigating factors include:
- If you were on prescription drugs
- If you your blood level was just a tiny bit over the legal limit, which means that when you first started driving, you probably weren’t legally drunk
- If you’re willing to enter a substance abuse program
- If you’re gainfully employed
- If you’re involved in community activities
Not only can a good lawyer help you use mitigating factors to help lessen the severity of judge’s sentence, the same mitigating factors can also help you get a great plea bargain.
No one wants to have the judge that’s overseeing their DUI case use the words aggravated DUI. In California, judges who feel that you’re guilty of aggravated DUI can hit you with some really harsh charges. Factors used to determine if you’re guilty of aggravated DUI include:
- How badly you were driving when you were originally pulled over
- If you’re actions led to property damage
- If you caused an accident
- Prior DUI charges
- If there was a child in the car with you when you were pulled over for DUI
- Prior criminal record
- If you drove through a construction zone
- A high blood alcohol level
The exact reason the judge decides to hit you with aggravated DUI play an important role in determining the severity of your punishment. For example, if you’re charge with aggravated DUI because you caused an accident and people were hurt/killed, the judge will add 1 to 3 years of jail time to your sentence for each person impacted during the accident.
The first time you’re caught driving drunk with someone under the age of 14 in the car with you, you’ll spent an additional 48 hours in jail. The third time you’re charged with a DUI and had a minor in the car, the sentence will include an additional 30 days in jail.
Driving more than 20-30 miles over the posted speed limit with a blood alcohol level that’s over .08% means an additional 60 days in jail will be added to your sentence.
The best way to avoid aggravated DUI charges is making sure you always have a designated driver when you’re drinking.