Drunk driving charges can affect anyone, from a teenager leaving a party to a grandparent struggling with addiction. No matter who you are, the consequences of a DUI conviction can take a tremendous toll financially, emotionally and legally.
Addressing these charges immediately and aggressively with legal counsel can help you minimize this toll and protect your future. This approach can be especially crucial if there are aggravating elements of your charges.
What are aggravating factors?
Aggravating elements are circumstances that increase the severity of a DUI. Some of the most common examples of these include:
- Having a high or very high blood alcohol concentration (above.10 percent)
- Having at least one other DUI on your record
- Driving with children in the car
- Getting into an accident causing injuries or death
These and similar elements can result in enhanced penalties and additional charges.
Penalties for aggravated DUI
Per Pennsylvania DUI laws, the penalties for drunk driving get increasingly worse for drivers accused of being very intoxicated and being a repeat offender.
Someone who is just over the legal limit and has never been arrested for drunk driving before can be facing a misdemeanor, $300 in fines, and a requirement to attend safety school. Courts may also order probation and alcohol treatment.
However, aggravating factors will result in harsher penalties, which may include:
- Higher fines (potentially reaching $10,000)
- License suspension
- Installation of an ignition interlock
While a DUI with no aggravating factors can disrupt your life in many ways, the impact becomes much more severe as the charges increase. A person could lose their job, face significant financial hardship and experience considerable strain on their relationships. As such, defending against an aggravated DUI will be crucial.
Defending against these charges
Fighting aggravated drunk driving allegations involves challenging the elements that lead to enhanced charges. Successfully contesting things like testing accuracy or police procedure can result in reduced charges and penalties.
It is critical to note that even if it is your first offense and you are not facing any increased penalties, defending yourself now can mean avoiding added charges in the future, should you wind up facing another charge.