What is Aggravated DUI?

The crime of DUI, or driving under the influence, is serious enough (even for first-time offenders). Those who are convicted of DUI for the first time face up to a year in jail for the offense in addition to a fine of up to $2,100. On top of the criminal penalties, drivers will face a temporary driver’s license suspension and be forced to attend a substance abuse program. 

The charges could be enhanced and the stakes raised, though, if any one of a handful of conditions are present when an individual is arrested for DUI. These conditions are referred to as “aggravating factors,” and they can result in much more severe penalties for the defendant. We’ll go into more detail about the crime of aggravated DUI in this blog. 

First, the Definition of DUI

The state of Alabama defines the crime of DUI as “driving or being in physical control” of a car or vehicle while being impaired by drugs or alcohol. Someone has committed the crime of DUI in Alabama if he or she has a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of .08 or above. That .08 limit applies to adults who are 21 and older and driving non-commercial vehicles. 

Aggravating Factors

By itself, the crime of DUI is usually prosecuted as a misdemeanor (excluding repeat offenses in a 10-year window). However, the following conditions will result in your facing enhanced penalties: 

    • Your BAC was .15 or above. Being at least twice the legal limit will result in the minimum penalties being doubled. This means you could have an ignition interlock device placed on your car for two years. Additionally, you could be facing a mandatory minimum jail sentence of one year if you are convicted. 
    • You had a minor (14 or younger) in the car. This might also result in the doubling of minimum penalties. 
    • You were driving under the influence and caused a wreck that resulted in serious bodily injury. This will likely be prosecuted as an assault in the first degree (felony assault). This is designated as a Class B felony, which carries a maximum prison sentence of 20 years in addition to a $30,000 fine. 
    • You were driving under the influence and caused a wreck that resulted in someone’s death. There is a range of options for prosecutors to charge you in this situation. The crime of vehicular manslaughter is also a Class B felony. Depending on this particulars of your case, though, prosecutors might feel comfortable charging you with criminally negligent homicide or murder. 

These are just four common aggravating DUI factors in Alabama. The state has passed at least one law in the past few years that provides for harsher DUI penalties. Our firm has experience defending Alabama clients against a wide array of criminal charges stemming from DUI. If you’re facing such charges, you need to get legal representation right away. Please call us at 256-233-2025 to get started on your defense.

John M. Totten