Having a drunk driving offense on your record can be upsetting and embarrassing. It can affect your job, your driving privileges, your reputation and your freedom. Because of how disruptive these repercussions can be, people are often willing to take whatever steps they can to reduce them.
One way to do this is to challenge aggravating factors resulting in additional or escalated charges. Below, we examine what some of these factors might be and how contesting them could help.
Common aggravating factors in a DUI
- Previous DUI convictions on your record – If you have been arrested and convicted of drunk driving in the past, you face higher fines, required installation of ignition interlock, escalated charges, lengthier suspensions, and possible imprisonment for subsequent violations.
- High blood alcohol concentration – Having a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of at least 0.08 percent can result in a DUI. However, in Pennsylvania, a BAC between .010 and .0159 percent is a high BAC, which results in more serious penalties. Drivers with a BAC of .016 percent fall into the highest BAC category, which means even more severe penalties.
- Causing an accident – Drivers who cause an accident resulting in serious injuries can be charged with drunk driving as well as aggravated assault. They could also face civil actions by victims and their families.
- Having a minor child in the car – If a driver is drunk and has a person under the age of 18 in the vehicle, he or she can be subject to more serious misdemeanors or even a felony resulting in jail time and steep fines.
When these factors are involved, a person charged with DUI can be facing sentencing enhancements and additional charges.
Defending against DUI and related charges
Avoiding aggravating factors can be essential in minimizing the consequences of a DUI. The easiest way to do this is to refrain from driving drunk or successfully challenge the allegation that you were driving drunk in the first place. Doing this allows you to keep your record clear.
You may also be able to contest elements of the stop, the arrest or the testing procedures. The details of each of these play a critical role in the case against an alleged drunk driver, and scrutinizing them could lead to reduced or dismissed charges. To discuss these and other legal strategies after a DUI, you can contact Quinn Law Firm at 814-833-2222.