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Factors that could aggravate your drunk driving offense

On Behalf of | Aug 17, 2023 | DUI Defense |

Certain circumstances can intensify the seriousness of your DUI (driving under the influence) charge, leading to more severe consequences or penalties. These aggravating factors are crucial in determining the extent of legal repercussions you may face if convicted.

For instance, aggravating factors in your case can ramp up the offense from a misdemeanor to a felony. Sometimes, the court must abide by minimum mandatory sentences stipulated by law. Below are some common factors that can aggravate your DUI offense in North Carolina.

A high blood alcohol concentration (BAC) level

Operating a vehicle with a significantly high BAC level is often considered an aggravating factor. In North Carolina, a BAC of 0.15 or more is an aggravating factor that will inform your sentencing.

It’s a repeat or compound offense

A prior DUI conviction on your record can lead to enhanced penalties for subsequent offenses. If you have a prior DUI conviction within the last seven years, it is an aggravating factor that can enhance the seriousness of your charge. Other factors like driving with a revoked license, eluding police and speeding 30 miles per hour over the legal limit can also magnify your charges.

You cause an accident

You could face more severe penalties if you caused an accident that led to injuries, death or property damage while drunk driving. Especially reckless or dangerous driving is also an aggravating factor, even if you don’t cause a crash.

There’s a minor in the vehicle

Having children as passengers or a person with a physical disability that prevents their unaided exit from the vehicle during the DUI arrest can aggravate your charges.

The legal system can be unforgiving if there are aggravating factors in your DUI case. The consequences can be far-reaching, impacting your life in ways you might not have expected. Given the high stakes involved, seeking informed guidance is more than just a prudent step; it’s a lifeline.