What causes a DUI to be considered aggravated?
The typical DUI arrest usually involves a mere misdemeanor. The least-serious DUIs will involve a driver who has never been arrested or conviction of a DUI prior and DUIs that didn’t also involve a collision. In the case of aggravated DUI charges, there is an “aggravating factor” or factors that increase the typical DUI penalties to more serious charges and punishments.
In the state of California, there are a few different factors that could be considered “aggravated” and because for increased penalties.
- BAC of 0.15 or Above – According to the California Vehicle Code, having a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of more than 0.15 percent is an aggravated DUI offense. Your penalties will increase to a 10-month license suspension and restricted license reinstatement only after a completion of a 9-month DUI counseling program. A DUI involving a 0.15 or above BAC may also require the installation of an ignition interlock device for up to three years
- Prior Convictions Within 10 Years – According to California Vehicle Code § 23540, a second or subsequent offense within 10 years of the first DUI conviction is an aggravated offense when compared to a regular (first-time) DUI. The penalties are up to 1 year in county jail, up to $1,000 in fines, and a lengthened period of license suspension.
- DUI with Child Passenger – Per California Vehicle Code § 23572, there is an enhanced penalty for DUI while a minor is in the vehicle. According to this section of the vehicle code, references to “minor” here refer to children under 14 years of age. If this is a first DUI conviction, the penalties will be enhanced by imprisonment of 48 consecutive hours in county jail. Second DUI offenses within 10 years involving child passengers will warrant an enhanced imprisonment of 10 days in county jail.
- DUI Causing Injury or Death – DUI that results in the injury of another is an aggravated offense that will automatically be charged as a felony DUI in the state of California. A DUI resulting in the death of another individual is also a felony DUI offense often considered vehicular manslaughter. Gross vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated; according to Penal Code § 191.5, this type of DUI offense is punishable by 4, 6, or 10 years in state prison. Vehicular manslaughter is a crime considered to have no “malice aforethought” which differentiates it from the charge of murder.
- Driving on a Suspended License – If your license has been suspended due to a DUI conviction or you were on DUI probation at the time you were arrested for another DUI, then any traceable alcohol in your system will warrant a one year license suspension. Failure to submit to a chemical test at this point will warrant a two year suspension.