When police charge someone with an aggravated crime, it means there are additional elements to the offense that make it more serious than usual. Charges of an aggravated crime often carry much harsher penalties for convictions and may even take a misdemeanor offense to the felony level.
If you are facing DUI charges, you already know that the consequences can be severe if a Wisconsin court convicts you. However, aggravated DUI means there are other factors that your criminal defense team must account for.
What are some aggravating factors?
An arrest for driving a motor vehicle with a blood alcohol content of .08 percent or higher can lead to criminal charges. If the charges include aggravating factors, other circumstances may have raised the level of danger for others on the road or in your vehicle. For example, the aggravating conditions may include any of these:
- Your BAC was much higher than .08 percent. In Wisconsin and other states, a BAC of .15 percent may result in enhanced penalties even if it is a first offense. This could mean extended jail time, higher fines and the possibility of court-ordered ignition interlock on your vehicle.
- You have children in your car. If police arrest you for DUI while you have minors in the vehicle, this could automatically trigger aggravated charges. In some cases, penalties double if you have a child under the age of 16 in the vehicle at the time of your DUI arrest.
- You have a revoked license. Driving under the influence when you have already lost your license due to previous DUI convictions may cause law enforcement to conclude you have no regard for the seriousness of the offense. For this reason, they may raise your charges to an aggravated level.
- You were driving excessively fast. Police may consider it an aggravating factor if you are driving dangerously fast, especially if there are pedestrians or others who may be in danger.
Of course, if you are involved in a DUI accident in which people are seriously injured or killed, the charges of aggravated DUI may be added to more serious vehicular assault or even homicide. These charges carry penalties that you may struggle to overcome for the rest of your life, including decades in prison and thousands of dollars in fines. The assistance of a legal professional may be even more critical if there are aggravating factors attached to your DUI charges.