DUI Enhancements: What You Need to Know
Posted By Salvador Phillips, PLLC || Nov 1, 2016
Arizona law makes driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs illegal and cause for serious penalties. In many cases, drivers accused of DUI will face misdemeanor charges which, depending on the nature of the crime, can lead to penalties that include court-ordered fines and fees, mandatory classes, license penalties, and not more than a year in jail. In the most serious cases, DUIs can be prosecuted as felonies that pack life-altering consequences, including time in state prison.
Because every case is different, it’s difficult to determine what penalties an individual may face without a thorough review of their charge and any other circumstances involved in a case. When determining our clients’ exposure to penalties and jail time, our criminal defense attorneys in Phoenix first look at some important factors in DUI cases, including:
- The nature of the charge
- Any prior DUI convictions and when
- Criminal history / probation
These factors can potentially result in more serious penalties. Being on probation for example, will subject DUI defendants to additional probation violation penalties. Ultimately, the nature of the charge and the presence of any aggravating circumstances will play the biggest role in determining your exposure to harsh penalties and lengthier terms of imprisonment, as well as whether you face misdemeanor or felony charges.
Below are some aggravating circumstances that can result in enhancements or elevated charges and penalties:
- High BAC – The legal limit in Arizona is .08% for drivers of legal drinking age and zero for underage drivers. In cases where BAC (blood alcohol content) shows higher levels of intoxication, more serious charges and penalties can result. Drivers with a 0.16 BAC can be charged with Extreme DUI, and drivers with a BAC over .20 can face Super Extreme DUI charges.
- Accidents – Authorities enforce DUI laws to prevent accidents, so when they occur, the stakes in a case increase. If victims are injured in DUI accidents, drivers can face felony charges. In the most serious cases involving death, drivers can face considerable prison time for manslaughter or even murder.
- Driving With a Child Passenger – DUIs involving child passengers are a form of child endangerment and grounds for felony charges. In Arizona, you can face elevated charges if the passenger is under 15 years old.
- Multiple DUIs – Having prior DUI convictions on your record, within a 7-year time period, can increase the seriousness of a charge, even in no other aggravating circumstances were involved. In the event of a third DUI within 7 years, motorists can be charged with felony aggravated DUI.
- Driving On a Suspended License – Driving under the influence while your license is suspended or revoked for a previous DUI can be grounds for aggravated DUI charges.
- Traffic Violations – Certain traffic violations may increase the penalties a driver faces, including hit and run, speeding, and reckless driving.
Facing DUI charges in Phoenix and need proven defense lawyers on your side? Call Salvador Phillips, PLLC for a FREE and confidential consultation.