Aggravated DUIs come in many forms, but all result in severe penalties like extended jail time, high fines, and a suspended license. Unlike other DUI charges, an aggravated DUI is charged as a class 4 or 6 felony, depending on the circumstances surrounding the charge (ARS 28-1383). This means much stricter penalties than other forms of DUIs, which are charged as misdemeanors.
Contact Cliff Hill to get the advice and legal help you need for an aggravated DUI charge. Cliff Hill is an experienced attorney who will work hard to improve the outcome of your case.
Arizona DUI Facts
In 2014 there were:
- 3,224 aggravated DUIs in Arizona.
- 265 Alcohol related fatalities in 2014, which amounted to 33% of all fatal crashes
- In 2013, 9.9 million people, or 3.8% of the US population, reported driving while under the influence of illicit drugs
- The percent of fatal crashes involving drugs and/or alcohol have been rising for the last few years
- The number of alcohol-related DUI arrests increased 27% in 2014
- The number of drug-related DUI arrests increased 74% in 2014
- The 4th of July weekend shows the most significant concentration of DUI related arrests
There are several factors that can cause a DUI to be elevated to “aggravated DUI” status. These Include:
- A DUI while your license is suspended, revoked, or restricted, class 4 felony
- A DUI while a person under the age of 15 is in the care, class 6 felony
- A third DUI charge within 7 years, class 4 felony
- A DUI charge while you have an ignition interlock device installed on your car, class 4 felony
Drug and Blood-Alcohol Content Levels
In Arizona, the legal BAC is 0.08%. It is illegal to have any illicit drugs in your system, and law enforcement may request a blood, breath , or urine test if they believe you to be impaired. You can still be charged with a DUI for a BAC under 0.08% if law enforcement believes you to be impaired to the slightest degree.
Sobriety checkpoints are legal in Arizona. At these temporary, random checkpoints law enforcement officers will be on the lookout for any suspicious behavior of drivers. Though normally law enforcement is required to have “probable cause” to stop a car, sobriety checkpoints are an exception and deemed too important for public safety. Statistics show that sobriety checkpoints prevent 1 out of every 10 DUI related deaths.
The penalties for an aggravated DUI are severe.
An aggravated DUI charge can result in imprisonment up to 2 ½ years, having your license revoked or suspended for up to 3 years, fines up to $150,000, a required ignition interlock device installed in your car, probation for up to 10 years, and drug or alcohol counseling.
Having previous felonies on your criminal record will greatly increase your sentence, jail time for an aggravated DUI with one previous felony is 7 ½ years, and with two previous felonies is 15 years.
Felony categories are ranked 1-6 in Arizona, with 1 being the most serious. The aggravated DUI class 6 will bring less penalties than a class 4 aggravated DUI. This can mean less jail time, fewer fines, and shorter probation periods.
Results of an Aggravated DUI
Arizona has some of the strictest DUI laws in the country, and a first offense DUI already comes with harsh penalties. An aggravated DUI charge can take a serious toll on your life. Not only will you face imprisonment, high fines, and probation, but you may also face issues maintaining employment, high increases in your insurances rates, deportation or other immigration issues, and a felony on your permanent record.
Possible defenses to an aggravated DUI include improper administration of field sobriety tests, unlawful search of your car or persons, lack of probable cause for law enforcement to stop vehicle, and no physical control of the car.
Aggravated DUIs come with harsh penalties. A skilled and experienced lawyer can negotiate reduced penalties, and will know what facts to check in your case. If you have been charged with an aggravated DUI, contact Cliff Hill today for a consultation and to learn about your options.