Despite everything we inherently know about the dangers of getting behind the wheel of a car after drinking too much alcohol, we don’t always live up to our best intentions. As a result, many Floridians every year are arrested on charges of driving under the influence (DUI) of alcohol or drugs. There is a difference, though, between someone driving just over the .08 BAC limit and someone who has an enhanceable DUI. Typically, an enhanced DUI comes from either a Second DUI or from a BAC of .15 or higher. It’s important to keep in mind that these situations — called “aggravating factors” in Florida — the penalties tend to be much harsher.
What are Aggravating Factors?
Put simply, aggravating factors are circumstances that make a DUI charge worse for the defendant. Some of the more common aggravating factors include:
- Driving with a .15 blood alcohol content (almost twice the legal threshold)
- Getting in an accident that caused property damage, bodily injury, or death (including death of an unborn child)
- Having a child (under 18 years old) in the car while driving with at least a .08 BAC
- Being charged with more than one DUI
The lookback period for DUIs in Florida is generally 10 years. This means that more than one DUI in a 10-year period will add an aggravating factor to your most recent DUI charge. If you are charged DUI within five years of a previous conviction, you could be facing a mandatory jail sentence. The most severe penalties are reserved for those with four or more DUIs in a 10-year period. In these scenarios, the DUI will be a felony DUI (third-degree felony).
With an enhanced DUI charge and subsequent conviction, you will likely experience enhanced penalties. Let’s compare the maximum penalties for DUI and DUI with aggravating factors:
- Jail time: Six MONTHS maximum for a first DUI of .08 or less vs. Five YEARS maximum for felony DUI.
- Legal fines: $500 maximum for DUI vs. $5,000 maximum for Felony DUI.
- Driver’s license revocation: 180 days minimum for DUI conviction vs. possible lifetime revocation.
- Car impounded: 10 days vs. 90 days.
- Those convicted of an enhanced DUI may have to pay for property damage or personal injury, enter a residential treatment program, or install an ignition interlock device on their vehicle.
Camadeco Law Group is Your Firewall
Plenty of criminal defense attorneys take DUI cases, but not many of them focus exclusively on DUI like our firm does. We understand the most effective ways to poke holes in these charges and challenge the prosecution in and out of court. No matter how hopeless you think your case is, there is ALWAYS something we can do to put you in a better position. Call our team at Call to get a defiant defender on your side.