An accusation of aggravating drunk driving is an elevated form of DUI offense that comes with more severe punishments for those who are convicted of the crime.
In order for prosecutors to pursue a charge for aggravated DUI, however, one of the following factors must be present at the time the driver was allegedly drunk behind the wheel:
- Breathalyzer tests or other types of blood alcohol content (BAC) tests show that the driver had a BAC level of at least .15 percent.
- The driver was operating his or her vehicle with a suspended license.
- The driver was speeding when pulled over and charged with DUI.
- A child under the age of 18 was riding in the vehicle at the time of the arrest.
- The driver has previous marks on his or her driving record or criminal record.
- Other so-called “aggravating” factors that might be judged on a case-by-case basis.
North Carolina’s criminal sentencing structure for drunk driving offenses increases in severity based on the “level” of the DUI committed. Drunk driving crimes are rated from the least serious at Level 5 to the most serious as Level I. Finally, a DUI crime could increase to “Level I aggravated,” which is the most serious level of DUI offense. Punishments could also increase in severity, however, if the DUI increases to the level of a felony.
If you’ve been accused of a DUI, it may not always result in a conviction. Even if the charges do end in a conviction, accused drivers who are able to successfully navigate their DUI defenses may be able to improve their legal situations in court.