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5 aggravating factors that could enhance your DUI penalties

Many individuals are familiar with the potential consequences of a DUI (Driving under the influence) conviction: fines, license suspension and even jail time. However, what often goes overlooked are the factors that can magnify these penalties, commonly called aggravating factors.

When present in a DUI case, these factors can take a bad situation and make it considerably worse. You may be looking at increased fines, a longer license suspension and a harsher sentence if convicted. Below are some common aggravating factors in DUI cases.

1. High blood alcohol content (BAC) level

One of the primary aggravating factors in a DUI case is an elevated blood alcohol content (BAC) level or an excessive amount of alcohol present in your bloodstream. Louisiana has a legal limit of 0.08% BAC, and you may face enhanced penalties if you exceed this threshold by a substantial margin. Generally, the higher your BAC, the greater the potential for increased legal penalties.

2. Multiple DUI offenses

If you have prior DUI convictions, subsequent offenses typically lead to more severe penalties. The law seeks to deter drunk driving, which is why repeat offenders tend to face stiffer consequences.

3. Drunk driving that leads to accidents and injuries

The consequences can be dramatically amplified if your DUI arrest is associated with a traffic accident that causes injuries or fatalities. Causing harm to others while driving under the influence may result in criminal charges, civil lawsuits, significant fines and lengthy prison sentences.

4. Driving with a suspended license

Courts will view operating a vehicle while your license is already suspended or revoked as a blatant disregard for the law, and you may face enhanced penalties.

5. Minors in the vehicle

Having a minor in your vehicle while driving under the influence, no matter your BAC level is another aggravating factor. The unnecessary and avoidable risk posed to innocent children who have no control over the situation is bound to attract stiffer legal consequences.

Seeking legal guidance and understanding your rights can help you navigate the complexities of your DUI case.