If you are familiar with DUI laws in Florida, you should know that the legal limit for blood alcohol content (BAC) when operating a motor vehicle is .08%. If you are pulled over by a police officer and a test shows that you are over this limit, you will be subject to harsh penalties for this infraction. In Florida, you can face a first-degree misdemeanor for your first DUI offense. But there is another kind of DUI offense you may face, and it can mean even more severe penalties.
Based on factors associated with your DUI arrest, your charge can become classified as an aggravated DUI. Once the charge becomes aggravated, it will be a felony which carries with it even more penalties. Here are some factors that can upgrade a DUI charge to an aggravated DUI.
Children in the vehicle – Driving impaired and risking the safety of a child who is also riding in the car is very dangerous. You can also be charged with aggravated DUI if you were pulled over for DUI going through a school zone.
License is suspended or revoked – Not only is driving when you are not allowed to be behind the wheel illegal, but driving intoxicated can upgrade the charge to aggravated DUI.
You have multiple DUI offenses – If you have received prior DUI convictions, regardless if it was in Florida or another state, the court will most likely charge your current DUI as a felony.
DUI results in property damage, injury or death – If you caused bodily harm that resulted in serious injury or death while intoxicated behind the wheel, the charge will very likely be classified as aggravated. Same goes with damaging property.
Dangerous driving or excessive speed – Typically, driving around 30 mph over the posted speed limit when you are pulled over for DUI can lead to aggravated DUI. As will driving with no willful disregard for the well-being of others, such as driving in the wrong lane or ignoring traffic signs or signals.
Extremely high blood alcohol level – Plan on an aggravated DUI charge if your blood alcohol level is two or more times over the legal limit.
Receiving a DUI can be devastating to many people. Which means an aggravated DUI should be avoided at all possible costs. You can be subject to jail time, expensive fees and fines, loss of driver’s license and even vehicle confiscation. Not to mention higher insurance costs and spending time at a treatment class or program.