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Plymouth Aggravated DUI Charges

Many people see DUI charges as victimless crimes, but this could not be further from the truth. Statistics show thousands of deaths every year attributable to drunk driving. So, it makes perfect sense that if another person was put at risk or injured in an accident caused by driving under the influence (DUI), then the potential consequences of that charge will be accordingly increased. If the police have charged you with operating while intoxicated (OWI) and the charges include aggravating circumstances, you are facing a felony conviction.

Take control of the situation before it gets away from you. A Plymouth lawyer experienced in this type of case can help you understand the types of charges associated with aggravated DUI, and what you can expect as your case proceeds. Because of the increased penalties related to aggravated drunk driving regulations, developing a strategy with a knowledgeable DUI attorney may be essential to ensuring a positive outcome.

Common Aggravated DUI Charges

Driving while intoxicated includes having a BAC over 0.08 or driving while visibly intoxicated, regardless of how much alcohol is in your system. A first offense is a misdemeanor according to Michigan Criminal Code §257.625. However, many circumstances elevate the basic first-offense criminal charge to a more severe level. These circumstances include:

  • Having a blood alcohol content (BAC) over 0.17
  • A death caused by DUI
  • A physical impairment as a result of DUI
  • Driving with a passenger under 16 years old
  • A third conviction for DUI

Penalties for Aggravated DUI Charges

Many of the circumstances related to aggravated DUI charges will raise the basic misdemeanor offense to a felony offense. Like misdemeanors, all felony DUI convictions are permanent because they can never be expunged.  This means they appear on a driver’s permanent criminal record and affect one’s ability to find employment or housing. A felony conviction also forfeits a person’s right to vote or possess a firearm. These types of offenses may also play a role in immigration or family law court decisions.

DUI Manslaughter

If a person dies from an accident involving a drunk driver, the driver may face up to 15 years in prison. The fine is between $2,500 and $10,000. The judge may force the driver to forfeit their vehicle or immobilize it for an extended period. If the driver was super drunk (having a BAC over 0.17) and a court previously convicted the driver of a DUI offense within seven years, the jail sentence may as high as 20 years.

Physical Impairment DUI

If another person receives some physical harm or disfigurement from a drunk driving accident, the case is also subject to enhancement to a felony. These terms are very broadly defined, and a “serious permanent disfigurement” may be nothing more than a small scar. The maximum penalties for such felonies include up to five years in prison and up to $5,000 in fines. The driver’s car may also be seized or immobilized, upon the judge’s discretion. If a court had convicted the driver of an earlier offense and the driver was super intoxicated, the maximum jail sentence is increased to 10 years. A Plymouth aggravated DUI charges lawyer could explain how an injured party might raise the stakes in an OWI case.

Young Passenger

If the driver has a previous conviction for DUI and the current case includes the additional fact of a passenger under the age of 16, then the court may convict that person of a felony. The court must sentence that person to a minimum of one-year incarceration with the option for up to five years and a fine of up to $5,000.

Third DUI Offense

If a court previously found a driver guilty of at least two instances of driving while intoxicated or impaired, the third charge would be a felony. We have life-time lookback in Michigan, so there is no cut-off after which prior convictions no longer count. One prior instance of operating with a passenger under the age of 16 also raises the current case to a felony. Penalties for a felony DUI based on prior offenses include: a fine of $500 to $5,000 fine, and either 1 to 5 years in prison or a term of probation following 30 days to 1 year in jail. Additional sanctions include between 60 and 180 days of community service.  Depending on the timing of your prior convictions, your driver license could be revoked for as many as five years, and unless the court allows forfeiture of your car it will be immobilized for up to three years.

Protect Yourself from Plymouth Aggravated DUI Charges

It is imperative you understand the effect enhanced DUI charges can have on your life. A Plymouth aggravated DUI charges attorney could help you understand the legal process and build a strong defense. As soon as you learn about possible DUI charges you should hire a knowledgeable lawyer to protect your rights and fight for your freedom. Call an attorney today for a case consultation.