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Aggravated DUI Charges
While the punishment for an operating while intoxicated (OWI) offense is stiff, you could face enhanced penalties if charged with an aggravated OWI. Factors that can lead to an aggravated OWI include:
- Transporting a minor while under the influence
- Having prior offenses
- Having a high chemical test result
- Causing death or serious injury
- Driving with a suspended or revoked license
- Driving without auto insurance
- Possessing drugs
- Possessing firearms
Other factors can also determine your punishment for an OWI. For example, while first and second offenses are considered misdemeanors, a third drunk-driving charge is considered a felony. Michigan currently has lifetime lookback, so if you have two prior offenses anytime in your life, you could be looking at a felony DUI. Then, instead of spending time in jail, you may be sentenced to a year or more in prison for a third offense. No matter what if you're convicted of felony drunk driving in Michigan, you're getting a minimum sentence of 30 days in jail.
Enhanced penalties also apply for causing an accident resulting in serious injury or death while intoxicated. With this offense you could spend up to 5 years in prison if convicted. The term "serious injury" is very broadly defined and can include things like small scars left after an accident, and almost any broken bone. When a death occurs, most judges will sentence a person to 5 – 7 years in prison.
Driving with drugs or firearms in the car can result in additional felony charges. If you don't have a concealed pistol license and have a weapon in the car you're looking at a five-year felony, and any time you get for this offense could be stacked with any time you get for the underlying offense.
Having a high BAC or having a child 16 or less in the car can also result in enhanced charges and additional time in jail, along with higher fines and costs. Plus, it only takes one child endangerment to raise a subsequent arrest to a felony. The cut-off for a high BAC super-drunk charge is .17. If your breath or blood test is .17 or greater you could be charged and convicted of a super-drunk driving, punishable by up to 180 days in jail and carrying enhanced driver license sanctions.
Please contact an experienced Michigan DUI attorney if you have been charged with an aggravated DUI.Additional Penalties
In addition to incarceration, the judge may sentence you to perform community service, pay large fines, and complete an alcohol treatment program. You may also be subject to a lifetime driver's license revocation upon conviction. The only way to get your license reinstated is to win your license hearing after a year. If your attempt is unsuccessful, you will have to wait another year before contesting your revocation.Collateral Consequences
These are not the only consequences you may face if convicted of an aggravated OWI. You will also be burdened with a criminal record for the rest of your life. Imagine the embarrassment you may experience if you apply for a job and are denied an offer because of a background check.Help is Available
At the Barone Defense Firm, we have helped many citizens accused of OWI as well as aggravated OWI. Our lawyers are never content to let a client plead guilty, and we are prepared to fight for an acquittal. We can also attempt to negotiate with the prosecutor to reduce your charge or sentence.