If aggravating factors are alleged in your driving under the influence (DUI) case, you could be facing enhanced penalties. In Florida, an aggravated DUI may not only result in more serious consequences for a conviction, but may also be charged as a felony offense in some situations. At Ellis and Bryant, our Jacksonville DUI lawyers work tirelessly to help drivers avoid conviction for aggravated DUI and repeat DUI offenses. We can use our experience to identify weaknesses in the case against you and provide any guidance you may need during the process.Aggravated DUI Offenses in Florida
In Florida, a driver with a blood alcohol content (BAC) of .08% or more may be arrested for driving under the influence. A DUI arrest may also occur if the police suspect the driver is under the influence of illegal drugs or prescription medication, or a combination of drugs and alcohol. In a majority of cases, a DUI is a misdemeanor. However, the consequences may be worse if aggravating factors are present.
There are several situations that may lead to an aggravated DUI. For example, an aggravated DUI may be charged in cases where the defendant was driving recklessly or excessively speeding while under the influence, or where the defendant was driving with a BAC of .15% or higher. Other instances of aggravated DUI include driving under the influence with a passenger under the age of 18 in the vehicle, or getting into a drunk driving accident that causes property damage or an injury to someone. Often, repeat DUI convictions are an aggravating factor. A second DUI within five years of a prior DUI conviction may result in an aggravating DUI. Likewise, a driver with two prior DUI convictions that occurred within ten years may be charged with an aggravated DUI for a third offense.
While the penalties for a typical misdemeanor DUI conviction are significant, they may be more severe for an aggravated DUI. Enhanced penalties for an aggravated DUI conviction may include license revocation, a much larger monetary fine, longer probation sentence, prison time, an alcohol treatment program, extended period of vehicle impoundment, reparation payments to victims, and other consequences.Felony Aggravated DUI
In a few specific situations, an aggravated DUI may be charged as a felony offense. A history of multiple DUI convictions may be considered an aggravating factor. A defendant with two prior DUI convictions may face a felony DUI for a third offense, if it occurred within ten years of his last conviction. Fourth and subsequent DUI convictions are felony offenses, no matter when the prior convictions occurred.
Some DUI accident cases may lead to a felony charge. If a drunk driving crash results in serious bodily injury to another person, the driver may be arrested for a felony DUI. Injuries such as disfigurement, loss or impaired body functions, or the risk of death are generally considered serious bodily injuries. An alcohol-related accident involving death may also be a felony offense. DUI manslaughter occurs when a person driving under the influence causes the death of another person, including an unborn child. If the defendant flees the scene of an accident that involves injury or death, the consequences may be more serious. In felony criminal cases, legal representation may be crucial to protect your rights and achieve an acceptable outcome.Experienced DUI Lawyers Serving Jacksonville
Whether you have been arrested for a first-time DUI or you are facing enhanced penalties or a felony charge for aggravated DUI, a skilled Jacksonville attorney can help you defend against the prosecution. At Ellis and Bryant, our defense lawyers have successfully represented people in cases involving DUI offenses, gun crimes, assault, and other criminal charges. We serve Jacksonville Beach, Orange Park, Middleburg, and many other areas in Duval and Clay Counties. Schedule a consultation to discuss a criminal or family law matter by calling Ellis and Bryant at (904) 551-4120 or contacting us online.