An aggravated DWI is a serious charge that can impact your ability to operate a motor vehicle for a lengthy period of time. A DWI, or a charge of driving while intoxicated, carries higher penalties than a DUI charge, and is often, but not always, considered to be a felony.
When the circumstances around the DWI are particularly negligent, it becomes an aggravated charge and increases in severity. Knowing what constitutes a DWI can help you mount a successful defense against it should you be charged with this crime.
What Circumstances Make a DWI ‘Aggravated?’
What sets an aggravated DWI charge apart from other types? Check out the following circumstances that can make your case much more serious.
- An Expired or Suspended License: You could face an aggravated DWI if you’re pulled over with an expired or suspended license.
- You Have Other Charges: If you are currently facing other DUI or DWI charges, or you have faced any in the past, your current charge could turn into an aggravated charge.
- You Have Vulnerable Passengers: Driving while intoxicated with vulnerable passengers in your vehicle, especially children, is grounds for elevating a DWI to an aggravated charge.
Your own circumstances will be unique if you’ve been charged with a DWI. Each state has its own laws regarding the penalties for a DWI. Your personal history will be an important factor that determines the severity of your charges. Follow the link to learn more about frequently asked questions about DWI.
When Does an Aggravated DWI Become a Felony?
An aggravated DWI may be brought forward as a misdemeanor if it’s a first-time offense, but there are some circumstances that can cause it to become a felony charge. Each state will have its own rules governing this. However, if the charge isn’t your first one, or if you have a child passenger, it’s likely that it will be considered a felony.
Can an Aggravated DWI Raise My Insurance Rates?
Following an aggravated DWI charge, you could face higher insurance rates, along with other restrictions. You will likely need to have an ignition interlock device installed on your car that prevents your ignition from starting unless you are able to pass a breathalyzer test. You may also lose your license or may have it suspended, depending on the severity of your case.
What Are the Penalties of an Aggravated DWI?
While the penalties for an aggravated DWI vary from state to state, the severity of the offence, and whether it is your first one or if you have had any previously. Many sentences carry at least one year in jail, along with several thousand dollars in fines.
Those convicted also usually have their licenses revoked from anywhere from one year to 18 months, with some facing permanent revocation. Those convicted are often required to attend victim impact panels, which impose additional costs in both time and money.
Additional Aggravated DWI Penalties
A person who is convicted of an aggravated DWI may face probation for several years. They also could be subjected to a screening to determine if they have a substance abuse problem. They may also be required to attend several years of additional classes, such as a driver responsibility assessment to determine their fitness behind the wheel.
An aggravated DWI charge can upend your life for many years. The best thing to do would be to avoid the circumstances that could lead to this charge in the first place. However, if you have been charged with aggravated DWI, it’s essential that you get a criminal defense lawyer who can protect your rights.