What Are Aggravating Factors For DUI Charges?
Some aggravating factors associated with DUIs, which is a felony, can be impairment to the slightest degree while under the influence, or if your BAC is over the legal limit. Alternatively, you may have been issued an extreme or a super extreme DUI. Four factors will aggravate these DUIs, and turn one of those from a misdemeanor into a felony. Here are the examples, if your driver’s license was not in good standing at the time of the DUI. Conditionally it could be you do not have a driver’s license, or you have a suspended license, or your license has been revoked, or you might have been driving in violation of a previous DUI restriction on your license.
However, if you had a DUI restriction, and you are violating it now, you will get a DUI. Your license is not pristine, so to speak, so there was something on your license. The second one is going to be your third or subsequent DUI within seven years. Again, I sit down with my clients and explain to them that I do not want them getting a felony DUI. I do not want them getting another DUI, especially a felony DUI. People get them repeatedly.
They did not learn from the first one, or after the second one, and now they are facing their third one in seven years. The next category is what I call endangering a child in your vehicle. It does not mean any child, but anyone less than fifteen years of age. For example, a fourteen year old can be considered under the age if you are in that category of impaired to the slightest degree or have a BAC of the 0.08%. You will be charged with a felony. The last of the four factors is if you are violating the car breathalyzer provision. In other words, you are going to have a breathalyzer device installed in your car.
If you have managed to remove it, or figured out how to cut the wires, and take it out so it was not functioning, or you have somebody else blow into it for you as you are driving, that is going to be a felony. You are not compliant with the requirements of the breathalyzer device; otherwise, you would not have been able to start the car.
Are There Any Alternative Programs Available To First Time DUI Offenders?
We do not have alternative programs in our state. We do not have any kind of diversions for DUIs, at least not officially. I have had a few people that were border-lined and at 0.08%. They were questionable stopped, or did not seem like the stop by law enforcement was appropriate under the law. It was not enough to get the case thrown out. I have only had it once or twice, and the person went into treatment programs and the case was dismissed. It was a good call on the prosecutor’s part because these are rare where the stops are questionable. If it is circumstantial, what they will do is more than likely issue the ticket as a reckless driving stop. I want to be clear. Those are not considered diversions. It was just the prosecutor realizing this is not a good case to proceed to trial.
There is no official diversion. I am talking about my county or the other counties that I work in. However, if you are lucky, and if you have the right facts, and a good lawyer, you might be able to get it down to a reckless charge. Some of the bigger cities might do home detention for part of a jail time like in Tucson. What they will do is if you have a thirty-day sentence, the type of charge requires you to do thirty days on a second DUI. For example, if you are in jail for two weeks, and sixteen days home detention, you have to pay for that ankle monitor. You have to pay to set it up, and pay for the equipment. However, they do not do that where I practice law in my county.
The diversion and all these extra things such as, “Can I have an interlock”, that is not going to help. There are times when, for example, if you have an extreme level or super extreme level on your first offense, and if you were to have a voluntary Intoxilyzer put in your car for a year, the judge may suspend part of the required jail time. Some of the judges in this county have said they will consider doing this. I have talked to some judges who disagree. That is more likely to happen in a big city because they have a probation department who can monitor this program.
For misdemeanor DUIs in this county, you are not going to get probation for a misdemeanor DUI. They just do not have the manpower for a probation department for misdemeanor DUIs, unless it starts as a felony. When I try felony DUIs for my clients, I usually get them down to misdemeanor DUIs. They usually make probation. I have had some we did not receive probation in the end or we got unsupervised probation, but they usually want the person to be on a regular supervised probation for a felony DUI that is resolved as a misdemeanor DUI.
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