Aggravated DUI could be a serious charge. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 29 people in the United States die in motor vehicle crashes that involve an alcohol-impaired driver. By South Carolina laws, a driver is legally impaired if they have up to 0.08% blood alcohol concentration (BAC) and more. It is 0.04% for commercial drivers and a zero-tolerance rule for teenage drivers.
A driver who breaches the BAC rule would face charges for driving under the influence. The penalty is relatively light for the first offense, but it becomes steep with each subsequent offense. The most severe drunk driving offense is aggravated DUI, and if you are charged with it, you face more than fines and a minor jail term. Our Orangeburg DUI defense attorneys can present an excellent defense to mitigate your punishment if charged with this crime.
What Is Aggravated DUI?
Millions of impaired drivers get behind the wheel each year in the United States. In South Carolina, driving under the influence is quite prevalent. According to a CDC fact sheet for South Carolina, 3,299 people died in an accident involving an alcohol-impaired driver from 2009 to 2018.
The high number of drunk driving accidents gives room for aggravated DUI offenses. In South Carolina, an aggravated DUI refers to a case of an enhanced DUI charge. Usually, other forms of negligent actions could result in this crime. Simply put, if you drove under the influence and were distracted with your phone at the same time, you might face an aggravated DUI charge.
Below are some examples of what amounts to an aggravated DUI charge.
Very High BAC Level
As mentioned earlier, South Carolina drivers must keep their blood alcohol levels below 0.08%. If the police pull you over or an accident occurs and you have a significantly high BAC, they will charge you with aggravated DUI instead of normal DUI. Consequently, you will receive stiffer punishments than someone at the BAC level or barely above it.
Previous DUI Convictions
If you have received two or more DUI convictions within ten years, you may face an aggravated DUI charge. In such a case, a misdemeanor charge might become a felony charge with stiffer penalties.
In South Carolina, you will face a child endangerment charge if you were intoxicated and had a passenger younger than 16 years. Once you get charged with the preceding, you would also face an aggravated DUI charge. Note that a child endangerment offense would increase the punishment you’ll receive.
Driving Above the Speed Limit and Suspended License
If you drive while intoxicated and above the speed limit, you’ll answer to an aggravated DUI charge. The speed limit must be at least 20 to 30 miles per hour above the designated speed limit. Similarly, you will face this charge if you have a suspended or revoked license and then get arrested for driving while impaired.
Bodily Harm or Death
You will face an aggravated DUI charge if you cause an auto accident that causes bodily injury to another person. Bodily injury covers:
- Permanent or serious disfigurement
- Substantially increased risk of death
- Impairment or loss of a body part or an organ
What Are the Penalties for Aggravated DUI in South Carolina?
The penalty for aggravated DUI varies from case to case. The decisive factor is the nature of the circumstances resulting in the charge. For instance, the punishment a person with an additional charge of child endangerment receives is not the same as driving at top speed. Our Orangeburg DUI defense lawyers will advise you on the penalties that apply to your case.
Below are some of the penalties for aggravated DUI:
- Bodily injury or death carries 15 years imprisonment and a fine of up to $10,100.
- DUI and child endangerment carries an additional prison term that is one-half the original imprisonment term mandated for the DUI charge. Plus, a fine that is one-half the DUI fine and a minimum license of 60 days.
- An exceptionally high BAC of 0.10% carries one month in prison and a $500 fine for a first offense. Additionally, if you have 0.16% BAC, the jail time is up to 3 years with a fine of $6,500.
Hire an Orangeburg DUI Attorney Today!
If you have been arrested and charged with aggravated DUI, you need to hire a lawyer immediately. Our Orangeburg DUI defense attorneys have the experience and expertise to lessen your penalties. We will also work to ensure the prosecution does not trample on your rights. Contact us today for a free case evaluation.