Aggravating factors in criminal cases are specific circumstances that make a crime more severe under Indiana law or show the defendant’s fault or intentionality in committing the crime. In Indiana, when a judge or jury determines that these factors exist, sentencing guidelines provide for a more severe sentence, including life in prison without parole or even the death penalty in some cases.
Drunk driving charges can be more serious if aggravating factors are involved. Suppose you are facing DUI charges in Indiana that could include allegations of aggravating circumstances. In that case, it’s crucial that you reach out to a knowledgeable Indiana DUI lawyer who is remarkably experienced in evaluating DUI case evidence, identifying mitigating factors that can be used to your advantage, and fighting for your freedom and rights to the fullest extent of the law.
There are several circumstances that could be a part of a DUI case that makes it more serious. These are known as aggravating factors, and they can increase the type of charges a driver faces and their consequences. If your DUI charge potentially involves any of these aggravating factors, it’s imperative that you have an experienced Indiana DUI attorney on your side as soon as possible.
A standard first OWI (operating while intoxicating) is a misdemeanor. However, aggravating factors can make a DUI a felony charge. In most other jurisdictions, a third or fourth DUI is a felony. In Indiana, a second OWI within seven years of the last one is categorized as a level 6 felony. If you are convicted of a level six felony, you can face six months to two and one-half years in jail and a fine of as much as $10,000.
It’s also a class six felony in Indiana to operate a vehicle while under the influence with at least one passenger who is a minor under the age of 18. Just like a second DUI conviction, having an underage passenger while drinking and driving may end up with you serving six months to two and one-half years in jail and a fine of as much as $10,000.
Suppose a DUI offender has a prior DUI involving a serious or fatal bodily injury. In that case, the current offense is classified as a level five felony. A level 5 felony conviction carries a one to six-year jail sentence and a maximum fine of $10,000.
Current OWI charges that involve serious bodily injury are generally classified as a level five felony. If convicted, motorists face between one and six years in jail and a fine of up to $10,000.
However, if the driver also has a previous DUI conviction within the last five years, their current offense will be charged as a level four felony. Conviction of a level four felony comes with two to 12 years in prison and as much as $10,000 in fines.
Typically, a DUI charge involving the death of another person is charged as a level four felony. Those with a level four felony conviction will face two to 12 years in prison and up to $10,000 in fines.
At Arshad, Pangere & Warring, we know how severe DUI charges can be. We also know that a single one of these aggravating factors can make them even more serious, resulting in longer prison or jail sentences and higher fines. Having the representation of a skilled Indiana DUI attorney from our firm can help you achieve the best outcome possible, no matter what type of charges you face. Contact us today to learn more about how we can help.
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