A charge of driving under the influence (DUI) is dealt with harshly in Virginia. A conviction for such a charge often results in your license being suspended for more than six months, hefty fines and potential jail time. If those penalties weren't scary enough, a conviction for an aggravated DUI charge elevates the crime to a higher level crime. That, in turn, impacts how harsh the penalties will be in your case.
Drunk driving charges are often upgraded to aggravated ones in cases in which an intoxicated motorist operates the vehicle at a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) level well in excess of the legal limit.
In most states, including Virginia, a motorist with a BAC higher than 0.08 percent is considered intoxicated. If an individual operates a vehicle at two or more times that limit, though, then this is where the charges generally enter into the "aggravated" realm.
If you're stopped for a DUI and you're found to have been previously convicted of prior offenses in either the same or different states, then you may be deemed as a repeat offender. In some jurisdictions, your DUI convictions must have happened within a few years of another to be considered a repeat offender.
In some cases, only convictions in your home state are taken into account for this purpose. If you're found to be a repeat offender, it definitely has the possibility of resulting in significant jail time and other penalties are enhanced.
An individual found to be driving on a previously-suspended license related to a DUI conviction risk having it revoked or their suspension extended. A motorist driving at an excessive speed or while kids are in the car while driving drunk may have their charges upgraded to aggravated ones.
If you've been accused of an aggravated drunk driving offense, then it's important for you to speak with an experienced Christianburg, Virginia, DUI attorney who can advise you of your rights in your case.
Source: FindLaw, "Aggravated DUI," accessed Dec. 22, 2017