Aggravating Factors cause a DWI to be sentenced more severely. When there are fewer Aggravating Factors, the potential sentence decreases. The more Aggravating Factors there are in a case, the higher the potential penalty if the person is convicted. They are balanced with Mitigating Factors to determine a person’s sentencing level.
What are the Aggravating Factors in DWI Law?
- One of the most common Aggravating Factors is a blood alcohol content of .15 or more. This number is not subject to modification by the court, so whatever number is reported, must be accepted by the court for sentencing purposes. If chemical analysis, like the breathalyzer or blood testing, shows that the blood alcohol content was .15 or greater, then this Aggravating Factor exists. The State can also prove this Aggravating Factor if it can show that there was gross impairment, even without a showing of .15 or greater.
- Another aggravator is especially dangerous or reckless driving. DWI laws are in place to protect the public from dangerous driving, so it is no surprise that this is one of the Aggravating Factors.
- A related factor is negligent driving that lead to a reportable accident. Again, the legislators want to protect the public on the roads, so this is one of the factors that is considered.
- Driving with a revoked license at the time of the offense.
- Passing a stopped school bus at the time of the offense.
- Your driving record can also become an Aggravating Factor. If you have two convictions for offenses that each carry 3 driver’s license points, within the past 5 years, that can be an Aggravating Factor.
- A prior DWI, if the conviction took place more than 7 years before the current offense. Each prior DWI that fits this description would count as an independent sentencing factor.
- Conviction for speeding while fleeing or attempting to elude arrest.
- Conviction for speeding in excess of 30 miles per hour over the speed limit
- Finally, the judge is also allowed to use his or her discretion to count other Aggravating Factors. There could be several factors that the judge could use as Aggravating Factors.
Aggravating Factors directly affect the severity of a DWI case. But there are other factors which have even more of a negative impact- Grossly Aggravating Factors. But there is not all bad news when it comes to DWI sentencing. Mitigating Factors reduce the severity of a DWI charge. When determining how to sentence someone found guilty, the judge balances the Aggravating and Mitigating Factors to reach a decision.