Drunk driving is a serious offense in Florida, and a conviction can come with serious penalties. This is true even if it is your first offense and you didn’t hurt anyone. However, the situation becomes even more critical if there are aggravating factors involved.

Aggravating factors include elements that lead to additional charges or an increase in the severity of charges. In this post, we will look at some of the common factors and situations in which a DUI charge can go from bad to worse, according to Florida DUI statutes.

  1. You have a minor in the car: A DUI while there are children in the car can lead to additional charges like child endangerment, as well as more severe penalties for the DUI.
  2. You have at least one DUI offense already: Repeat offenses can lead to higher fines, more jail time and harsher license penalties.
  3. There was an accident or injuries: Accidents causing property damage or bodily harm to others can turn a misdemeanor into a felony. In cases of manslaughter, there is a mandatory minimum imprisonment sentence of four years.
  4. Your blood alcohol content was 0.15 percent or higher: If you are extremely intoxicated, you can face elevated fines and imprisonment terms.

When these or any other aggravating factors are involved, the stakes of a DUI conviction are even higher.

Under these circumstances, legal guidance can be critical. With the help of an experienced criminal defense attorney, you can fight to challenge the allegations — and the aggravating factors – in an effort to seek a dismissal or reduction of DUI charges. Doing so can minimize your exposure to legal consequences, which can be vital in protecting your criminal record, your freedom and your future.