Drunk driving and cigarette smoking have at least one thing in common: there has over the past decades been enough publicity about their dangers that it is hard to find anyone who does not know that either is a bad idea. But for a variety of reasons some people still smoke, and some still get behind the wheel when they have had a few too many drinks. When it comes to drunk driving arrests, though, Kentucky law provides for situations when being charged with DUI can be an especially bad thing to have happen to you. These are known as "aggravating circumstances."
As the name suggests, aggravating circumstances are those that put the inebriated driver and the public more at risk of harm than simply being over the .08 BAC limit or driving erratically. As a matter of public policy, Kentucky has chosen to make aggravating circumstances the basis for increasing the punishments that can be meted out by a court after a DUI conviction, something which we will discuss below. But first, what does Kentucky law consider to be aggravating circumstances?
The following items all qualify:
- driving more than 30 miles per hour over the posted speed limit
- driving the wrong way on a limited-access freeway or highway
- causing an accident that results in death or serious injury
- having a BAC of .15 or more
- refusing to submit to a breathalyzer test
- being DUI with a passenger 12 years old or younger
What are the consequences of a finding of aggravated circumstances? The simple answer is, more minimum jail time. Whether it is your first offense or your fourth, if you are convicted of drunk driving with aggravated circumstances, the minimim jail sentence doubles.
Being accused of drunk driving is a serious matter, that requires a serious legal defense by legal counsel experienced in handling DUI cases. Being accused of aggravating circumstances only increases the need for an aggressive and thorough defense attorney to protect your legal rights and to secure the best outcome possible.