In most cases, if the police pull you over for driving while under the influence of drugs or alcohol, the prosecution can charge you with a misdemeanor DWI charge. Upon conviction, you could face some serious penalties that can have an effect upon the rest of your life. However, there are certain elements that, if present, can elevate the charge to a felony DWI or otherwise make the penalties much more severe.
Having a BAC of 0.15% or higher
The lowest level of DWI that you could face is for driving with your blood alcohol content (BAC) at 0.08%. Although the penalties for driving with that BAC are severe, they get much worse if your BAC reaches 0.15%. That can qualify you for an aggravated DWI.
Your first DWI offense could result in a jail sentence of up to five days, depending on the amount of alcohol that was in your system at the time. However, after your second DWI, the minimum jail sentence is 10 days. The minimum sentence increases for each subsequent prior conviction.
Having a minor in the car
If there was a person less than seventeen years old in the car with you when you were pulled over, the penalties upon conviction automatically increase.
Some was injured or killed
If someone suffered an injury that the prosecutor can prove was the result of your driving under the influence, they may add the aggravating factor of criminal negligence to your charge. If someone died, you may face manslaughter charges as well.
DWI penalties can follow you for the rest of your life, and make things such as finding a job much more difficult than they otherwise would be. Be aware of the factors that can make potential DWI charges against you or your loved ones much worse.