Drivers may be arrested for driving under the influence of alcohol (DUI) or drunk driving with any level of alcohol concentration if they are physically impaired and unable to safely operate a motorized vehicle. Drivers may also be convicted of a per se alcohol violation if their blood alcohol concentration (BAC) is above the legal limit of 0.08% or higher (this limit was enforced by all states as of May 2007).
According to the United States Department of Transportation, a large percentage of traffic deaths are alcohol-related. The statistics are even higher for drivers who have a high blood alcohol concentration. For example, according to the state of Montana, many of the drivers arrested for DUI in their state have a BAC of 0.17% or higher, which is almost twice the legal limit. At this level of intoxication a driver is in serious danger of injuring or killing themselves and others.
What is Extreme DUI?
Recently on our DUI forum we had a driver ask what it means if they were charged with an extreme DUI. State laws vary, but generally an extreme DUI is an elevated DUI charge when the driver is arrested for a blood alcohol concentration well above the legal limit. Generally, if the driver has a BAC of 0.15% or higher, they can be charged with an extreme DUI and will receive enhanced DUI penalties.
In the state of Arizona, for example, an extreme DUI charge can result in the following DUI penalties:
- Jail term of not less than thirty consecutive days and the driver is not eligible for probation or suspension.
- Fines not less than two hundred and fifty dollars.
- Fees of two hundred and fifty dollars.
- Drivers may be ordered by a court to perform community service
- Drivers may be required to install an ignition interlock device pursuant to section 28-3319.
- Drivers may be forced to complete a court ordered alcohol or other drug screening, education or treatment program.
What is an Aggravated DUI?
An aggravated DUI is a much more serious charge than a standard misdemeanor DUI charge and will have much more serious penalties. It can be triggered by more factors than just a high blood alcohol concentration. Although state laws vary, a typical aggravated DUI charge can result if the following occurs:
- A drastically elevated blood alcohol concentration level of 0.15% or higher
- Driving with a minor in the car (state laws vary on what constitutes a minor)
- Property was damaged
- Driving without a license or on a suspended license
- Multiple DUI convictions
Hiring a DUI Lawyer
Drivers who have been arrested for an extreme DUI or an aggravated DUI should contact a DUI lawyer immediately. If you have been charged for an aggravated DUI and you have injured or killed another driver or if you are a multiple DUI offender you are facing severe penalties and potentially a long prison sentence.
Do not try to fight this on your own. Getting a DUI, even a first time charge, can be expensive. Fines, penalties, probation, mandatory jail time, and increased insurance charges are the norm, even for a first-time conviction.