Any charge of Driving Under the Influence (DUI) is a serious offense, but sometimes prosecutors will seek additional charges or penalties against a driver. This situation leads to what is often colloquially called aggravated DUI charges.
If you face any DUI charge, or especially an aggravated DUI charge or charges, contact an experienced criminal defense attorney. Nashville-based criminal defense attorney Philip Clark is such a DUI attorney that can help you fight these charges. He provides legal representation to people not only in Nashville but also in surrounding counties.
What Are Examples of Aggravated Charges?
If you operate a vehicle under the influence of a controlled substance or operate a vehicle with a blood, alcohol content (BAC) level of 0.08% or more, then you can be charged under a Tennessee law prohibiting driving under the influence. Tenn. Code Ann. §55-10-401. The consequences of a DUI charge can be significant, including jail time, fines, loss of driving privileges, required substance abuse treatment, and other collateral consequences in your life.
But, it can be even worse — you can face aggravated DUI charges. For example, if you have a BAC level of 0.20% or greater, you face enhanced jail time. If you have such a high BAC level, the minimum jail time upon conviction is seven (7) days instead of the usual 48 hours for a regular first-time DUI offense. Tenn. Code Ann. §55-10-402(a)(1)(B).
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There are aggravated penalties if you are convicted of a DUI and a minor (someone under the age of 18) is present in your vehicle. Tennessee law provides that if you are convicted of a DUI with a minor present in the vehicle, the mandatory imprisonment time is thirty (30) days in jail. Tenn. Code Ann. §55-10-402(b)(1). The state may also try to tag you with charges of reckless endangerment. See Tenn. Code Ann. §39-13-103. Tennessee law provides that reckless endangerment with a deadly weapon is a felony, not a misdemeanor. This is a problem in the DUI context, because a vehicle is considered a deadly eapon. Tenn. Code Ann. §39-13-103(b)(2).
If you are convicted of a repeat DUI or it is not your first conviction, then the Tenn. Code Ann. §55-10-402(a)(2)(A). charges upon such a subsequent conviction become progressively more severe. A second DUI conviction leads to a minimum imprisonment of forty-five (45) days in jail. A third DUI conviction leads to a minimum imprisonment of one hundred and twenty (120) days in jail. Tenn. Code Ann. §55-10-402(a)(3)(A). A fourth DUI conviction leads to a minimum imprisonment of one hundred and fifty (150) days in jail and, arguably even more significant, a felony conviction. Tenn. Code Ann. §55-10-402(a)(4). Even further DUI convictions lead to even worse consequences.
Even worse, if you have a BAC level of 0.08% or more and you are involved in a motor vehicle accident in which another driver or passenger dies, you could face vehicular homicide charges.
Need for an Experienced Criminal Defense Attorney
If you face criminal charges for a DUI, particularly an aggravated DUI charge, then you need an experienced criminal defense attorney. Attorney Philip Clark is such a gifted criminal defense attorney. He not only has handled many DUI cases, but he also formerly served as a police officer for nearly twenty (20) years. He knows the ins and outs of the law enforcement community. He also is a gifted negotiator and communicator who can speak to prosecutors effectively on your behalf. If need be, he zealously can defend you in court before a judge and jurors. If you face aggravated DUI charges, contact Philip Clark at (615) 678-1033 or e-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org.