Driving Under The Influence (DUI) Charges
Driving under the influence (DUI) is a serious offense and a significant problem for law enforcement across the state. It is important to understand what constitutes driving under the influence as well as all of the different types of charges that can be brought in a DUI case. Additional or elevated DUI charges can be filed against a driver based upon the serious nature of the accident and any prior offenses.
Law defines the offense of driving under the influence, “A person is guilty of the offense of driving under the influence . . . if the person is driving or in actual physical control of a vehicle within this state,” and the following applies:
- The person is under the influence of alcoholic beverages or any chemical substance to the extent that the person’s normal faculties are impaired;
- The person has a blood-alcohol level of 0.08 or more grams of alcohol per 100 milliliters of blood; and/or
- The person has a breath-alcohol level of 0.08 or more grams of alcohol per 210 liters of breath.
The law defines penalties imposed upon a typical DUI for first, second, third, fourth and subsequent convictions of the crime. Each successive DUI conviction comes with harsher consequences and is intended to punish the driver for the repeat offense.
Elevated DUI Charges
Elevated DUI crimes can be brought against a driver under certain circumstances. An aggravated charge of DUI includes cases where an accident results in serious bodily injury or death. According to statutes, serious bodily injury refers to “an injury to any person, including the driver, which consists of a physical condition that creates a substantial risk of death, serious personal disfigurement, or protracted loss or impairment of the function of any bodily member or organ.”
Elevated charges of driving under the influence are automatically considered felony offenses. DUI with serious bodily injury occurs when an accident meets the criteria of certain statutes. DUI manslaughter is the most serious of the elevated DUI charges, which results when another person is killed in an accident involving driving under the influence.
Indirect Criminal Charges
If you are pulled over on suspicion of driving under the influence, the police may also be able to charge you with additional crimes unrelated to the DUI. Traffic violations such as speeding, running a red light, or not using a turn signal have all been used as reasons to pull someone over for suspicion of DUI and can be enforced as crimes.
In addition, if the suspected DUI is caused by drugs and it is in the vehicle the driver can be charged with additional drug crimes, as well. Leaving the scene of the accident, driving without the proper insurance, and other crimes have also been filed against drivers charged with DUI.