What Actions Are Considered ‘Aggravating Factors’ Or ‘Special Allegations’ In A DUI Case?

Remember some of the old police movies and shows? The protagonist police officer arrests the bad guy and hauls him off to the station to throw him in jail. He looks over his shoulder to the clerk and delivers his best one liner of the show, “throw the book at him.” While this conjures a wonderful mental image of a criminal having a big tome of law lobbed at his head, “throwing the book” has both a real world meaning and some very serious implications.

The idea behind this phrase means to stick in a person with every law, or potential law they broke. In the case of a DUI, having the book thrown at you takes the form of aggravating factors, or special allegations. This can very quickly ramp up the punishment for a DUI arrest.

What is considered an aggravating factor?

These allegations or aggravating factors can take several different forms. The added punishment can vary, depending on how serious the added offense is. Here are some of the factors that can quickly escalate the punishment for a DUI charge.

  • DUI involving serious personal injury-

This can add to your fines, jail time and probation length. It also has the chance to change your charges from a misdemeanor to a felony.

  • DUI involving Death-

Vehicular manslaughter charges can take a few different forms, and depending on where you’re being charged, can greatly increase the duration of a jail sentence. While vehicular manslaughter can be tried as a misdemeanor, gross vehicular manslaughter or second degree DUI murder charges can be brought against you. Not only does this count as a felony offense but can also means anywhere from 10 years to life in prison, depending on where you’re tried.

These are two of the biggest factors that carry serious penalties, but they are by no means the only aggravating factors you can be charged with. Other factors can include:

  • Refusing to submit to a chemical test (breathalyzer or blood test)
  • Blood alcohol content (BAC levels)  of .15% or higher
  • Excessive speeding
  • Driving under the influence with children in the vehicle
  • Causing an accident regardless of the being no death or personal injury

Lastly, repeat offenders can also face increased penalties and punishments. While the severity can vary depending on where you are, almost all of them include jail time.

What is a special allegation?

In the cases of special allegations, this often refers to the BAC levels found in your blood, in excess of the legal limit. Again, this can vary depending on where you are, but added punishments typically include:

  • Jail Time
  • Increased Fines, Probation Periods and License Suspension
  • Mandatory Drinking Driver programs (some of which can lasts up to 9 months)
  • Required IID installation

As you can see, it doesn’t take much for a special allegation or aggravated factor to greatly increase the penalties and the charges brought against you. What’s worse it these factors can greatly increase the risk felony charges being brought against you, which will negatively impact you for the rest of your life.

+Andrew is one of the leading DUI and criminal defense attorneys in both the state of Maryland and the District of Columbia. He blogs about Maryland DUI law, has numerous videos on the subject and has been asked to appear on national television to offer his legal opinion on high-profile criminal cases.

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