If you are facing a criminal charge, you are likely worried about the prospects of a criminal conviction and/or possible jail time. When someone is charged with a criminal offense, the court will always look into the circumstances of the crime to ensure the correct level of punishment. Aggravating factors can increase the potential penalties for a conviction.
If you have questions about your own criminal case, then it is important to speak to an experienced criminal defense attorney as soon as possible.
Aggravating Factors Generally
An aggravating factor is something that happened in a case that makes the defendant worthy of being punished more harshly. Aggravating factors usually include criminal actions that put more people at risk for harm or that are so excessive they warrant serious punishment.
Conversely, a mitigating factor is something that happened in a case that makes the defendant worthy of a lighter punishment. If it’s your first offense, and/or nobody got hurt from your conduct, these may be mitigating factors in your case.
Aggravating Factors Related to a Kentucky DUI Charge
In Kentucky, six specific things are aggravating factors in a drunk driving (OVI/DUI) case. If your case has one of the following aggravating factors as defined by the Kentucky Revised Code 189A.010(11), then you are subject to harsher penalties from the judge.
The six aggravating factors for Kentucky OVI/DUI charges are:
- Speeding more than 30 miles per hour over the posted speed limit;
- Driving a vehicle the wrong way on the road;
- Causing a car accident that results in death or serious injury as defined in Kentucky Revised Statutes 500.080;
- Operating a vehicle with a blood alcohol content (BAC) of .15 or higher;
- Refusing to submit to any breath, blood, or urine test as requested by a police officer (unless it’s a first offense); and
- Operating a vehicle under the influence with a child under the age of twelve (12) in the car.
Aggravating factors in Kentucky OVI/DUI charges only affect your potential jail time. Other penalties such as fines and probationary terms are not automatically affected by the aggravating factors listed above.
Kentucky DUI Penalties
In Kentucky, OVI/DUI charges are generally broken down into four main categories, primarily based on how many times you have been previously convicted for a DUI.
The four DUI categories and their associated penalties are:
- DUI first offense: This is a Class B misdemeanor charge, which carries the potential of 48 hours to 30 days in jail, along with fines up to $500, and a driver’s license suspension of up to 120 days.
- DUI second offense: This is a Class B misdemeanor charge, which carries the potential of 7 days to 6 months in jail, along with fines up to $500, and a driver’s license suspension of up to 18 months.
- DUI third offense: This is a Class A misdemeanor charge, which carries the potential of 30 days to one year in jail, along with fines up to $1,000, and a driver’s license suspension of up to 36 months.
- DUI fourth or subsequent offense: This is a Class D felony charge, which carries the potential of up to 5 years in prison, along with fines up to $10,000, and a driver’s license suspension of 60 months.
If you are charged with one of the DUI charges listed above, and your case has one or more aggravating factors, then you are subject to being sentenced to double the mandatory minimum jail or prison time.
Mandatory Minimum Jail Sentences for DUIs with Aggravating Factors
If you are facing a Kentucky DUI charge with one or more aggravating factors, then you will be forced to serve double the mandatory minimum sentence for the charge. Kentucky law makes serving the entire amount of time mandatory, with no potential of being released early.
The mandatory minimums for Kentucky DUI charges with aggravating factors are as follows:
- First offense DUI with aggravating factors results in a mandatory minimum of 4 days in jail
- Second offense DUI with aggravating factors results in a mandatory minimum of 14 days in jail
- Third offense DUI with aggravating factors results in a mandatory minimum of 60 days in jail
- Fourth or subsequent offense DUI with aggravating factors results in a mandatory minimum sentence of 240 days in jail.
This additional jail time is not negotiable, and the only way that you can avoid serving the entire jail time is through a plea deal that avoids the aggravating factor or by winning your case outright through a trial or dismissal. In either circumstance, it is important to have an attorney’s help.
Make Sure You Have an Attorney’s Assistance in Fighting a DUI Charge
It is highly recommended that you speak to an experienced criminal defense attorney if you are facing a DUI charge, especially if your case has aggravating factors. It is important to fully understand the specific consequences that you might be facing. We offer a free consultation so you can have your case reviewed by an experienced professional.