Being arrested for driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs (DUI) can be a frightening and potentially life-changing experience. When prosecutors assert that aggravating factors are present, the outcomes can be even more severe.
If you are facing aggravated DUI charges, it is essential to work with a skilled legal professional. An Edina aggravated DUI lawyer understands the intricacies of these laws and can work with you to build a strong case against the prosecution.
Aggravating Circumstances in DUI Cases
Minnesota’s statutory scheme for DUI offenses identifies several levels of severity, from a fourth-degree misdemeanor for a first offense to a felony charge for some repeat offenders. Generally, the number of prior offenses determines the severity of the charge.
Prosecutors can look back ten years to determine whether an individual had prior DUI convictions. The existence of prior convictions could support bringing a more serious charge. For example, a driver who was convicted eleven years ago of DUI would face a current DUI as a first offender, despite the prior conviction. A driver facing a DUI nine years after a prior conviction would face second-offense charges.
If one or more aggravating factors are present, a prosecutor could bring a more serious charge than the driver’s record would otherwise warrant. Aggravating factors under Minnesota Statute §169A.03 include:
- The driver’s BAC was .16 or above
- The impaired driver’s vehicle was carrying a child as a passenger
- The driver refused a test to check for the presence of alcohol or drugs
Anyone facing DUI charges involving aggravating circumstances in Edina should consult with a seasoned attorney as quickly as possible to go over their legal defense options.
Defending Aggravated Charges
When an enhanced charge is due to an Edina driver’s prior conviction, a skilled defense attorney could attempt to challenge the conviction. If the individual did not have an attorney during the proceedings for their first DUI, an attorney could assert that the conviction should not count against the client in subsequent proceedings.
If the aggravating factor is the driver’s BAC, it could be possible to challenge the quality and reliability of the test and the lab. The skill of the person who administered the test and the circumstances surrounding it also could offer grounds to dispute the validity or admissibility of the test results.
Is Refusing a Breath Test Illegal?
Refusal to submit to a test is a misdemeanor, as well as an aggravating factor in a DUI charge. Refusing a breathalyzer is punishable by up to a year in jail and no more than $3,000 in fines.
Although refusing a test is technically against the law, an Edina defense attorney could challenge the right of law enforcement to demand the testing in certain circumstances. An attorney could assert that law enforcement did not have reasonable cause to believe the driver was impaired or that the arrest was illegal in the first place.
Reach out to an Edina Aggravated DUI Lawyer
Aggravated DUI cases are not taken lightly by the law. If you are facing charges of this nature, it is crucial to work with a legal professional who understands the law and could build a robust defense on your behalf. With skilled legal professionals on your side, you could be able to reduce your charges and mitigate the potential penalties. Schedule a consultation with an Edina aggravated DUI lawyer to get started.