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Aggravated DUI is a felony DUI, and a felony is much more serious than a misdemeanor. There are two types of aggravated DUI charges. The first one is a DUI at a time when you have a child under 15 years old in the vehicle with you. That is a Class 6, or lowest form of felony DUI. Basically the penalties are very similar to the penalties for the misdemeanor DUIs. The only difference is that it starts off as a felony, and under some circumstances through probation you have to earn the misdemeanor. The other difference is that on any type of felony DUI there is a mandatory revocation of license for a year. So instead of the administrative penalties that we will talk about in a minute, that are associated with the misdemeanor DUIs, on the aggravated DUI it is a flat 1-year revocation.
Then there is the most serious of the DUI charges, and that is the Class 4 felony, which is a middle-grade felony, of aggravated DUI. That is a DUI that is your third offense within a seven-year period, and/or, a DUI any time when your license is suspense, cancelled, or revoked. If convicted of that offense the aggravating factor, being the suspended or revoked license at the time, the legislature has built in a mandatory minimum period of probation and as a term of probation. You’re supposed to serve 4 months in prison at the state department of corrections. It also carries a mandatory revocation of license, fines, fees, and probation. But these felonies are bad because under our law aggravated DUI is what’s called a forever felony, and it can be used any time to enhance or aggravate another felony offense, if you ever get one.
What about DUI where one causes serious injury or death to another? Some states have levels of DUI for accidents, injuries, and they still call it basically DUI. In Arizona that is not the case. You either have a misdemeanor DUI or a felony DUI. If there’s any injury substantial enough to qualify under the law, then those charges are actually filed as aggravated assault charges. If someone dies they can be filed as any type of homicide depending upon what the state can prove, those charges carry mandatory prison even on a first offense. That mandatory prison starts at two and a half years and goes up very quickly depending upon the severity of the crime. That’s how DUI actually plays into the more general crimes of aggravated assault, negligent homicide, manslaughter, and second-degree murder.
There are obviously several considerations. The first consideration for some people are the immigration consequences. For example, if you’re not in the United States legally and you get any offense you could be deported, and the more severe offense the more likely that is to happen. Misdemeanors are not as likely to have adverse consequences, but felonies are much more likely to. If you’re a US citizen and you get any type of a DUI conviction, Canada will not let you in for at least 5 years, and it’s a very hard process to ever be able to get status to go into Canada.
As my counterparts in Canada tell us, any form of DUI in Canada is very serious and it’s akin to a felony. That’s why the restrictions are so tough for Americans trying to go into Canada with a DUI. I also have Canadians who come down here and they get a misdemeanor DUI. Obviously they can go back to their native Canada, but trying to get out again to come visit can be a big challenge, and that’s why we always refer those clients to the people that do almost exclusively immigration law. Immigration consequences for non US citizens are always a concern.
There are also collateral consequences on professions. For example, the medical board, the nursing board, state BAR of Arizona, who licenses lawyers, as well as the real estate board, frown heavily on any type of DUI situation, and they will take their own action in addition to whatever happens in court to you, and that’s something everybody needs to be aware of. We have represented many doctors, nurses, lawyers, and realtors, and are familiar with the regulatory agencies and their actions.
If you’re not a professional there are still collateral consequences for those who drive for a living. For example, UPS drivers, post office drivers. Long-haul truckers. Anybody who has a commercial driver’s license has added consequences as a DUI conviction results in loss of the CDL for 1 year. If you get two DUIs in your lifetime, then you will no longer ever be eligible for the CDL, which is the commercial driver’s license endorsement. That’s very, very important. Pilots have to be treated a little bit differently, we often associate counsel that deal exclusively with the FAA to make sure that whatever sanction they’re facing is the minimum that they can face and they can continue to work.
For more information on Penalties For DUI Charges, a free initial consultation is your next best step. Get the information and legal answers you are seeking by calling (480) 897-8737 today.