No two cases are ever the same. There will always be differentiating factors that the court will be asked to take into account when it’s making a finding of guilt or innocence and in the former, determining the appropriate sentence.
The prosecutor will be asking the judge to take into account any aggravating factors that it thinks make your case more serious whereas your defense will be points of mitigation. What are some common aggravating and mitigating factors in a DUI charge?
Repeat offending is likely to be a aggravator
If this is your second, third or even fourth DUI, the prosecution will be asking the judge in your matter to take this into account when it comes to deciding on an appropriate sentence.
The prosecutor will be asking the court to give you a harsher penalty to demonstrate the seriousness with which it treats those who are habitual drunk drivers.
In addition to the above, some other common aggravating factors include:
- Having a child under the age of 15 in the car at the time
- Being significantly over the legal Blood Alcohol Content limit
- Having an open container of alcohol in the vehicle
- Injuring another person or causing an accident
- Failure to comply with the police officers at the scene
- If you’re under 21 at the time of the offense
First-time offense and no criminal record is mitigation
If this is your first DUI offense and you have no prior criminal record, that can be used in mitigation by your defense. It suggests that this is out of character for you and does not present a pattern of behavior.
Other mitigating factors include:
- Complying with the police officers and investigation
- No dangerous driving
- Low blood alcohol content
- Character witnesses provided as well as your background and employment
- Participating voluntarily in a treatment program
Having legal help is the best way to put forward a strong defense to your DUI charge and draw the court’s attention to as many mitigating factors as possible on your behalf.