What Are “Aggravating Factors” in a DWI Case?

When you have been charged with a DWI, the exact level of the charge depends upon what factors are present at the time of the arrest. These factors are referred to as “aggravating factors.” Even if it is your first offense, the presence of an aggravating factor can turn a fourth-degree DWI into a third-degree and so on. Minneapolis DWI Attorney F. T. Sessoms can challenge these aggravating factors to have the charges against you reduced so you do not have to pay the harsher penalties of the initial charge.

Effect Of Aggravating Factors On Charges

Aggravating factors determine the severity of the charge. Here is an outline of aggravating factors in relation to previous impaired driving offenses and how they influence each individual charge:

  • First-degree DWI – A person is charged with this felony if the offense is their fourth within the preceding 10 years or any time after a felony DWI conviction or felonious vehicular operation conviction. This does not take other aggravating factors into consideration.
  • Second-degree DWI – A gross misdemeanor, this may be a person’s third impaired driving violation within the preceding 10 years or second violation with one aggravating factor or test refusal.
  • Third-degree DWI – Also a gross misdemeanor, this may be a person’s second impaired driving violation within the preceding 10 years or first violation with one aggravating factor present or test refusal.
  • Fourth-degree DWI – A misdemeanor, this may be a person’s first offense within the past 10 years without any aggravating factors present and without test refusal.

Minnesota Statute 169A.095 outlines how aggravating factors are determined. The above outlined aggravating factors based upon previous impaired driving violations are counted as separate aggravating factors from the other qualifying factors.

Other Aggravating Factors

The other aggravating factors are those that can make aggravate the aforementioned charges to the point they become harsher with harsher penalties. These factors in addition to the previous impaired driving offenses include having a blood alcohol concentration of .16% or higher at the time of arrest or the presence of a minor child under the age of 16 or refusing to submit to chemical testing

The Implied Consent law in Minnesota states that a person is automatically consenting to such tests when they obtain a driver’s license. Refusing the test can aggravate a DWI offense and cause the immediate loss of driving privileges. Before refusing to submit to chemical testing, it is ideal to consult with your MN DWI lawyer so you can receive the advice you need to help you make the right decision.

Contact Minneapolis DWI Attorney F. T. Sessoms:

If you have been charged with a DWI and the charges state that there were specific aggravating factors present, you need an attorney to evaluate your case. Minneapolis DWI Attorney F.T. Sessoms has the experience and knowledge to help you fight the charges against you and reach the best outcome possible. Call 612-344-1505 to learn about the defense strategies that can be used in your case, your options, and your constitutional rights.