An aggravating factor is a circumstance that raises the severity of a crime. Aggravating circumstances also increase the penalty for a guilty verdict. Aggravating factors vary by state and the type of criminal offense.
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Aggravating Factors for Driving Under the Influence in Ohio
Driving under the influence (DUI) is also known as operating a vehicle under the influence (OVI) in Ohio. It is illegal to operate a motor vehicle under the influence of alcohol, drugs, or a combination of both, according to Ohio Revised Code §4511.19.
The penalties for DUI in Ohio are severe. A first offense DUI conviction can result in:
- A fine of $375 to $1,075
- Minimum of three days in jail or a three-day driver intervention program
- Up to six months in county jail
- Up to five years of probation
- One to three years of driver’s license suspension
- Installation of an ignition interlock device (IID)
- Administrative license suspension (ALS) for one year for BAC test refusal
- ALS for 90 days for a prohibited BAC level
- Additional three days in jail and restricted license plates for a high-tier BAC level
Aggravating factors for DUI increase the severity of punishment.
Instead of serving three days in jail, you might serve six months in jail. In some cases, an aggravating factor could result in prison sentences of more than a year.
Fines and probation sentences increase with aggravating circumstances.
Aggravating factors for a DUI offense include:
- Child endangerment – Having a minor in the vehicle when arrested for OVI.
- High blood alcohol content (High BAC) – Having a BAC of .017% or higher, which is more than double the legal limit of .08% in Ohio.
- Prior DUIs – Prior convictions for operating a motor vehicle under the influence enhance the penalties for the current DUI conviction.
- Causing injuries or death – A DUI accident that results in injury or death to another person.
Aggravating factors often result in felony DUI charges. A felony DUI offense could result in a minimum of 60 days in jail and a fine of $1,350.
Furthermore, a high BAC level doubles the minimum incarceration for a first-time felony DUI conviction. You also face a minimum three-year driver’s license suspension and other penalties. Judges may order more severe penalties depending on the circumstances.
Aggravated Murder Charges in Ohio
Under Ohio law, you can be charged with murder or aggravated murder. Ohio Revised Code §2903.01 lists the factors that increase murder charges to aggravated murder. Aggravating circumstances for murder charges include:
- Purposefully and with prior calculation cause the death of someone or the unlawful termination of another person’s pregnancy
- Purposefully cause the death of someone who is under 13 years of age
- Purposely causing the death of someone when the person is in prison for a felony or escapes custody
- Purposely cause the death of a law enforcement officer, first responder, or military member
Aggravated murder charges also attach when a person purposely causes the death of another person or the unlawful termination of another person’s pregnancy while committing or attempting to commit:
- Aggravated arson
- Aggravated robbery
- Aggravated burglary
The aggravated murder charge also applies if the person is fleeing immediately after committing or attempting to commit one of the above crimes. Penalties for aggravated murder in Ohio include the death penalty, life in prison, and a fine of $25,000.
Aggravated Assault Charges in Ohio
Specific circumstances increase assault charges to aggravated assault. Ohio Revised Code §2903.12 states it is unlawful for a person in a sudden fit of rage or under the influence of sudden passion to:
- Cause serious physical harm to someone or to another person’s unborn child; OR
- Cause or attempt to cause physical harm to someone or their unborn child by using a deadly ordnance or deadly weapon.
Aggravated assault is generally a fourth-degree felony. However, the charge increases to a third-degree felony if the victim is a police officer. The presumptive prison sentence for aggravated assault is 18 months (up to five years for assaulting a law enforcement officer).
How Can a Lawyer Help When You Are Charged With an Aggravated Crime?
Aggravated crimes often have specific legal elements that the state must prove to obtain a conviction. A criminal defense lawyer carefully analyzes the state’s evidence to determine if the case against you is solid. An attorney also investigates your case to gather evidence that can be used in your defense.
Judges look unfavorably at defendants when aggravating factors are present in a case. As a result, you could face maximum penalties depending on the charges against you and the judge hearing your case. Trying to fight the charges yourself or negotiate a plea bargain without a lawyer could result in devastating consequences.
Schedule a Free Consultation With Our Criminal Defense Lawyers
Aggravating factors often raise the criminal charge to a felony. You need a solid defense to fight the charges.