There are a few different things you should know about being charged with aggravated DUI in the state of Arizona. It’s important to understand that if you have been charged with aggravated DUI this is a serious situation with felony penalties attached to it. Hiring an experienced criminal defense attorney should be your first course of action if you have been charged with or investigated for aggravated DUI.

Class Four versus Class Six

There are two primary ways that an individual could have his or her aggravated DUI charge classified. The first classification is known as a Class 4 Felony. If the individual is impaired by drugs, alcohol, medications, vapor releasing substances, or some combination of the above, or is driving with a  blood alcohol concentration in excess of 0.08% with two hours of driving, he or she could be charged with driving under the influence in the state of Arizona. In the case of an aggravated DUI, the individual will meet these conditions while also having at least one of the following:

  • a license that is suspended, refused, restricted, revoked, or canceled
  • two DUI convictions within seven years of the present DUI charge
  • a requirement to operate a vehicle with an ignition interlock

For a Class Six felony to apply, the individual would have be driving under the influence with a child under the age of 15 as an occupant of the vehicle.

What Makes an Aggravated DUI Different?

If you have been charged with aggravated DUI in the state of Arizona, you need to contact a Mesa criminal defense attorney as soon as possible. Do not make the mistake of assuming that aggravated DUI is much like any other DUI charge. An aggravated DUI charge is known as a prior felony conviction for the rest of your life, meaning that any future felony offenses could be affected by this prior conviction. A future felony offense might have enhanced sentencing because you already have an aggravated DUI on your record, for example.

Penalties for Aggravated DUI Charges

As you might expect, the penalties linked to an aggravated DUI conviction are quite serious. They include a minimum punishment of at least four months in the department of corrections, alcohol counseling, license revocation, probation, community service, mandatory use of an ignition interlock device, and high risk insurance. The fact that you will have a felony conviction on your criminal record may also impact you in a myriad of other ways when it comes to employment or background checks. If you have any prior felony history, these minimal punishments will not be available and you will be exposed to substantial prison time. To put it simply, an aggravated DUI charge can turn your life upside down.  An experienced attorney dedicated to defending you in court can be a great asset.

I’ve Been Charged; What Next?

As soon as you have been charged with aggravated DUI, you need to begin research to help you hire a talented criminal defense attorney who is knowledgeable about DUI. The facts of your arrest and the admissibility of evidence can be critical for the outcome of your case, so you should only hire an attorney with extensive experience related to DUI defense. You may wish to exercise your Fifth Amendment right to stay silent until you have the opportunity to consult directly with your attorney.  Also, as with any DUI, there are often MVD consequences that need to be addressed as soon as possible.  Any action on your privilege to drive can be challenged if a hearing is requested with 15 days.  Any requests made after the initial 15 days are summarily denied without a compelling reason for the delay.

This blog should be used for informational purposes only. It does not create an attorney-client relationship with any reader and should not be construed as legal advice. If you need legal advice, please feel free to contact Mesa Criminal Attorney, Garrett L. Smith at 480-540-6021 log on to, or contact an attorney in your area.