How Aggravating Factors Can Affect Your DUI/OWI Case

How Aggravating Factors Can Affect Your DUI/OWI CaseWhen facing a DUI or OWI charge, the complexity of the case can often be compounded by the presence of aggravating factors. These factors, like prior convictions or causing an accident, can escalate the severity of the charges and result in harsher penalties.

The legal landscape surrounding these cases can be difficult to navigate without a thorough understanding of what constitutes an aggravating factor and how it can potentially impact your case. In this article, we delve into the intricacies of aggravating factors in DUI/OWI cases, providing you with essential insights that can influence your defense strategy.


  1. Understanding Aggravating Factors
  2. Importance of Legal Representation
  3. Mitigating Factors and Their Impact on Your Case
  4. Strategic Defense Against Aggravating Factors
  5. Finding the Right Attorney for Your DUI/OWI Case

1. Understanding Aggravating Factors

Aggravating factors in DUI or OWI cases can significantly escalate the severity of the charges and resulting penalties. These factors include:

  • Prior convictions: Having previous DUI offenses can significantly increase the penalties for a current DUI charge.
  • High Blood Alcohol Concentration: A Blood Alcohol Content significantly above the legal limit can be an aggravating factor.
  • Reckless driving or excessive speeding: Driving behavior that shows a disregard for the safety of others can be considered aggravating.
  • Driving on a suspended license: Operating a vehicle without a license because it is suspended or revoked is often considered an aggravating factor.
  • Causing an accident: If a DUI results in an accident, especially one causing injury or property damage, this can be an aggravating factor.
  • Having children in the car at the time of the offense: This can be seen as exposing minors to danger.

A standard first OWI is typically classified as a misdemeanor. However, the presence of aggravating factors has the potential to elevate a DUI to a felony charge. Understanding these factors is crucial as they can influence the legal process, decision-making, and the severity of penalties, potentially leading to time in state prison.

2. Importance of Legal Representation

Legal representation plays a pivotal role in DUI/OWI cases, particularly when aggravating factors are involved. A skilled legal representative not only defends their client in court proceedings but also assists them in understanding the complexities of the case.

They can guide you through the legal process, helping to ensure your right to a fair trial. With their expertise, they can navigate the intricacies of aggravating factors, potentially mitigating their impact on your case.

Additionally, having legal representation increases the likelihood of succeeding in defending against charges. Whether it’s negotiating settlements or filing court documents, the importance of legal representation cannot be overstated in such critical situations.

3. Mitigating Factors and Their Impact on Your Case

Just as aggravating factors can intensify your DUI/OWI case, mitigating factors have the potential to lessen the severity of the charges and penalties you face. These factors often serve as evidence that the offense was out of character or that there are circumstances that warrant a more lenient sentence.

Mitigating factors in a DUI/OWI case might include:

  • No previous DUI convictions: A clean record with no prior DUI offenses is often considered a mitigating factor.
  • Good behavior during the arrest: Compliance with law enforcement officers during the arrest procedure can be seen favorably.
  • Low Blood Alcohol Concentration (BAC): A BAC at or just above the legal limit might be considered a mitigating factor.
  • Slight impairment: If you were not significantly impaired at the time of arrest, it could be used as a mitigating factor.
  • The defendant’s driving conduct: If your driving was not reckless and did not cause an accident, this could be taken into consideration.
  • Completion of an alcohol or drug education program: Voluntarily enrolling in and completing such a program can demonstrate remorse and commitment to change.

The presence of these factors could potentially result in reduced charges, lesser penalties, or even dismissal of the case in some instances. Therefore, it’s crucial to work with your legal counsel to highlight any mitigating factors that may be applicable to your case.

4. Strategic Defense Against Aggravating Factors

Strategic defense is critical when dealing with aggravating factors in a DUI/OWI case. A seasoned criminal defense lawyer can employ various strategies to challenge the prosecution’s case and mitigate the impact of these factors on your sentence.

For instance, they might question the validity of the breathalyzer test, argue for the inadmissibility of certain evidence, or challenge the legality of the traffic stop itself. They may also present evidence of mitigating factors to counterbalance the aggravating elements.

Additionally, your DUI attorney can negotiate plea bargains or alternative sentencing options that could potentially reduce the severity of the penalties you face. Overall, a strategic defense can significantly influence the outcome of your case, making it crucial to have an experienced drunk driving lawyer by your side.

5. Finding the Right Attorney for Your DUI/OWI Case

Impact of Aggravating Factors on Your DUI CaseWhen facing a DUI or OWI charge, finding the right attorney is crucial. Look for an attorney with experience in handling DUI/OWI cases and a track record of success in navigating cases involving aggravating factors.

It’s also essential to find an attorney who is knowledgeable about state laws and familiar with local court procedures. There are many benefits to hiring a local attorney, like how they can provide valuable insights on how specific courts and judges handle OWI cases, potentially influencing the defense strategy they employ in your case. Additionally, a local OWI attorney can also provide consistent communication and support throughout the legal process.

Fenton Law is a Milwaukee criminal defense attorney who will fight for  you and your rights. Our team of experienced attorneys has a deep understanding of the intricacies of DUI/OWI cases, including the impact of aggravating factors. We will work tirelessly to defend your case and protect your future. Contact us today for a consultation and let us help you navigate this challenging legal landscape with confidence.

By Attorney Jay Fenton, Owner of Fenton Law Office

Jay Fenton is a top-rated criminal defense attorney in Milwaukee who goes above and beyond for his clients. He has successfully secured favorable outcomes in countless cases, from negotiating plea agreements to filing pre-trial motions and managing complex appeals. Attorney Fenton also has had tremendous success achieving not-guilty verdicts at trial. His dedication and aggressiveness make him one of the best attorneys around.