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aggravated DUI/DWI

An Aggravated DUI, DWI, OUI, or OWI (driving under the influence, driving while intoxicated, operating under the influence, or operating while intoxicated) is the criminal offense of DUI/DWI/OUI/OWI—with additional aggravating circumstances that enhance or make the offense a greater crime—resulting in greater potential punishments.

Aggravating circumstances that may result in an Aggravated DUI/DWI/OUI/OWI charge include (1) a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) that is significantly higher than the legal limit; (2) an accident in which a person is injured or killed, or in which there is property damage; (3) a minor child in the car being transported by the alleged intoxicated driver; (4) driving 20 mph or more over the speed limit; (5) the driver is under the legal age for drinking (generally 21); (6) refusing to submit to a chemical test of blood, breath, or urine; and (7) prior convictions for DUI/DWI/OUI/OWI.

Laws regarding the definitions and names of alcohol and drug-related driving offenses—including the consideration and definitions of aggravating circumstances—vary from state to state and are usually located in a state’s statutes—often in the penal code or criminal code.

In Texas, an Aggravated DUI/DWI, known as Driving While Intoxicated (DWI) with additional aggravating factors, can lead to more severe penalties than a standard DWI. Texas law considers a DWI offense aggravated if the driver's blood alcohol concentration (BAC) is 0.15% or more, which is nearly twice the legal limit of 0.08%. Other aggravating circumstances include causing an accident that results in serious bodily injury or death (intoxication assault or manslaughter), having a passenger under 15 years old in the vehicle, driving significantly over the speed limit, or having prior DWI convictions. Refusing to submit to a chemical test can lead to automatic license suspension under Texas's implied consent laws. Penalties for aggravated DWI in Texas may include longer jail sentences, higher fines, longer license suspension periods, mandatory ignition interlock devices, and additional charges such as child endangerment if a minor is present in the vehicle. Specific details and penalties are outlined in the Texas Penal Code and the Texas Transportation Code.

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