Many states have started to impose harsher penalties on drivers arrested for and convicted of drunk driving. Of course any DUI charge is serious, but many states allow for significantly higher consequences in the case of an “extreme DUI.” Extreme DUIs are generally defined as those where the measured BAC level exceeds the legal limit considerably.
What is an Extreme DUI?
When a law enforcement officer pulls a driver over under suspicion of driving drunk, he or she has the right to subject the driver to a field or breathalyzer test to measure the driver’s blood alcohol concentration, or BAC. Every state and the District of Columbia considers 0.08 to be the limit, and anyone registering over that number is automatically arrested and charged with a DUI.
Many states also practice a “zero tolerance” law that requires underage drivers to not exceed somewhere between 0.00 and 0.02 BAC levels when taking one of these tests. An extreme DUI charge may result when the driver’s BAC is measured to be considerably over 0.08, or typically between 0.15 and 0.20.
States that Charge Extreme DUIs
DUI laws are constantly changing, and the list of states that allow extreme DUI charges is continually growing. Currently, 39 states and the District of Columbia impose harsher penalties and sentences for anyone convicted of an extreme DUI. These states include:
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Penalties and Consequences of an Extreme DUI
If convicted of an extreme DUI, penalties typically are much harsher for the driver when compared to a normal DUI conviction. The following consequences are typically part of an extreme DUI sentence:
- Additional jail time
- Higher fines
- Higher court costs
- Longer probationary periods
- Additional required classes
- Harsher driver’s license sanctions
It’s important to remember that extreme DUIs can apply even in first-time offender cases. A driver generally needs only to exceed the BAC threshold for their state to qualify for an extreme DUI charge.
Every state is different when it comes to its written laws and possible penalties regarding extreme DUIs. If you’ve been charged with an extreme DUI, it’s important to immediately seek the help of a local DUI attorney familiar with these laws. Your attorney can help you to navigate the legal process and possibly reduce the charges against you and long-term penalties you’ll be facing.