A DUI charge is serious enough. It can be even worse when additional factors come into play. These factors are called aggravating circumstances and they can include anything from past DUI convictions to child endangerment. Any extra component that shows police that you were being negligent can be used against you in your DUI case. The problem with aggravating factors is that they are extra evidence against you because the prosecution can imply that your actions demonstrated your impairment or disregard for safety. If you were speeding or caused an accident, it will be hard for you to argue that your ability to drive was not altered by the alcohol in your system.
In some extreme cases, many of these factors can be combined to lead to very serious charges. For example, a Searsport man was arrested for OUI and a number of charges when police responded to a domestic violence call in time to see the suspect speed away in his vehicle. In an article in Bangor Daily News, Sargent. Brian Lunt of the Belfast Police Department recalls:
The driver continued on Back Searsport Road, and just before passing Andy's Auto, hit a dirt embankment. After the vehicle came to a stop, the male driver fled on foot into the woods, Lunt said, adding that he was unable to share more details about the man's alleged intoxication beyond the eventual criminal charge of aggravated operating under the influence.
Police found a 2-month-old infant and a woman in the vehicle. Both were uninjured after their wild ride, Lunt said.
After leading police on a car chase, he was finally apprehended and taken into police custody. In addition to evading arrest, he was also under the influence, excessively speeding, driving on a suspended license, endangering a minor that was in the vehicle and caused an accident.
This case is a prime example of why aggravated OUI laws exist. It can be argued that the driver had little regard for the safety of other people on the road and the minor in the vehicle. Maine OUI laws call for more license suspension periods if aggravating factors like the presence of a minor are involved during an arrest. The suspect will likely face steep penalties because, even if his attorney can argue against some of the charges, crimes like child endangerment are often harder for lawyers to defend.