In September 2014, Lexington firefighter Jarrad McCargo backed his car into a pub and struck a pedestrian before driving off. Now McCargo may be facing serious consequences. He finds himself not only charged with DUI but also with leaving the scene of an accident, first-degree assault, and driving without insurance. Unbeknownst to the Lexington Fire Department, at the time of the crash McCargo also had an outstanding warrant issued against him in Georgia for another DUI charge.
DUI Crashes Can Result in Multiple Charges and Consecutive Sentences
As McCargo’s example illustrates, drivers who are found to be under the influence after a crash may find that the DUI charge is but one of many criminal charges they face. If convicted of multiple charges, the court usually has the discretion to order that the sentences for the multiple charges run either concurrent with one another or consecutive to one another. Concurrent sentences mean that the sentences for the multiple offenses all run at the same time; consecutive means the sentences run one after the other.
Consider a simple example: McCargo is convicted of assault and DUI. He is given a six-month jail sentence for each charge. If these sentences run concurrent with one another, he will only face one jail term lasting six months. If the sentences run consecutive, however, he will face a total of twelve months in jail.
“Aggravated Circumstances” and Minimum Sentences
Not only this, but under Kentucky law the presence of any one of six “aggravated circumstances” increases the minimum penalties that much be imposed by law. Specifically, the minimum jail time that must be imposed is doubled whenever aggravated circumstances are present in a case. These circumstances include when the DUI driver:
- Speeds over 30 mph over the speed limit;
- Travels the wrong way on a limited access highway;
- Causes an accident that results in either death or serious physical injury (which may be a factor in McCargo’s case);
- Has an alcohol concentration level of 0.15 or more within 2 hours of driving;
- Refuses to submit to testing; or
- Is transporting a passenger under 12 years of age.
When sentencing a DUI offender, the law prescribes minimum sentences that must be imposed. But the court can sentence a DUI driver to penalties that are more severe than the minimum sentence if the court believes such a sentence is warranted under the facts of the case. Factors such as the extent of the injury caused, the wishes of the victim, the criminal record of the driver, and the driver’s ability to be rehabilitated through counseling and other programs can all factor into a sentencing decision.
Contact Us for Help with Aggravated Circumstances DUI
A DUI with aggravated circumstances presents a threat to the driver’s license and, in some cases, very livelihood. At Suhre & Associates, LLC, we will fight the evidence supporting the “aggravated circumstance” but also the evidence supporting the DUI itself. Often we can obtain a “not guilty” verdict or reduce the seriousness of the charges. We can even help drivers put their “best foot forward” at sentencing and obtain a favorable sentence.