Simple, Aggravated, and Per Se DUIs

You may have heard that there are actually three different types of DUIs. If you are like most people, this may be surprising. Most people do not really understand the differences, although this is very important information to have. Understanding how the DUI laws work could help you avoid being accused of driving while impaired. This guide will explain the differences between the types of DUIs.

The Different Types of DUIs

The three types of DUIs are:

  • Simple DUI
  • Aggravated DUI
  • Per Se DUI

There are actually two different laws in place that govern driving while intoxicated. Simple and aggravated DUIs use the first law, while per se DUIs use the second law. The requirements to be arrested vary, so it is important to understand what is and is not illegal.

Simple and Aggravated DUI

Simple and aggravated DUIs are essentially just two charges for different levels of severity of the wrongdoing. It is only possible to receive an aggravated DUI in certain states. For example, in one state, a DUI might be upgraded to an aggravated DUI if the driver was going more than 30 miles over the speed limit. Both aggravated and simple DUIs result when driving with a blood alcohol content level at or exceeding 0.08. This is the legal limit.

Per Se DUI

The second DUI law does not mention blood alcohol content level at all. Instead, it states that it is illegal to drive while impaired to the point where driving safely is impossible. As you probably noticed immediately, this is a subjective matter. This is an intentional design decision, allowing this second law to cover all the cases that the first law does not. Alcohol affects different people differently. It is possible to have a blood alcohol content level below 0.08, but still be too drunk to drive safely. Additionally, this law makes it possible to be arrested while high, which obviously does not affect blood alcohol content. It is up to the police officer to decide whether the behavior of the driver counts as being too impaired to drive safely.

If you are arrested in this kind of situation, you will receive a per se DUI, instead of a simple or aggravated DUI. This is the reason why most people receive two DUI charges when arrested. Most of the time, the state will try to convict drunk drivers under both laws to double the chances of convicting. These laws can be confusing, so if you have any questions, consider speaking with a lawyer, like a criminal lawyer from Rispoli & Borneo, P.C.