Aggravated DWI: What it Means & What it Could Cost You

Quinn: 1800LAW1010, Paul Harding, everybody.

Cantara: Hey, Paul, how are ya?

Paul: Hey, good morning, guys. It’s been a while.

Quinn: Yeah, and [inaudible 00:00:09] so.

Cantara: Yeah. We got some news about a regular listener to the program. We don’t wanna use his real name. We’re just gonna call him Mandy.

Quinn: Oh, you’re calling him Mandy? Okay.

Cantara: We’ll call him Mandy. But he was busted over the holiday week for driving while intoxicated, and it’s Aggravated Driving While Intoxicated. What is that, Paul?

Quinn: Yeah, right.

Paul: Well, you can graduate to that. It’s something you don’t want to achieve, but you can get that two ways. You can get that by having a blood alcohol content of beyond .18. So if you have a blood alcohol content of .19 or greater, you have an Aggravated DWI…

Quinn: [inaudible 00:00:43] UI.

Paul: …which means, generally, you’re not gonna get your charge reduced out of the alcohol-related category. Or if you have a minor in the car and you’re driving, then you also have an Aggravated DWI.

Cantara: It was good attorneying, Paul, because he had a .19…

Quinn: I mean, that’s perfect, right?

Cantara: …and that makes it…

Paul: Oh.

Cantara: It automatically makes it Aggravated.

Quinn: Yeah. There’s not a person on the planet who would let a child in a car with this guy either. It’s just a sad reference. And how much money is it gonna cost? Well, forget about the fact that he had to get his car taken away and his license taken away or whatever. How much money is he gonna have to pay in fines?

Paul: Sure. So, you know, the fines are well over $1000, somewhere between $1000 and $1500, you know. Attorney’s fees is gonna cost even more than that, you know, because you’re gonna get a lawyer, which is probably some version of, you know, $1500 to $2500. But the real issue’s gonna get you two ways. One is you’re gonna lose your license for a long time, up to 18 months. There’s always that chance that some judge could put you in jail for a few days just to kinda sober you up, literally just to get a sense of what life could be like if you do this again. And then we have our insurance companies. They’re gonna make you pay for years upon years.

Quinn: Right.

Cantara: All right. So…

Quinn: Especially for a second DWI aggravated.

Cantara: So if you have one Aggravated DWI, you can you lose your license for 18 months. What if you have a prior DWI?

Quinn: Which he did.

Paul: Right. Right. So he did. So, you know, at this point, within 10 years is the key. So if you have a DWI, which normally means he probably had an AI reduced, then you had a DWI, then you got what I’ll call your third alcohol-related offense, but within 10 years, yes, that can make it into what they call a felony DWI. At that point, the fines can be as high as $2500, and everything is just ramped up. And there’s a greater likelihood of doing some jail time.

Quinn: How much money would it cost you to drink yourself to a .19, Cantara?

Cantara: Oh, I don’t know. I don’t know.

Quinn: Probably 20, 30 bucks, right? There you go.

Paul: Well, it depends where you are, right? You know…

Quinn: I’m just trying to make that, you know, the example.

Cantara: I mean, I don’t even know what a point…

Quinn: I mean, I hope this person learns the lesson before a third time, you know. I mean, what are you doing?

Paul: Well, if you get stuck into that a third time, they start having these mandatory victim impact panels where you’re gonna go and you’re gonna watch what happened to victims. And, you know, it…there’s bad luck. Anybody could be in the lottery for catching one, right? You know, probably virtually everyone who…

Quinn: Dinner with their wife, a couple of glasses of wine.

Paul: …drinks alcohol is…

Cantara: You just have to be… In this day and age, there’s no excuse. With Lyft and Uber and…

Paul: Correct.

Cantara: There’s no excuse for this ever.

Quinn: Yeah. That’s why the fines are so big.

Cantara: Well, one more question, Paul. Could he ever refuse to take the test?

Paul: You can. It’s an automatic suspension of your license whether you were drinking or not. You have an absolute obligation. To get your license, it says, “If a police officer asked me to take a sobriety test, I will do that.” So if you don’t take that test, you’re automatically… And then they can still charge you for DWI. So it’s always an option, not necessarily a good one, unless, you know, if you are…

Quinn: Loaded.

Paul: …you know, a big… Yeah.

Quinn: Meaning rich.

Paul: You know, and that becomes a… Right.

Cantara: I mean, I know too many people that have been affected by drunk drivers. I just won’t do it. Have a pint, have two, call a cab. It’s pretty simple stuff.

Quinn: It’s amazing. It’s amazing, yeah. And, you know, I’m so lucky I didn’t get, you know, pulled over in my years.

Cantara: [inaudible 00:04:10] guy.

Quinn: I just cannot believe it. So…

Cantara: And there’s no good outcome here. I mean, this guy’s kind of screwed, at least financially, for a while.

Paul: Yeah. I mean, financially. And you’re in a situation where, you know, there just becomes a bit of a public component to it. You know, often you make the newspaper in ways you don’t want to and, you know, it’s just sort of a downward spiral. But the theme is that things have gotten better on that front significantly over the past 15 years because of these different options out there, awareness, getting Lyft…

Quinn: Oh, there you go. That’s good to know.

Paul: …you know. So things are getting better, but it’s certainly not an eliminated problem.

Quinn: You hear that, Mandy? Be a part of the solution, not a part of the problem.

Cantara: And I will say this because Paul’s a humble guy, but Martin, Harding & Mazzotti do this throughout the year at different times. But you guys offer free cab rides home. You guys have been doing that for years. Right, Paul?

Paul: We are, every single holiday, [inaudible 00:04:59] on Super Bowl Sunday this year. You just call 1800LAW1010, we can get you home for free. Home, not to the next bar. So if you have it in mind, people, yeah. But we’re just gonna get you home. And, you know, we hope that that’s helped the issue, too. And we’re gonna start working hopefully with the folks at Uber and Lyft. We haven’t figured out how to do that, but we know that that’s the next step here.

Quinn: Well, that’s a great idea.

Cantara: I like that idea.

Quinn: Well, and all the information, as far as those holidays, are on Paul’s website, Martin, Harding & Mazzotti. It’s You can call him, too, 1800LAW1010. Right there. You can call him right now. Why not ask him?

Cantara: Thanks, Paul. We appreciate your time this morning.