Aggravating and Mitigating Factors in DWI Cases

Every DWI case has a unique set of facts. In each case, there are often aggravating factors and mitigating factors. Aggravating factors increase the severity of the consequences, while mitigating factors reduce the severity of the consequences.

Aggravating Factors

Grossly Aggravating Factors

Grossly aggravating factors are very serious. The presence of a grossly aggravating factor means being convicted of at least a Level 2 DWI.

  • A prior DWI conviction within the past 7 years
  • A DWI conviction which occurred after the current offense, but before sentencing
  • A previous DWI conviction—which took place in district court—was appealed in superior court, but was withdrawn or remanded back to district court, and there still needs to be a new sentencing hearing
  • Getting arrested for a DWI while driving on a suspended license for a prior DWI offense
  • Serious injury to another person caused by the defendant’s impaired driving
  • Driving impaired with a minor child under the age of 18 years old in the vehicle

Aggravating Factors

  • Driving with an alcohol concentration of .15 percent or gross impairment of the driver’s faculties
  • Driving dangerously or recklessly
  • Negligent driving which led to an accident
  • Driving with a revoked license (even if non-DWI related)
  • Driving at least 30 mph over the posted speed limit
  • Driving by a stopped school bus
  • Speeding while fleeing or attempting to avoid arrest
  • Two or more prior convictions for a traffic violation (non-DWI related) which cost three points
  • One or more prior DWI conviction which happened more than seven years before the current offense

Mitigating Factors

  • Slight impairment of the driver’s faculties resulting solely from alcohol and having a BAC of .09 or less after driving
  • Slight impairment of the driver’s faculties due to alcohol consumption without a chemical analysis
  • Besides driving under the influence, the driving was safe and lawful
  • Besides driving under the influence, the driver has a safe driving record or hasn’t been convicted of an offense worth at least four points
  • Driving under the influence of a prescribed medication, according to the right dosage
  • Voluntarily submitting to a mental health facility for assessment after a DWI charge
  • Completing a substance abuse evaluation, complying with recommendations, and abstaining from alcohol for 60 days according to the continuous alcohol monitoring (CAM) system