Aggravated DUI is heavier offense

27th Fighter Wing legal office

When people drink and drive, they lose.
Most individuals have heard this warning about the consequences of drinking and driving. Most also know that an alcohol level of .08 or higher is automatically considered driving under the influence (DUI). But what if someone refuses to blow into the breathalyzer machine? It may seem like it would be more difficult to prove a DUI if there is no alcohol measurement. However, the reality is that it is easier to prove and the refusal to blow turns it into a more serious offense — an aggravated DUI.
In New Mexico, a DUI becomes a more serious “aggravated DUI” when the individual refuses to submit to chemical testing, has an alcohol level of .16 or higher or causes injury while driving drunk. The penalties are significant for any DUI, but even more severe for an aggravated DUI.
For a non-aggravated, first time DUI, the penalties may include up to 90 days in jail, a $500 fine, 24 to 48 hours of community service, mandatory participation in a screening program, or “driving while intoxicated (DWI) school,” various associated fees and mandatory installation of an ignition interlock device for one year. The ignition interlock device prevents a vehicle from starting unless the driver passes a breathalyzer test at the offender’s expense.
In addition to these penalties, an aggravated DUI brings with it 48 hours of mandatory jail time, with additional mandatory jail time if the offender fails to comply with the other penalties. Insurance rates are also likely to rise substantially for any DUI.
For Airmen, there are additional consequences, which may include court-martial or Article 15 nonjudicial punishment, generally only if civilian authorities relinquish jurisdiction, letters of reprimand, administrative demotion, red-lining of projected promotions and adverse performance reports.
There is no question about it. When people drink and drive, they lose. And by refusing to submit to a breathalyzer, they lose even more.