Drunk Driving Laws

The Consequences of a DWI Conviction

Posted By on Jan 3, 2017

An impaired or drunk-driving offense is referred to (in some states) as either driving while intoxicated (DWI) or driving under the influence (DUI). However, in states where both acronyms are used, DWI means intoxication due to alcohol, while DUI means being under the influence either or alcohol or prohibited drugs.

In all U.S. states, driving with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) level of 0.08% or higher is a crime. First offenders are usually charged with a misdemeanor, granted that no one was injured or killed while driving under the influence. In such case (killing or injuring someone), plus if the BAC level is higher than 0.08% or if the offense is the third or fourth violation, the charge would be raised to something more serious: DWI felony or DUI felony.

In alcohol-impaired driving cases, drivers suspected of driving while intoxicated are pulled over by police officers and asked to take a breath-screening test, also known as the Alco-Sensor test – the purpose of which is to simply determine the possible presence of alcohol in the driver’s breath. A positive result can lead to an arrest and once the driver has been taken to the precinct, he/she will be required to undergo a second test, which is a chemical test of the saliva, urine, blood and/or breath (using an instrument like the AlcoTest, Intoxilyzer, DataMaster or Breathalyzer) to determine his/her BAC level. Refusal or failure to submit to this second test can result to revocation or suspension of his/her license – this is based on administrative license suspension laws from the state’s Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV). (Submitting oneself to a chemical test, if suspected of driving while intoxicated, is one of the conditions of licensure as stipulated by the DMV. Thus, a license implies that a driver has implicitly consented to the chemical test required by DMV). Administrative license suspension laws are observed in the District of Columbia and in 41 other U.S. states.

If convicted of DWI or DUI, a driver may also be required to have an ignition interlock device (IID) installed in his/her vehicle. The IID is wired to a vehicle’s ignition; it will require the driver’s breath sample and will only allow the engine to start if no alcohol is detected in the driver’s breath. The device also requires periodic breath tests (while the vehicle is being driven) to make sure that the driver is continuously free from the influence of alcohol.

Furthermore, the court may require DUI or DWI offenders to fill out an SR-22 or Certificate of Financial Responsibility (CFR) form (also known as FR-44 in some states) to enable them to enjoy their driving privileges again. This requirement usually lasts for three years and one effect of this is higher vehicle liability insurance premiums.

Any person charged with DWI will need strong legal representation that will help him/her avoid unwanted penalties and which will save him/her from the harsh effects of a criminal conviction.

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Choosing a DUI Lawyer

Posted By on Apr 2, 2014

Just like with any job that needs to be professionally done, when you are facing a driving under the influence of intoxicants charge, you need to choose a lawyer practicing in the area with the experience and knowledge of DUI laws. It is also important that the DUI lawyer you choose has a good track record of success in mounting an effective defense leading to a dismissal of the charges.

DUI laws have become significantly stringent in most states, especially in states where drunk driving fatalities have earned it the dubious honor of leading the pack. It has spurred legislators to impose measures such as increasing the legal drinking age in the state to 21, and pressuring law enforcement to be especially vigilant in spotting potential threats to public safety. It has come to a point that even if a suspect tests negative for intoxicants in both breath and blood tests, it may still lead to an arrest if in the opinion of the police officer the driver may be impaired.

While this zealousness may be laudable, it can be taken too far. Navigating the justice system is not only complex, it is expensive, and the average citizen can find it overwhelming and stressful. If the DUI charges are unwarranted, or if there was an error made in the process, it would still take a competent DUI attorney such as Ian Inglis to unravel the mess with the least fuss and muss possible. While it is in the best interests of the defendant to get legal representation immediately, success will still depend on the quality of the lawyer. When choosing a criminal or DUI lawyer, go with one from an established law firm in the area that exhibits the aggressiveness needed to get the job done right.

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