Drunk Driving Facts

Recovering from a drunk driving, DUI, or DWI conviction in your state can be a tedious process. To help recover from the longing effects, you must find a dedicated drunk driving defense attorney.

Recovering from a DUI can be much more difficult if this is your second or multiple offense. Repeat offenders often times suffer steeper fines, longer probation periods, and prolonged license revocation and even jail time. This can make gaining employment, getting professional licenses, acquiring car insurance, getting into certain schools and other life opportunities difficult to acquire (even leaving the country), far into the future.

However, with the assistance of an experienced DUI attorney, you will quickly find yourself back on the road to recovery. Knowledgeable DUI defense lawyers help facilitate DUI recovery which can assist DUI offenders receive a reduction in their sentence for crimes they committed or, in certain situations, have all charges dropped completely.

DUI recovery may also involve legal representation in motor vehicle hearings. This is where restrictions placed on driving privileges are brought forth. With a good attorney, for most court appearances you most likely will not need to attend. Drunk driving defense attorneys can help protect and heighten your interests in both criminal and motor vehicle court proceedings. If you or a loved one want to begin the road to recovery, an experienced DUI defense lawyer is your best option.

A D.U.I. Charge and the Road Ahead

D.U.I. You may have heard this phrase before, but what does it mean? To many, it means a lot of things¬. It could mean the loss of your driver’s license, civil fines or jail time. Its official meaning? Driving under the influence.

Depending on the jurisdiction, this criminal offense may also be referred to as driving while intoxicated (DWI), driving while impaired (also DWI), operating a motor vehicle while intoxicated (OWI) or operating a motor vehicle while intoxicated (OMVI).

DUI charges are usually based on a person’s BAC or blood alcohol concentration and may be determined by the administering of a breath test, blood or urine test (which is usually conducted if drugs are suspected).

What May Happen if You are Pulled Over For Drunk Driving

Here is a likely scenario if you are pulled over and you’ve been drinking:

You hear the police officer(s) footsteps approaching your vehicle as other cars creep by you, slowly gawking. A bright light is shined in your face.
“License, registration and insurance, please,” the officer states. You fumble through card after card trying to find the requested documents. Then the officer asks: “Have you been drinking tonight?”

The police officer(s) may then ask you to step out of your vehicle and perform one of several field sobriety tests or FST’s. These are quick exercises for you, the driver, intended to indicate whether you are in fact intoxicated. This may include simple tasks such as tipping your head back and touching your nose, reciting the alphabet or following a pen with your eyes. All of these examples are very difficult to perform while you are drunk, making them a favorite tool for police officers to use.

If an FST is not performed, the officer(s) is likely to perform a chemical test, which can more accurately indicate sobriety or insobriety. A breathalyzer may be used at the initial traffic stop, or you may be taken back to the station for a blood or urine test.

Knowing the Legal Limit

A person’s BAC is the percentage amount of alcohol found in his or her bloodstream. All 50 states and the District of Columbia have set a BAC limit.

Most states have a legal limit of 0.08 for citizens over age twenty-one. States like Delaware, Minnesota and Colorado allow a BAC limit of 0.10, although Congress has passed a national standard of 0.08 that links highway funds with compliance. Congress’s actions were based on a significant amount of research which indicated that at a BAC of 0.08, the average person’s driving ability is impaired.

Other Alcohol-Related Laws You Need to Know

Handled by state legislation rather than the federal government, D.U.I.-related laws are as different as the punishments themselves. The one thing all states do have in common is that they all have some alcohol-related laws in place. The bottom line: no matter where you live, you can’t get off scot-free for alcohol-related crimes.

All of this is done for the sole purpose of eliminating drunk driving. These laws and their punishments are meant to prevent citizens from getting behind the wheel when they are drunk. The following are some specific examples of alcohol-related laws:

– Minimum drinking age: in any state, it is illegal for a citizen under the age of 21 to consume or purchase alcohol

– Zero tolerance: this law is in place in all states. It makes it illegal for a citizen to have any alcohol in their blood while driving. However, some states set a BAC of 0.01 or 0.02 as the limit so that arrestees cannot argue that cold medicine or another legal source of alcohol put them over the limit.

– Administrative or illegal per se laws: The limit that a state sets to ensure a person’s BAC level does not exceed a specified amount when they have been driving. Many states have set a BAC limit of 0.08. However, the federal government has encouraged states still using the 0.10 limits to switch to the stricter 0.08 maximum.

– Implied consent: This is the notion that citizens arrested for DUI charges must submit to a breath, blood or urine test to determine their BAC. Those who refuse may be subject to license suspension, revocation, and harsher penalties if convicted.

Third-Party Responsibility

Believe it or not, if you’re found to have been drinking and driving, others beside yourself may be subject to punishment. Here are some of the DUI laws referred to as third-party responsibility:

– Happy hour laws: in some states, it is illegal for a bar to discount the price of alcoholic beverages

– Open container laws: many states have recently implemented laws that make it illegal to have an open alcoholic beverage in a vehicle, even if it belongs to a passenger. Backed by the federal government, which encourages all states to enact these laws, open containers must be kept in the trunk or somewhere else where they are inaccessible to the driver and passengers.

– Dram shop laws: liquor stores, restaurants and bars are not allowed to serve citizens who are under the legal drinking age of 21. These businesses are also not allowed to sell alcohol to people who are already intoxicated. Those who sell alcohol to a drunken individual who is then in a DUI accident may be legally liable for any damages.