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All about Drunk Driving Charges

Standard Analysis of Driving While Intoxicated Statutes:

Driving under the influence, (DUI), is a criminal offense in all the states. Driving under the influence is defined as driving a car while you are intoxicated under the effect of alcohol, chemicals, and/or a controlled substance. This situation is composed of drugs for which you have a good prescribed medication, and quite often can even include over the counter remedies such as cough syrup. Something that impedes a person's driving a car has the potential to put someone in jeopardy for car incidents, and Driving while intoxicated laws and regulations attempt to increase community safety by discouraging regular people from driving a motor vehicle while intoxicated through criminalizing such activity. The quantity of liquor or other chemical substances that is in a person's blood stream before they are considered to be over the authorized cap can vary from state to state.

Ultimately, the simplest strategy to prevent a DUI charge is to under no circumstances drive your car with any quantity of alcohol or other thought process changing substance in your body. In many states, even being in your auto in the driver's seat can be considered to be "operating a motor vehicle" for the considerations of the statute and can lead to an arrest. Driving under the influence laws are put together so that if your blood alcohol content (BAC) is above a specific amount you are instantly observed to have violated the regulation. Added fees and penalties may apply if your BAC is steeper than the legal limit.

While DUI rules vary from state to state, all states have DWI rules which will, at the minimum, fine motorists who violate these legal guidelines and suspend their driver's license for a period of time. Most states will also sentence guys and women convicted of Driving Under the Influence charges, even their first time, to a period in jail. For subsequent violations, harsher punishments are prescribed. In some states, harsher punishments are also meted out where a person's BAC was over a certain amount. Punishment for drunk driving charges may include monetary fines, mandated attendance at a Driving while intoxicated program (which can last for months), jail time, prison time, suspension or revocation of driving privileges, and installation of a device on the ignition of one's car (called a ignition interlock device) that requires the driver to blow below a certain BAC amount before the car will turn on. Some states will also require a person who has been convicted of a Driving while intoxicated to have a special license plate on their car indicating their history. All of these punishments are aimed at preventing and lessening the incidence of driving while impaired.

If you are busted for a DWI, you will definitely have to come to terms with repercussions both in criminal court and with the department of motor vehicles. A trial with the department of motor vehicles is often necessary, inside a particular time frame right after criminal arrest, if you need to be certain that your license is not revoked. A skilled DWI attorney can support you with the process both in criminal court and with the department of motor vehicles to be sure that you retain your driving privileges. Even if your license is suspended, it is quite often possible to work out a limited license that will allow for you to travel to and from work. A DUI indictment on your driving record may also cause your premiums to rise.

What Happens During a Driving while intoxicated Investigation:

In order to conduct a Drunk driving investigation of a particular driver, the police officer must have a reasonable suspicion of intoxication. In order to acquire a reasonable suspicion of intoxication, the officer must directly interact with the driver. This can happen in a few different ways. For example, if an officer is called to the scene of a traffic accident, they will be checking just about every driver over for any outward signs of liquor impairment. A Drunk driving investigation might also begin after a driver has been observed by the officer to be driving a vehicle erratically or committing repeated traffic infractions, which will lead the officer to pull the driver over and do a quick check to see if they believe the person is intoxicated. More and more of cities will also set up check points on roads, especially on weekends in entertainment districts or on nights such as New Year's Eve where guys and women typically drink alcohol. These check points require all people on the road to stop and submit to minor questioning from the police officer about their activities that evening and whether they have had anything to drink. An attempt to avoid one of these check points by driving through it or by turning around will often lead to the driver being stopped and the Driving under the influence investigation commencing at once as the avoidance of the check point provides reasonable suspicion.

Once the Drunk driving investigation has begun, the officer will be looking for obvious signs that the person is under the influence. This includes things like the smell of liquor on the driver's breath and/or person, blood shot eyes, slurred speech, or fumbling to get their driver's license. Sometimes the driver will admit to drinking or the officer will observe opened or empty containers of alcohol in the car. If the officer has a legally cognizable reasonable suspicion of intoxication, they can ask the driver to step out of the car for further investigation.

The police officer will then ask the car owner to complete possibly a field sobriety examination (for example standing on one foot, or following the officer's pen with one's eyes) and/or a breathalyzer test. Both of these tests are extremely dubious, as there is much evidence that they do not effectively find intoxication (the field sobriety test) and that they frequently present wrongly recognized readings (the breathalyzer test). A driver has the right to decline either or both of these tests, but in many states the refusal to submit to such tests after a DUI investigation has started provides the policeman automatic probable cause to charge the car owner and take them to the police station for additional study.

If after conducting such tests (or having such tests refused) the officer has enough evidence to support probable cause to arrest, the driver will be handcuffed and taken into custody. At the police station, the driver will be asked to undergo further test (such as another breathalyzer test, a blood test, or a urine test). Again, the driver has the right to refuse such tests but their refusal will automatically lead to their being arrested for Driving under the influence. If the driver does submit to these tests and the results of the tests show a BAC over a certain amount, they may then be charged with operating a vehicle over the legal limit in addition to the DWI charge.

Refusing to undergo testing, in most states, can also lead to increased penalties and can be used against the driver in court as an admission of guilt.

If the driver submits to tests which come back showing they are not over the limit, they might simply be released without being charged. If they do not submit to the tests, or if the tests show that they are legally impaired, they will most likely be held until they are deemed sober enough to drive whereupon they will sometimes be released on bail or on their own recognizance and given a court date where they must return for arraignment.

How a DWI Lawyer Can Help You if You Have Been Charged with a DUI

As stated above, the penalties for Drunk driving charges can be very harsh and can have consequences for years. It is possible to fight a Driving under the influence charge, but this is a difficult and complicated area of law involving complicated legal and issues and scientific testing. It is a difficult arena to navigate on your own, especially where the police and prosecutors are experienced in proving Driving under the influence cases.

Having an attorney who specializes in Drunk driving criminal defense work can help you protect your rights. While the expense for such an attorney may seem high, it is important to consider the expenses of a Drunk driving conviction itself. Higher insurance premiums and fines and court fees may eat up your savings quickly. Suspension of your driver's license or jail time may make it difficult for you to keep your job. In addition, some jobs may be impossible to maintain if you have a DWI conviction on your record. An experienced Driving under the influence attorney who can help often fight the charges or a minimum mitigate the consequences is a very reasonable expense to help you move on with your life.