Drunk Driving (DUI, DWI) is one of the most common charges prosecuted in criminal courts.
It is also a charge that nearly anyone can be arrested for with just a little bad luck. Have a drink or two at a party? Spill some alcohol on your clothing? You will smell like alcohol and will immediately be a suspect. Do you have a bad back, back knees, bad feet, or are overweight? You will probably fail the so called “field sobriety tests” at the side of the road.
And the next thing you know, you’re in handcuffs and on your way to jail.
This happens every day. It’s a symptom of a system where the police essentially arrest everyone who might be even slightly suspected of being a drunk driver.
What is Drunk Driving?
Every state has adopted a .08% Blood Alcohol Content (BAC) law. If you are over this limit, you are considered impaired, and this alone is frequently enough evidence to find you guilty of drunk driving. A small woman can reach a BAC of .08% in as little as two drinks.
You can even be arrested, charged, and convicted of a DUI if you blow less than a .08%. Every state has some discretion on what it means to be driving while impaired.
Drunk Driving Penalties
The drunk driving penalties you face are too complex and varied across different states to list here. But it is a good bet that if you are convicted of drunk driving, you can expect:
- Driver’s license loss / license suspension, from months to years
- Thousands of dollars in fines, fees, and increased insurance premiums
- Possible ignition interlock device requirement on you car
- Possible jail time. Much more likely if you are facing a second or subsequent offense
In most states, a third offense drunk driving conviction is a felony charge, and most have mandatory jail time. You can face a felony drunk driving offense for registering a very high BAC level, or other circumstances.
Driving Under the Influence (DUI) of Drugs
You can be arrested, charged, and convicted of driving under the influence of something other than just alcohol, such as drugs. If you are impaired by drugs, either illegal drugs or legal drugs, even your own prescription, that is against the law.
However, proving a DUI drugs case can be much more complicated than a typical drunk driving case. For one thing, there is no “breathalyzer” test for drugs. The evidence for drug impairment is almost always based on the officer’s witness testimony, and can be challenged.
Another issue is that not all drugs that might conceivably impair your ability to drive are actually illegal to take while driving. This gets a little complicated, but depending on your state laws, a lot of drugs that might make you dizzy or reduce coordination aren’t in the DUI statues, and therefore, it’s not technically against the law.
Finally, there are often other legal remedies in a DUI drugs case. Because they are harder to prove, and it is perhaps less likely to be due to a chronic substance abuse problem, especially if it is a new prescription or unique situation, judges may be willing to work with you on avoiding criminal penalties.
It is worth discussing with a lawyer how he or she may have beating a DUI drugs charge before.
Drunk Driving Defense
Can I beat a drunk driving charge?
Yes. There are nearly always possible defenses in drunk driving case. A smart and experienced DUI lawyer will challenge all the evidence against you: breathalyzer results, field sobriety test results, officer and witness testimony, and more.
Experienced Criminal Lawyers
With technical evidence that can include breath test machines, complex defenses that include the rising BAC defense, and the need to carefully cross examine a police officer on the stand, you know you need the most experienced DUI defense lawyer you can get.
Get a consultation with a DUI defense attorney, and ask exactly how many cases he or she fights, and how many cases result in dismissals or not guilty verdicts.
You freedom, and your right to drive are on the line.