Drunk driving offenses are the most frequently committed crimes in our nation, killing someone every thirty minutes. Drunk driving offenses kill more than 17,000 and injure 500,000 people each year on our nation’s roadways. Approximately forty-one percent of all motor vehicle accidents involve alcohol. The majority of US citizens consider drunk driving a significant threat to the safety and well being of society. Approximately three of every ten people in the United States will be involved in a drunk driving incident at some point in their lives.
Drunk driving offenses are charged as felonies or misdemeanors depending on the circumstances involved. The specific crime that is committed in drunk driving offenses is known as a DUI or DWI. A DUI is driving under the influence and a DWI is driving while intoxicated. Each state creates and implements its own laws governing drunk driving offenses.
In all states, it is a crime to drive with a 0.08 or greater blood alcohol concentration or BAC. Under zero-tolerance laws, it is unlawful for a minor (under the age of 21) to operate a motor vehicle under the influence of any amount of alcohol or drugs, regardless of whether or not they are deemed legally impaired.
Drunk driving offenses receive a much harsher punishment if a person has a prior drunk driving conviction. Harsher penalties for drunk driving offenses are also applicable in situations where a driver refused to submit to chemical testing, had a relatively high blood alcohol concentration, caused injuries or damage in a drunk driving accident, or any number of other compounding factors.
Punishments for drunk driving offenses depend on the state and circumstances under which the DUI occurred. The criminal penalties for drunk driving offenses can include jail time, probation, fines, restitution, mandatory drug/alcohol program attendance, DUI school, and more. The department of motor vehicles also punishes people with drunk driving offenses. The department of motor vehicles may suspend, restrict or revoke a person’s driver’s license. Repeat drunk driving offenses may lead to the seizure of a person’s vehicle.
Drunk driving offenses are reported on a person’s criminal record permanently and on the department of motor vehicle records for years. This can have a negative effect on the person seeking insurance, employment, professional licensing, higher education, and other opportunities. Drunk driving offenses carry serious penalties in every US state, though the laws vary from place to place. For this reason, it can be important to seek the legal advice of an attorney in your area who knows the laws applicable in your case.
If you have been charged with drunk driving offences, you may wish to contact a qualified attorney who can advise you of your legal rights and options in case. A competent lawyer can help protect and maximize your interests in a drunk driving case.