Due to the extremely high number of lives DUI accidents take, states have been enacting much stricter DUI penalties. Especially with repeat offenders, states have been enforcing much tougher DUI penalties so that the same dangerous drivers are not allowed to get back on the roads as easily and risk more lives. Signing bills with increased penalties for a first time DUI offenders have also been passed in some states, discouraging violations from the start.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) announced in August 2004 that for the first time since 1999 there had been a drop in alcohol-related fatalities during 2003. The decrease showed progress and many lawmakers attributed the shift in numbers to harder DUI penalties. Not allowing repeat offenders to get back on the road without first adhering to appropriate DUI penalties, lawmakers hoped the more expensive, less merciful approach would help curb intoxicated drivers from getting behind the wheel.
A DUI related crash is likely to affect just about everybody in one way or another, with statistics showing 40 percent of drivers will be involved in a crash with a drunk or intoxicated driver in their lifetime. New DUI penalties are sending the message that in the end, calling a cab will be significantly cheaper than the high costs now associated with a DUI, in addition to saving lives. The more permanent and lasting DUI penalties can more seriously tarnish an offender’s record under newer DUI laws, which are aimed at forcing people to think more carefully about their actions. Being left with a mark on an offender’s criminal record because of a DUI is likely to be taken more seriously than a mark on an offender’s driving record, and states have changed laws to reflect how serious an offense a DUI is by adjusting to this belief.
In the past, some defense attorneys advised their clients not to take a breath alcohol test if being stopped by law enforcement. Some states will no longer allow drivers to avoid tests or else they risk harsh DUI penalties. While the laws vary from state to state, the DUI penalties for refusing to submit to driving under the influence tests can include facing the same penalty of having a pre-determined by law blood alcohol content (BAC) level or being given automatic DUI penalties.
More jail time has also been added to some new state DUI laws. According to law enforcement, the logic behind increasing jail DUI penalties is to keep offenders locked up for a longer amount of time so that there is less risk of damage. As statistics show, the chances of a drunk driver being around when you are on the road is great, and the newer DUI penalties have been designed to have greater consequences to deadly judgment errors. Lawmakers hope the DUI penalties will further curb the number of drivers under the influence by making it a more serious offense.
If involved in a DUI accident, the damages and DUI penalties can be severe. Lost lives, serious injuries, property damage, legal fees, and other costs can be extensive, varying depending on state specific DUI laws. It is strongly advised to contact a DUI attorney immediately to learn the legal rights and options involved. Failing to respond appropriately after being pulled over or being involved in a DUI related accident could greatly affect DUI penalties. Especially with changing laws and different DUI procedures, efforts to reduce the number of DUI accidents have changed the way DUI litigation is approached. It is important for a reputable and experienced DUI accident attorney to notify you of your rights.