DWI charges are the criminal and civil legal charges that are brought against a person who is found driving while intoxicated. The laws that govern DWI charges fall under the jurisdiction of individual states and often depend on the specific nature of the crime in question. Every US state considers driving while intoxicated by alcohol or drugs a crime that can be prosecuted through misdemeanor or felony DWI charges.
DWI charges can be brought against anyone who is found to be operating a motor vehicle under the influence of drugs or alcohol. Most states have laws that state that anyone who operates a motor vehicle with a blood alcohol concentration at or above 0.08 percent may face DWI charges. DWI charges can be brought against a minor (a person under the legal drinking age) if any amount of drugs or alcohol is detected. There are a variety of other legal infractions that may enhance DWI charges.
Many states have what is known as implied consent laws. Implied consent laws state that a person who is given the privilege of driving (a driver’s license) automatically agrees to the chemical testing of their blood, breath, or urine at the request of a law enforcement official. Any refusal of chemical testing can result in increased DWI charges in subsequent legal proceedings.
There are a variety of other circumstances that can enhance DWI charges. If any property or personal damages resulting from the DWI incident, the liable party may face harsher DWI charges in addition to possible civil charges. Individuals with prior DWI charges and convictions are also subject to enhanced DWI charges for subsequent offenses and often face increased penalties. DWI incidents that involve children, the excessive use of speed or other unlawful conduct, a comparatively high blood alcohol concentration, and other circumstances often result in enhanced DWI charges.
When criminal DWI charges are made against an alleged offender, the defendant has the legal right to seek legal counsel. A qualified and experienced DWI defense attorney can be a defendant’s best advocate as they face the repercussions of DWI charges. Competent DWI defense attorneys have intimate knowledge of the law’s applicability in a defendant’s state and those that apply to the specific DWI charges brought against an individual. There are several ways that an attorney can help to have the DWI charges against an individual reduced or dropped.
DWI charges can lead to severe criminal and civil penalties. Persons convicted of the felony DWI charges against them face possible fines, jail time, probation, and other penalties. Persons convicted of the DWI charges against them risk the loss or suspension of their driving privileges. If convicted, DWI charges can stay on a person’s permanent criminal record. For these reasons a good DWI defense attorney is vital to protecting and maximizing a defendant’s legal rights and interests when faced with DWI charges