A DWI conviction is a legal judgment ruling that a person is guilty of the DWI charges that have been brought against them. A DWI conviction also carries a specific punishment or set of penalties imposed on the party convicted of this crime. A DWI is the crime of operating a motor vehicle while intoxicated, or under the influence of drugs or alcohol. A DWI conviction generally means that the offender has been found guilty of a felony crime and is therefore subject to civil and criminal fines, jail time, probation, and other penalties.
A DWI conviction carries a greater punishment today than it has in the past. DWI conviction involves harsher penalties because of the dangerous consequences that driving while intoxicated can incur. At least thirty percent of the United States population will be involved in a DWI-related accident at some point in their lifetime. Approximately forty percent of all vehicle accidents involve a party who was driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol at the time of the incident. In 2002, more than 17,000 people were killed in DWI accidents.
A DWI conviction can carry criminal punishments as well as Department of Motor Vehicle penalties. A DWI conviction will often yield a harsher punishment for offenders under the following circumstances: the DWI incident resulted in damage or injury to persons or property; the offender has a prior DWI conviction; excessive use of speed was involved in the DWI incident; if children were involved in the incident, and other similar specifics. In these cases, a DWI conviction can yield increased fines, jail time or probation, and other penalties.
The criminal penalties in a DWI conviction depend on the state where the incident took place and the specifics of the crime. A person with a DWI conviction could face jail time, criminal fines, compensatory fines, probation, and mandatory participation in a drug and alcohol treatment program. A DWI conviction will stay on a person’s criminal record permanently, which can have grave future implications. Prospective employers, insurance companies, universities, licensing agencies, and a number of other parties may have access to information regarding an individual’s DWI conviction.
A DWI conviction also carries Department of Motor Vehicle penalties. This state agency may choose to suspend or revoke a person’s license following a DWI conviction. Some Departments will require the installation of an interlocking device on a person’s car following a DWI conviction. This device prohibits a person from operating a motor vehicle if they are unable to pass a breathalyzer test prior to starting the vehicle. Insurance companies also have access to DMV records and may impose punishment in the form of increased premiums or dropped coverage for people who have a DWI conviction.
If you are facing a DWI conviction it is greatly beneficial to seek the services of a qualified and experienced DWI defense attorney who can help to protect and maximize your legal rights in a case.