About three in every ten Americans will be involved in an alcohol-related crash sometime in their life, according to NHTSA 2001 figures. In efforts to curb the high number of deaths and injuries caused because of impaired drivers, some states are trying to toughen laws regarding punishments for DWIs. Things like setting up DWI checkpoints, raising penalties by increasing fines and implementing jail time, as well as enforcing stricter punishments for DWI offenses beginning with the first conviction have been passed into law, or are being pushed to be added to new laws in order to address the widespread problem.
Even convictions for first-time offenses could carry punishments for DWIs that include having a device installed on their ignition locks that would require a breath sample prior to the vehicle starting. Currently, forty-five states permit convicted DWI offenders to operate their vehicle only if it has been equipped with the ignition interlock. The punishments for DWIs are now carrying much longer penalties as well with lawmakers hoping the larger implication will cause more drivers to make better choices.
DWI laws are specifically addressed by each state, and sometimes more specifically by each county. Most states follow fairly similar guidelines and rules concerning DWI but changed laws are sending the message that the consequences can be life-altering. Punishments for DWI factor in things like blood alcohol level and they can result in license suspension or revocation.
Based on prior convictions, the type of DWI conviction and sentence, age of the offender, the state the offense was committed in, as well as other factors, the DWI criminal conviction may remain on the person’s record, influencing any additional convictions, employment, professional positions, and other areas. An attorney specializing in this area of law can discuss possible punishments for DWIs with you.
Punishments for DWI will generally include a fine, possible jail time or community service, restricted use of driver’s license, and a mandatory alcohol and drug education program if it is a first-time conviction, though it will depend on the state. Beyond a first conviction, punishments for DWIs will become harsher. Jail time becomes a much greater possibility for multiple DWI offenses, as well as longer class time required, AA meetings, ignition interlock devices and possible impoundment of the offender’s car.
Certain conditions will require stricter punishments for DWIs, such as if a child was in the vehicle with the affected driver, if the speed the driver was operating the vehicle at was excessive if the person’s blood alcohol concentration was very high, if property damage, injury or death resulted if the person if not of legal drinking age yet, as well as other factors like prior conviction and refusal to submit to a test.
Every year, tens of thousands of people die in alcohol-related crashes and drunk driving is the nation’s most frequently committed violent crime. To find out what punishments for DWIs exist in your area, a DWI attorney can help discuss your specific case.