Driving under the influence, or DUI for short, is the term given to the act of operating a motor vehicle while intoxicated. Though most cases of DUI deal with persons who are under the influence of alcohol it is also illegal to operate a vehicle while under the influence of marijuana, cocaine or any other illicit drug that impairs your judgment and/or motor skills. Also, though some believe that you can only be charged while driving a car it is actually illegal to operate any motorized vehicle; a boat, an off-road motorcycle, a tractor, etc while under the influence.
Drinking and driving – as it’s commonly referred to – is one of the most discussed and debated legal issues facing American society today. All states in America are adopting harsher penalties when it comes to drinking and driving. This is because of the major impact and ramifications that can result from it, and the negative ways in which the crime has been affecting society.
Many lives have been lost and many families have been destroyed because of this senseless crime. Some feel that penalties for an individual who gets drunk and drives with the end result being serious injury, or death are not currently strong enough. Many organizations around the country, such as MADD – Mother’s Against Drunk Driving – are pushing for penalties more in line with someone who commits murder.
Difference Between DUI and DWI
Another term for operating a motor vehicle while intoxicated is DWI, which stands for driving while intoxicated. In some states the two terms are interchangeable, with both carrying the same legal definitions and penalties. Other states differentiate the two by certain factors, such as level of intoxication, recklessness of driving and whether or not personal injury or death resulted. In theses states usually a DWI would be more severe than a DUI.
It is possible to have a DWI reduced to a DUI provided a certain set of criteria are met. These criteria can include but are not limited to; whether it’s a first offence, the defendant’s likelihood of repeating the offense and his or her level of remorse for their actions. In addition to these examples there are a number of other factors that are usually determined on a case-by-case basis.
DWI – Driving While Intoxicated
DWI (driving while intoxicated, or driving while impaired) refers to the operation of a motor vehicle while under the influence of any substance, whether drugs or alcohol, that may diminish an individual’s ability to drive safely.
Because of increased public pressure on government agencies to crack down on drunk and impaired driving, law enforcement officials may be tempted to increase the number of DWI and DUI arrests. Unfortunately, many of these arrests are made through improper and unconstitutional investigation and procedures. The increased pressure may also result in the wrongful accusation of innocent people. However, if you’ve been charged with a DWI, it is important to know that you have a number of legal rights and options.
Please contact us today to speak with a qualified and experienced criminal law lawyer FREE of charge to learn more information about your rights and interests.
Consequences of a DWI
A DWI arrest can result in a number of consequences depending on factors such as the severity of the intoxication, past DWI arrests, the suspect’s age, and previous criminal history, whether any parties were injured, or any property was damaged. Those who are charged and convicted with a DWI may be penalized with:
- Heavy fines
- License restriction
- License suspension
- License termination
- Jail time
In some cases, a DWI is considered a felony and could stain a defendant’s criminal record, making it more difficult to find a job, prevent him/her from voting, or participating in other activities in the future.
State Versus Federal Laws
Here you will find information on each state’s DUI or DWI laws. Though each and every state has a separate set of laws pertaining to DUI, or DWI, there are some federal laws that are consistent across all 50 states. These include a legal blood alcohol limit of .08 for anyone operating a motor vehicle. Also anyone under the federal legal drinking age of 21-years old who is found to have any amount of alcohol in their system will be automatically charged under the federal “zero tolerance” law for underage drinkers operating a motor vehicle.
Whatever situation you find yourself in regarding driving under the influence, or while intoxicated, you will be best served to hire a good lawyer. Try to find someone who is familiar with the laws in your state and has experience defending individuals who have been charged with a DUI, or DWI.
Your Legal Rights
A DWI charge does not always result in a conviction. However, DWI defense requires extensive knowledge of state and federal DWI laws, breath analyzer technology, human physiology, and chemistry. If you or a loved one has been charged with a DWI, it is crucial that you consult with a qualified criminal law attorney who has the experience necessary to effectively defend your legal rights and interests. Please contact us today to speak with an experienced DWI attorney who can examine your case FREE of charge and help plan the best course of action for you.