A drunk driving attorney is a necessary representative in the case of being charged with driving under the influence (DUI) or driving while intoxicated (DWI). In most states, a DUI/DWI conviction is considered a serious offense that can result in license suspension or revocation, high monetary penalties or even jail time. Learn how to find an impaired driving lawyer and when one is needed in the following sections:
- Hiring a DUI attorney.
- Drinking and driving in the U.S.
- Laws that pertain to DUI/DWI.
- DUI charges in the US.
Hiring a DUI Attorney
A DUI defense attorney is needed in the case of an official charge as set forth by the state's laws and police who made the arrest. In the case of a traffic ticket, a felony or misdemeanor charge has not been made, therefore legal representation is not necessary. If unsure of the charge, consulting a DWI lawyer is recommended so as to avoid criminal convictions or loss of driving privileges.
Drunk driving charges can result in a DWI ticket, therefore it is important to seek legal counsel from a qualified attorney, to determine if you should proceed on your own or with a lawyer. DUI penalties could only be high fines, but a DWI attorney is the best professional to conclude if more serious repercussions are a possibility.
Drinking and Driving in the U.S.
DUI offenses are considered serious driving violations and are treated as such by every state, though prosecuted with different regulations. A drunk driving lawyer is the best resource for learning your state's laws regarding DUI/DWI charges. A DUI violation committed by a motorist who is of legal drinking age is treated differently from a charge for an underage driver, and the rules differ from state to state.
Vehicular manslaughter with a DWI arrest is grounds for an automatic criminal charge as it is a traffic violation that resulted in loss of life. A DUI defense is urgently recommended in this instance so as to assist with the conviction and prison sentence that will befall a drunk driver.
Part of a violator's penalties for DUI charges may include a traffic school course that is tailored for alcohol and substance abuse education. In Illinois, for example, attending such a class is required for license reinstatement upon a fourth or subsequent conviction.
Laws That Pertain to DUI/DWI
When charged with DUI offenses, drivers are usually tested for their blood alcohol content (BAC) level, depending on state laws. A minimum BAC level is allowed before it is considered unsafe for motorists to operate a vehicle. For example, DUI charges in Hawaii constitute of a BAC level of 0.08 percent for drivers over the legal drinking age of 21 and are set at 0.02 percent for drivers younger than 21, while commercial drivers are limited to a legal level of 0.04 percent. Some states have no tolerance for underage drinking and do not allow for any amount of alcohol in a minor's system.
DUI help from an attorney is recommended in second and subsequent offenses, as every state tends to treat such charges much harsher than the first. For instance, Idaho's DUI violation policy may include up to six months prison time and a $1,000 fine as well as 90 to 180 days license suspension for a first offense, while a second offense within 10 years results in mandatory jail time of minimum 10 days and up to one year, a $2,000 penalty and mandatory one-year license suspension along with the installation of an ignition interlock device (IID). Seeking services from a drunk driving attorney may help improve a motorist's situation depending on the case and state regulations.
DUI Charges in the US
Depending on the conditions of a DUI arrest, driving with a specific BAC level may be categorized a misdemeanor or felony in the driver's residing state. Indiana treats a first offense DWI arrest in which a passenger under the age of 18 is present and the driver's BAC level is over 0.08 percent, as a Class D felony. A motorist's driving record will reveal the circumstances of an arrest for intoxicated driving.
A DUI defense lawyer can help a motorist avoid demerit points for a DWI charge depending on the driver's state laws and point system. For example, in Iowa, a first offense adds four points to a driver's record if convicted.