No one intends to be involved in a DUI. However, when we make an error in judgment concerning alcohol consumption and wind up being apprehended by law enforcement, the consequences are often a surprise to us in terms of severity, especially for those of us never in trouble with the law before. If you wind up in a position where you are caught driving drunk or impaired, it is generally a good idea to be aware of the consequences. Some states have some extremely stringent laws regarding impaired driving.
In many states even the penalties for a first DUI are relatively stringent. These laws were passed because of the huge amount of injury and death caused by drunk drivers. In many cases, a first offense can result in imprisonment, as well as fines, depending on Blood Alcohol Content (BAC) and the presence of any minors in the vehicle at the time of the stop. Many other states may initially require only probation instead of these stiff penalties. While some first-time DUIs are spared imprisonment, many are not.
First offenders can also have their driver’s license suspended, usually for around 3 months (but possibly for up to 1 year), although some states a allow a limited license to be used only to get to and from work. In addition to a temporary license suspension, some states follow this with a period of requiring an Ignition Interlock Device (IID) fitted to their vehicle. This device requires the driver to blow a breath sample showing no alcohol before starting the engine. The increased use of IIDs is thought to increase deterrence, as well as providing the fringe benefit of more information to be studied by lawmakers.
As one might imagine, the penalties for second and third DUIs only become more severe because these later offenses cannot simply be ascribed to a mere act of poor judgment. For example, while a first offense can carry an imprisonment sentence of few days, a second offense under the law might be punishable by a longer stint in jail. License suspensions also increase in length with each conviction, often going from 180 days to as much as 10 years . This license suspension may be followed by a period of requiring and IID remaining on your car.
Many states also have an implied consent law. This law makes is a crime or grounds for license suspension for an apprehended driver to refuse to give a breath sample to the law enforcement officer.
These tougher drunk driving laws have been imposed by the efforts of groups such as Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) who have marshaled the statistics that showed an increase in drunk driving fatalities. These zero tolerance policies can be a headache to contend with on a personal level, but they save lives, including the lives of potential drunk drivers.
Injured by DUI/DWI
If you or a loved one has been injured by a drunk or intoxicated driver, you should contact a Coeur d’Alene ID personal injury lawyer to help you get the compensation you deserve.
Driving under the influence is considered negligent, and if you’ve been involved in an accident with someone acting negligently, you may be entitled to financial relief.
Thanks to our friends and contributors from Bendell Law Firm for their insight into DUI/DWI and negligence.