Whether you call it "driving under the influence (DUI)" or "driving while intoxicated (DWI)," if you drive after drinking alcohol or consuming drugs you may be breaking the law. Conviction for DUI could mean loss of your driver's license, fines, and/or prison time. It can also be an embarrassment that affects your employment, family life, and standing in the community.
While laws vary from state to state, jurisdictions usually base DUI charges on blood alcohol concentrations (BAC), urine tests, or breath tests. BAC is the percentage of alcohol in the bloodstream. It is illegal to drive with a BAC of 0.08% or higher in all 50 states. That means if your BAC is 0.08% or higher you are breaking the law.
Many states offer driver education programs for people convicted of DUI. In some jurisdictions completing the program may result in reduced fines or penalties. Other states require driver education programs before reinstating licenses that were lost due to DUI.
Virginia has some of the strictest DWI laws in the country. A person who violates traffic laws because of driving while intoxicated loses his or her license for one year. After the second offense the license the courts suspend the license for three years and the driver receives jail time. Texas, on the other hand, suspends licenses for 90 days after the first office and 180 days after the second and third offenses. Some states require counseling or other treatment if alcohol or drug addiction is suspected.
Forty-three states prohibit passengers and drivers from having an open can of alcohol in the care. In forty-five states law enforcement has the right to install an ignition lock in the car of drivers who violate alcohol-related driving laws. The driver has to blow into a tube that detects alcohol. If alcohol is detected the car remains locked and cannot be driven.
Lawyers can help people who are accused of driving while intoxicated avoid jail. They can help people understand their rights and responsibilities under state and local laws. Attorneys may defend clients based on the not infrequent false readings of so-called "breathalyzer" devices or on other bases. The best attorneys understand the laws and how to work with them in the interest of their clients.
If you are convicted and pay your legal debt to society with fines, probation, license suspension, and/or jail time, an attorney may be able to help you have your criminal record expunged. An expungement seals the criminal records so it's as if the offense didn't happen. Expungement is a big help in restoring your life after conviction. Having your criminal record expunged may make it easier for you to get a job, education, or professional licensure. Many states require a formal court hearing with witnesses and legal declaration. That's where an attorney can be extremely helpful.
Arrest for driving under the influence has serious consequences. In addition to examining their own behaviors, individuals can protect themselves by making sure a DUI lawyer represents them in the judicial system.
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Chris Robertson is an author of Majon International, one of the worlds MOST popular internet marketing companies.
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