Disclaimer: This article should not be treated as legal advice. It’s recommended that readers still consult legal counsel and contact a lawyer should they have any concerns regarding a drunk driving charge.
Drinking is a social activity, and it’s fun to interact with friends and family over a nice bottle of wine or alcohol. Parties help us unwind after a long day of work, but sometimes we tend to forget that we have to go home and risk driving while intoxicated. This can be very dangerous, and when accidents happen, drunk driving can have drastic legal consequences.
It’s important to remember at this point that when accidents occur with vehicles, not only are we dealing with damages to property and our vehicle, but also risks to our own life and another person’s. This is the reason why there are strict rules when it comes to being reckless with the tools we’re using, as we’re expected to have some degree of responsibility while operating them.
Should you have specific concerns regarding the legal consequences of drinking and driving, it’s a good option to talk to a drunk driving accident attorney, as they might be more familiar with the laws of the area you live in. This is helpful if you have more specific concerns on certain scenarios, or if you want to clear a few things related to the subject.
Different countries have different laws when it comes to drinking and driving, and as such legal consequences differ one way or the other. It’s important to understand however that these laws prioritize making sure the streets are safe for all drivers, drinking or otherwise, and for all pedestrians as well.
Drinking and Driving: A Matter of Intensity
In most countries, drinking while driving can be divided into two concepts called Driving Under Influence and Driving While Intoxicated. DUI and DWI tend to be interchanged by some people, but some states have very different definitions and different sets of rules for the two. You may want to consult your lawyer or a legal professional if you want a more in-depth guide to the two concepts. However, in a general sense:
- Driving Under Influence (DUI) and Driving While Intoxicated (DWI) can be differentiated in some states depending on the intensity or severity of the situation. In some states, DWI is worse than DUI, and sometimes people aim for DWI cases to be “reduced” into a DUI instead.
- Reduction of DWI into DUI may happen upon a variety of instances. Sometimes it depends if the incident was in fact a person’s first offense, if there’s a considerable and genuine display of regret and remorse on the offender’s part, and if the blood alcohol level of the offender is not over a legal limit.
- The parameters of DUI and DWI differ from one state to the next, which means in order for you to fully understand the depth of DUI and DWI charges, you may have to clarify these things with a legal professional.
Legal Consequences of Drinking and Driving
Given these considerations, legal consequences of drinking and driver may differ from one state to the next. However, if there’s anything that is common, it’s that penalties incurred when drinking and driving may range from minor to drastic measures. Some legal consequences include:
- Fines, Fees, Jail Time
If you’ve been proven guilty for a DUI or DWI, these carry some fees and fines for you to pay. These fines differ from state to state, but sometimes offenders may need certain fees such as court fees and license-reinstatement. Sometimes, these fees may cost more than a few hundred dollars. Some cases, however, would actually require jail time for offenders. For instance, a lot of states in the United States have mandatory jail time set for first-time offenders with a DUI case. These sentences last from days to a week at a time. These jail times increase for more offenses.
- Ignition Interlock Devices
Some states also require offenders to install something called an ignition interlock device or an IID on their vehicles. This device, attached to the car’s ignition, detects one’s alcohol level, similar to a breathalyzer. If this device detects a significant amount of alcohol from you, the car won’t be starting unless someone with an alcohol-free breath blows into the tube. Should the IID start, it will ask for breath samples during random intervals as a “rolling sample.” The IID will record these instances and would most likely send this information to officials.
- License Suspension
Some DUI cases would have license suspension as a penalty. An agency such as the Department of Motor Vehicles has the ability to suspend an offender’s license especially if the chemical test has shown a blood alcohol count that exceeds the state limit. The length of suspension varies from state to state, with some suspending licenses for just 30 days and some doing this for more than that.
It’s important to remember early on that while drinking is fun and allowed, always consider your options before and after the event before actually going there. If you need to drive far in order to get home, consider booking in a nearby hotel or staying at a friend’s place. You might ask a friend or a relative who isn’t at the party to fetch you so you could go home safely. These things, while they may seem hassling, are extremely important when your safety, and others’, are on the line.
When you have any questions about the laws related to drinking and driving, it’s best to consult your lawyer or a legal counsel in order to get all the information you need about these cases.
Jewel Spencer is a promising young law enthusiast. Her pieces offer a youthful perspective on common law topics. Jewel is your go-girl when it comes to sports, and she is often seen jogging when she has free time.