DUI: Continuously Challenging Laws in the U.S.
For Americans, impaired driving, whether due to alcohol, illegal drugs, or both, is a major traffic offense due to the great risks this put other motorists and pedestrians in. In 2012 the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported about 10,322 individuals killed in motor vehicle accidents involving alcohol- impaired drivers. Two years prior to this, more than 1.4 million drivers were arrested after they were found intoxicated either by alcohol or illegal drugs.
The blood alcohol concentration limit for drivers in all U.S. states is 0.08%, while for drivers below the age of 21, a “No Tolerance” policy is imposed (this policy mandates that no traces of alcohol should be found in their blood system while they are driving). This strict policy on the young, especially, teen drivers is due to the fact that alcohol or drug intoxication is the leading cause of death among them. Punishments for violators are fines, jail term and suspension of license.
Federal and state authorities are now more aggressive in catching drunk drivers, thus, they are sharp and focused on observing any signs of drunk-driving, like driving too slowly, swerving, braking erratically, stopping for no apparent reason and zig-zagging across the road. To apprehend alcohol-impaired drivers before they end up causing injurious or fatal accidents.
A first offense DUI is usually treated as a misdemeanor. A charge, however, can be raised to felony if the alcohol-impaired driver injures or kills someone, or if his/her BAC level is higher than the 0.08% limit. In some states, a third or fourth DUI offense can automatically lead to a felony charge).
A DUI felony entails costly fines and at least one year jail time (maximum of one year imprisonment is allowed in a misdemeanor charge). In some states, punishments for a DUI felony include:
- Mandatory installation of an Ignition interlock;
- Administrative license suspension (ALS). This 90 – 180 days suspension of license limits a person’s driving privileges to/from work; and,
- Open container law
Many of those arrested for driving under the influence (DUI), according to a Lake Murray DUI lawyer, “claim that they have only had a few drinks or that they are not intoxicated, despite what a breathalyzer test says. These excuses, however, do not often hold up in a court of law.
Alcohol-related charges have serious consequences, and a conviction for a DUI crime can dramatically affect a person for the rest of his/her life. Thus, anyone who has been charged with a DUI may find it wise to call a DUI defense attorney as soon as possible to start preparing a valid legal defense that will save him/her from more legal problems.”