November 20, 2017

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DUI and DWI Law

DUI law refers to the offense of driving a vehicle while under the influence of alcohol or any other intoxicating drug. Annual estimated costs of accidents in the U.S. caused by individuals under the influence of alcohol or other drugs total billions of dollars.

Also called DWI (Driving While Intoxicated) in some states, or commonly referred to as “drunk driving”. In the United States, DUI law is enforced when the BAC (blood alcohol content) of the driver is .08 or higher. This level of alcohol is considered sufficient to prevent the driver from safely operating a vehicle and .08 has now been adopted across all 50 states. Internationally, most countries have adopted even more stringent limits of 0% to .05% BAC.

Legal Penalties

The usual penalties for drunk driving are: fines, jail time, impounding of the vehicle, and driver’s license loss or suspension. Some states have alternative sentencing programs in which penalties are considered remedial rather than punitive. Recent studies by independent organizations estimate the cost of a DUI or DWI offense to be over $10,000. However, an experienced attorney can result in greatly reduced overall costs. Even after the lawyer’s hourly fees considered in the equation, effective legal representation can reduce court fines and legal charges; and therefore, the associated insurance increases. Additionally, there is always the chance that an attorney can find something the beat the charges altogether.

Names of the Law Vary

Drunk driving laws usually apply to driving after ingesting alcohol or any drug which intoxicates, whether the drug is legal or illegal. There are several acronyms for this act:

  • driving under the influence [of alcohol or other drugs] (DUI)
  • driving while intoxicated (DWI)
  • operating [a vehicle] while intoxicated (OWI)
  • operating a motor vehicle while intoxicated (OMVI)
  • Besides motorized four-wheel vehicles, some states have laws that apply to the operation of bicycles, boats or watercraft, piloting aircraft, or riding a horse.
  • Criminal Defense Lawyer

A criminal defense attorney (or lawyer, same thing) usually represents a driver accused of driving while intoxicated. Like other criminal lawyers, the DUI lawyer gathers information, works to reduce the charges against the client, and if necessary argues the charges at trial in a court of law. An effective DUI attorney can often enable the client to keep his/her driver’s license, challenge evidence presented by the prosecutor, and reduce costly penalties and fines for the client.

Related areas:
Vehicular Accidents, Automobile Accident Claims, Personal Injury, Wrongful Death