Drunk-driving accidents account for multiple traffic related deaths in the United States. In 2014 alone, around 9,967 people were killed in alcohol-impaired driving crashes. These accidents, often fatal, result to damages and deaths.
DUI or driving under the influence and DWI or driving while intoxicated are crimes of driving while under the influence of alcohol. In some states, DUI and DWI mean the same thing. However, in other states, DWI refers to driving while impaired by drugs, alcohol and other substances while DUI refers to driving under the influence of alcohol. If you have a .08% blood alcohol content (BAC) you will be charged with DUI or DWI.
Here are some important facts about DUI and DWI.
- Legal limit. All 50 states agree that .08% BAC is the legal limit for the presence of alcohol in the body. For commercial drivers, the limit is .04% and for drivers under 21 years old, there is a zero tolerance limit.
- Notice of Suspension. The arresting officer is required to give a copy of a completed notice of suspension or revocation form with a sworn report to the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV)
- License Suspension. License can be taken before the conviction. This is called an administrative license suspension. Driving privileges may be restored even during an administrative license suspension. The license can be returned at the end of suspension or revocation provided that the driver pays a $125 reissue fee. Drunk drivers under the age of 21 will automatically have their license suspended for 6 months to a year.
- Jail Time. The first offense for DUI and DWI is a misdemeanor, which can put you in jail for 6 months. First time offenders may have to pay a fine, serve in jail, be under probation and do some community service. However, some states take a higher BAC into account and give a more severe punishment. If a DUI or DWI kills or injures someone, it will be a felony, in which case the driver may have several years of jail time.
- Fines. The usual fine for a DUI or DWI ranges from $500 to $2000.
- Ignition Interlock Device (IID). In most states, drivers convicted of DUI or DWI are required to install an ignition interlock device (IID), an alcohol-detecting machine, on their vehicle.
If you ever find yourself facing a DUI or DWI, the first thing you need to do is get a DUI or DWI lawyer with an extensive experience in handling DUI or DWI cases. Contact a DUI/DWI lawyer now.
Written by Kellie Bertels, an attorney at Bandre, Hunt and Snider in Jefferson City, MO. Bandre, Hunt and Snider are the best DWI attorneys Jefferson City MO have to offer.