Drunk-driving is listed with reckless driving, over-speeding and driver error as the top causes of motor vehicle accidents in the United States. Car accidents in the U.S. have always numbered to more than five million annually, injuring more than two million and killing no less than 30,000 every year. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), the usual offenders of the law against drunk-driving, are adolescents; those aged between 17 and 24.
The blood alcohol concentration (BAC) limit set by the U.S. government is 0.08% (the limit is lower for commercial truck drivers and individuals below the age of 21). Offenders caught with a 0.08% or higher BAC level will be charged with drinking under the influence (DUI) or with the more serious offense, drinking while impaired/intoxicated (DWI) (some states, however, DUI and DWI interchangeably).
DUI or DWI is a serious crime. Penalties for the offense vary, depending on the severity of the offense and the number of times it has been committed. Under the law, the basic sentences for offenders include:
- 1 to 30 days imprisonment;
- $200 fine;
- revocation or suspension of driver’s license; and,
- installation of an Interlock Ignition Device (IID) in the vehicle of the offender. An IID is a device like the breath analyzer. It measures the level of BAC in the driver. If the BAC level detected by the IID is higher than its programmed limit (usually as low as 0.02%), it will automatically render the vehicle incapable of starting.
Drunk-driving accidents usually happen on weekends and on holidays. This is because, despite drinking, many simply refuse to believe that the alcohol they consumed will impair them. People will have to realize that BAC reading is based on the level of alcohol that is detectable in their blood, despite them still being sober.
According to the firm Horst Law, “Even a single DUI conviction could change your life. For starters, your license will be revoked for a full year after your conviction, at which time you will have to work through the complex process of getting your license reinstated. Until it is eventually reinstated, you will have to figure out a way to get to and from work, assuming that you do not lose your job. By the time everything is said and done, the state estimates that the overall cost of a first-offense DUI could be just under $5,000. Aside from the long-term consequences that a conviction is likely to have on both your livelihood and lifestyle, you will have to serve a mandatory minimum sentence of 48 hours in jail.” Thus, if charged, a really good criminal defense attorney can be your best ticket to an acquittal.Read More