DRUNK DRIVING / DRIVING UNDER THE INFLUENCE
A DUI charge can seriously damage or even destroy a person’s life. If you have been charged with a DUI, you will need an attorney who is experienced in dealing with evidentiary issues, familiar with the various local courts and prosecuting attorneys, and able to get charges dismissed or reduced wherever possible.
DUI charges apply to persons driving a motor vehicle while under the influence of alcohol or drugs to the extent that their ability to drive safely is impaired. There are many aspects to these laws that the unsuspecting driver does not know about. You can be arrested even if it does not appear that you are doing anything wrong.
If your blood-alcohol content is 0.08 or more within two hours of driving, you are automatically considered to have been driving while intoxicated. You can be arrested, charged and convicted even if you were not driving unsafely. Higher blood-alcohol contents lead to higher penalties.
Drug use can also lead to DUI charges. If you were under the influence of any controlled substance, including a prescription medication, to the extent to which you could not safely drive, you can be convicted of DUI.
Commercial drivers and school bus drivers can be convicted for lower blood-alcohol content levels. These persons face the loss of their Commercial Driver’s License for a year after being convicted of a DUI, which would lead to the loss of their livelihood. Even non-commercial drivers can have their license suspended, which could make it difficult to get to work and result in losing one’s job.
Any driver under the age of 21 can face DUI charges if found to have a blood-alcohol content of 0.02.
Punishments for DUI range from fines to treatment programs to jail time. Whether it’s your first offense or you are a repeat offender, you risk too much if you are not represented by an experienced defense attorney.
DUI Testing and Refusal
If you are pulled over you can be asked to perform a DUI test such as a breathalyzer, field sobriety test, or a blood or urine test. It is your constitutional right to refuse the test. However, if you do, the police can still request a warrant for a blood test. If you are convicted, then the penalties are increased. More importantly, your license will be suspended for a year for refusing the tests.
If you test positive and are arrested, or if your license is suspended for refusing a sobriety test, a defense attorney can fight the validity of the arrest or even whether the police officer had the right to pull you over in the first place.