An Overview of DUI Laws
If you are cited for a DUI, you are at risk of losing your driving privileges even before having your day in court. DUI laws include administrative (civil) penalties that fall under the jurisdiction of the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV). The DMV grants you the privilege of driving, but in return for your driver’s license, you consent to submit to blood alcohol content (BAC) testing if you’re stopped on suspicion of driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs. If you refuse to submit to BAC testing, your refusal will result in immediate license suspension of your license in most states. Similarly, if you provide a blood, breath or urine sample showing that your BAC is above the legal limit, your licensed may be suspended immediately. Administrative license suspensions vary from state to state, ranging from 30 days to one year. During a license suspension, some states allow limited driving privileges (for example, only allowing driving to/from work, daycare or the grocery store). With the help of an experienced DUI law attorney, you may be able to avoid or set aside an administrative license suspension. Don’t hesitate to talk to a DUI attorney, since the time for objecting to an administrative license suspension is usually very short.
Underage DUI Laws
Penalties for a DUI conviction vary from state to state depending on your age, commercial driving status, prior offenses (even prior DUIs that were reduced to lesser offenses can sometimes be stacked against you) and other individual circumstances. DUI laws are intolerant of underage drunk drivers, with zero tolerance laws prohibiting any individual under the age of 21 to operate a motor vehicle with any blood alcohol content. Minors convicted of DUI may face mandatory sentencing of up to six months in jail, community service and probation. As if jail, community service and probation aren’t enough, a DUI conviction can haunt a minor for years to come. Social stigma, lost college opportunities, trouble finding a job and increased insurance rates all cause serious problems. If you are under and charged with a DUI offense, now is the time for you (and your parents, if you are under 18) to talk to an attorney with experience defending DUI charges. A knowledgeable DUI attorney can look at every aspect of the prosecutor’s case to make sure none of your rights were violated.
Blood Alcohol Content and the Law
In all fifty states and the District of Columbia, driving with a blood alcohol content of 0.08 or higher is a crime. Your blood alcohol content can be measured by taking a sample of your blood, breath or urine. Most people probably opt for the breath test because it is considered the least invasive. States have very strict protocol for administering breath tests, requiring a monitoring period to make sure your mouth stays clean and two blows that show similar results. Even when procedures are followed, BAC results are not conclusive proof that you are guilty of a DUI offense. Having BAC results thrown out of court is not all that uncommon.
Penalties and sentences associated with a DUI conviction vary from state to state. Depending on your situation, a DUI conviction may lead to jail time or prison, mandatory alcohol treatment or rehabilitation programs and maybe even require an ignition interlock device on your car (at your expense, of course). If you have a prior DUI conviction (or you pleaded to a lesser offense from a DUI charge), penalties may be even more sever.
DUI charges can be defended, but a good defense requires quick action from an experienced attorney. Consult with a DUI attorney today to assess your case and protect your rights. By completing the above for, local licensed DUI attorneys will call you for free to discuss your situation.