Driving while intoxicated (DWI), a term used in many states as interchangeable with DUI and in some cases a different charge, is one of the biggest causes of deaths in the United States. Every year, thousands of people are killed in DWI cases. And not just drivers running off the road; you also hit other cars, pedestrians, and if you’re driving with family or friends in the car, they’re in danger too.
The main guideline for DWI arrests is the BAC, blood alcohol content, which when 0.08% or more is considered a DWI and illegal. In some cases, you can only have a drink or two, get intoxicated, and be arrested for a DWI even if you are not over the limit. Also, under age drinking and driving, minors under 21 getting behind the wheel, is treated as a DWI with just about any BAC, from .01 to .02%.
What does drinking and driving do to you?
Just one glass of wine combined with driving a car can be a dangerous proposition. Alcohol hits people in different ways; there are few safe ways to drive after drinking. Drinking leads to poor vision and hearing, makes you clumsy, and makes you lose sound judgment and self-control.
Even if you drink all the time and have a high tolerance, it really doesn’t matter in the eyes of the law. Problem drinkers can be fine one second and dangerous the next. All that matters is any drinking of alcohol combined with driving can be lethal, and at points illegal.
How do you know when you can’t drive?
Getting a DWI is about making mistakes from the outset: deciding you can get behind the wheel. Your BAC involves how fast the alcohol is absorbed into your bloodstream and how fast it leaves. These can vary from person to person. There is no definite time limit for when you can and can’t drive. As it’s different for different people, drinking should be followed by a cab ride home or a designated driver.
What happens if you’re pulled over by an officer?
Typically, you can expect to be tested for alcohol upon being pulled over. There must be a clear reason for the officer to pull you over. The most common DWI test is the breathalyzer, as it’s one of the most reliable. Other times you might get a blood test. Urine tests are rarely used because alcohol gets in your blood, not your urine.
If you’re pulled over and fail the standard tests for alcohol, you will be arrested. At that point, you need to know your options.
How do you defend a DWI charge?
You need a DWI lawyer to handle the case. This is not the end of the world in most cases if it’s your first time, but you still face potential license suspension, fines, and possible jail time. If this is your second or third DWI, or if you’re driving with a suspended license, you can expect very stiff penalties from all states.
A professional DWI lawyer can help you from day 1 by explaining your rights, how you might plea, and what to fight. If you’ve been charged with a DWI, don’t try to defend yourself; hire an experienced lawyer.