Each state is different and even counties within a state may differ on their laws, but all can agree that someone caught driving while under the influence of drugs or alcohol will have serious consequences. If you have been caught driving while under the influence then you will most likely require the services of a lawyer. Before you hire someone, you should call for a consultation first. You will want to be sure that your legal representation suites you before you hit the courtroom.
The terminology related with these types of charges can be confusing. The first problem that can arise is the acronyms. A DUI stands for driving under the influence. A DWI stands for driving while impaired. These two charges are very similar but do have their differences. A DUI or DWI can be issued for drugs that are normally legal such as nicotine or over-the-counter medications as well as illegal drugs. In general, a DUI is the lesser charge based on a lesser degree of intoxication. This can be determined by tests such as a blood alcohol level. Occasionally a DWI will be reduced to a DUI if certain conditions are met such as it being the first offense or a significant display of remorse. Some states don’t differentiate between the two terms while others use DUI to refer to illegal drugs while DWI refers to alcohol.
As the tolerance for intoxicated driving has decreased, the penalties for the crime have increased. A first offender may get off with a fine, though some states have adopted a zero tolerance policy that may require the offender to either serve a short jail sentence or be on probation. If the offender has previous DUI or DWI charges, chances are good that they won’t get off easy. Penalties for repeat offenders can include a hefty fine, license suspension, and jail time. If the offender has three or more DUI or DWI convictions, they will most likely end up with felony charges in most states. With this felony charge the offenders can lose the right to vote, own a weapon, and even permanently lose their license. If the option to regain their license is available, they will most likely be required to complete a DUI school or education program. If the offender is found to have a drinking or drug problem, they may be required to complete a rehabilitation program as well. Although many lawyers are bound by state law and may not be able to help after a conviction, the offender should always call for a consultation to see what their options may be.