One of the most common charges that I see each day in my office are DUI and DWI charges. Unfortunately, many people commit these offenses without even being aware or after what they consider to be a tame night out, but the consequences of being charged with driving under the influence or while intoxicated can be life-changing. If you’ve recently been arrested for a DUI, now would be a good time to educate yourself on what the consequences and penalties for this crime are to ensure that you do not enter this situation blind.
A driving offense is never a good thing to have on your record. However, the penalties associated with DUI’s may change depending upon the particular charge, as there are about seven different charges that are associated with DUIs, each carrying its own set of consequences.
Types of DUI Charges to Look Out For
Driving While Intoxicated (DWI): Anyone caught driving with a BAC above .08 (or commercial drivers with a BAC above .04) or with any other evidence of intoxication will be charged with a DWI. This is the most common alcohol-related charge.
Aggravated Driving While Intoxicated (Aggravated DWI): Anyone caught driving with a BAC above .18 will typically be charged with an aggravated DWI.
Driving While Ability Impared from Alcohol (DWAI): Driving with a .04 and .07 BAC level is considered a DWAI.
Driving While Ability Impaired by a Single Drug other than Alcohol (DWAI/Drug): Any impairments while driving caused by a single drug (such a prescription medication) that do not include alcohol.
Driving While Ability Impaired by a Combined Influence of Drugs or Alcohol (DWAI/Combination): A combination of drugs or alcohol found in your system while driving.
Chemical Test Refusal: If a driver refused to take a test (whether breathalyzer, urine, or blood tests) to prove their sobriety, they may be charged with a chemical test refusal.
Zero Tolerance Law: Anyone caught driving with a BAC between .02 and .07 who is under the age of 21 years old will be charged under the Zero Tolerance law.
Another type of DUI charge to look out for is an OUI, or operating while intoxicated. This typically refers to someone who is operating a piece of large equipment or machinery while intoxicated, and can be a severe charge on its own.
These violations can carry serious consequences, ranging from loss of your driving privileges as well as large fines and even jail terms. Of course, the penalties for committing one of these violations will depend upon the severity of the crime. Someone who has been pulled over for driving erratically, for instance, will not be charged as severely as someone who caused injury or death due to their intoxicated state.
In turn, if this is not your first DUI charge, the penalties for committing more than one of these violations can mean longer sentences, larger fines, and long-term or permanent revocation of your license.
Dealing with DUI Violations
For many people, a single DUI or DWI charge can mean long-term issues in the future. For instance, those who are caught driving while impaired will face fines from $300-$500, a 15-day maximum jail sentence, and a suspension of their license for up to 90 days.
While this may seem like chump change, the violations can add up. Racking on a second or third DUI charge can lead to serious consequences. In order to prepare yourself, hiring a criminal defense lawyer could be the key to helping save your ability to drive as well as your freedom. Criminal defense attorneys are experienced in this particular realm of New York law and their assistance can be a godsend for those dealing with false or inaccurate DUI charges.