Driving Under the Influence
In the United States, penalties for drunk driving have steadily increased throughout the past
years as organizations such as Mothers Against Drunk Driving have lobbied for stiffer penalties.
Higher fines and penalties have increased the importance of proper legal defense when cited for
drunk driving. Underage drinking and driving accounts for a disproportionate number of alcohol
related accidents and deaths. As a result, many states are responding with felony charges and
extended jail time for offenders. States are cracking down on drunk driving. DUI and DWI laws
across the nation are becoming stricter and being enforced with greater diligence.
"DUI defense", a branch of criminal defense law, involves attorneys, investigators and forensic
toxicologists who attack prosecution evidence on behalf of accused DUI offenders. Generally,
DUI attorneys seek to uncover inaccuracies in forensic breath and blood testing as well as bias,
inexperience and incompetence by arresting officers. It's not uncommon for DUI charges to be
plea bargained into lesser offenses or sometimes dismissed through legal technicalities or jury
Why are DUI laws so strict?
Alcohol slows the brain by acting as a depressant. When you drink, some of the messages your
senses are sending to your brain are suppressed. Alcohol in your system also makes you have a
distorted picture of how you are moving. You may think, for instance, that you are moving in a
straight line, when, in fact, you are staggering across the room. When you are driving, this makes
it almost impossible to drive straight down the road.
When you drink and drive, you are putting yourself at risk. According to the Centers for Disease
Control and Prevention, auto accidents are the leading cause of death for people in America who
are under the age of 24, and about 40 percent of those deaths are alcohol-related.
Having a blood alcohol content of just .10, a tiny bit over the legal limit, puts you at seven times
higher of a risk for being involved in a crash that kills someone. If that level is raised to just .15,
the risk increases to 25 times. Even a blood alcohol content of .04 can increase the likelihood of
someone being involved in a car crash by 1.4 times. So having "just one more" could bring
The Consequences of a DUI Conviction
Driving under the influence generally constitutes a misdemeanor (punishable by up to one year
in jail). However, the offense may be elevated to a felony (punishable by a longer term in state
prison) if the incident caused serious injury (felony DUI), death (vehicular manslaughter or
vehicular homicide), or extensive property damage (a state specified dollar amount) or if the
defendant has a designated number of prior DUI convictions within a given time period
(commonly, 3 prior convictions within 7 years). California, which is being followed by a
growing number of states, now charges second-degree murder where the legal state of mind of
malice exists—that is, where the defendant exhibited a reckless indifference to the lives of
others. If you've been accused of breaking the law and charged with an alcohol-related offense,
one of our DUI defense attorneys can help.
Depending on your state, DUI convictions can result in:
loss of driving privileges
increased auto insurance rates
the possible installation of an ignition interlock device
alcohol and drug educational classes (DUI school)
scarlet letter license plates that identify you as a DUI offender
a lifetime conviction on your criminal record
points on your DMV driving record
denial of admission into foreign countries
denial of naturalization or deportation from the U.S.
professional license consequences
the inability to rent a car
consequences in unrelated legal proceedings (such as divorce or child custody hearings).
Cases involving driving under the influence are known by many different names, but all of them
require the services of a skilled criminal defense DUI lawyer
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