With all criminal charges, a person charged is consider innocent unless proven otherwise. Unfortunately a common criminal charge that people are often charged with is a DUI or DWI charge. Someone receives this charge when they are caught driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
About one in three people will be involved in a drunk driving crash during their lifetimes. Every day, 28 people die as a result of drunk driving crashes on average. In 2013, 10,076 people were killed in alcohol-impaired driving crashes, accounting for nearly one-third (31%) of all traffic-related deaths in the United States. Of the 1,149 traffic deaths among children ages 0 to 14 years in 2013, 200 (17%) involved an alcohol-impaired driver. These incidents happen so often and are considered very serious. Understanding what to expect through the legal process can help you or someone you know if you are ever in a situation like this.
When it comes to DUI or DWI charges, every state has different laws. In New York State, there are different types of alcohol and drug-related violations. In ordered to be considered proven as driving while intoxicated, there must be a 0.08 blood alcohol content (BAC) or higher. If the BAC is between 0.05 and 0.07 then the driver is considered as driving while ability impaired. If someone blows a 0.18 BAC or higher, they are consider as aggravated driving while intoxicated. A zero tolerance law is violated when anyone who is younger than 21 years of age drives with a 0.02 BAC to 0.07 BAC. It is important to acknowledge that driving in an unsafe condition is not only a danger to your own life, but also a danger to everyone else on the road. Charges such as these are to be taken seriously.
The penalties vary depending on your violation of the law, and depending on if you are a repeat offender or not. It is important to get an attorney with experience in order to face the minimum amount of penalties possible. Often people are charged with both driving under the influence as well as for having a blood alcohol level above the legal limit. Usually if the person pleads guilty or proceeds to trial, one of these charges is often dropped. When someone gets a DUI charge, the first step usually is to go to a hearing. At this hearing, the defendant is formally charged with the crime in front of a judge. Here is where you either plead guilty or innocent. After this arraignment, this is when you want to start find a lawyer who can assist you in court. Your attorney will advise you on what your options are. Discussing this will help you to figure out the best possible option for your scenario.
You will either have the option to plea bargain, which involves agreeing to your reckless driving and behavior. In exchange, you will receive a lesser sentence. You can also choose to go on trial and fight the DUI charge. It would be much more of a battle for you to try to fight the charge than to admit to it. If your blood alcohol level was above the legal limit, there really isn't anything you can do to prove otherwise.
The penalties that you face vary but can include, fines from $2,000 to $5,000, jail time, prison, license suspension, house arrest, community service, probation, impoundment of vehicle, participation in a drug/ alcohol abuse treatment, or participation in a victim impact program. The penalties tend to be more severe the higher your blood alcohol level is.
Due to the seriousness of this charge, it is always recommended to get a lawyer who is experienced in criminal law defense. Your lawyer can often help you to beat a DUI or DWI or minimize your charge as much as possible.
Sources: Legal Zoom