Driving under the influence of alcohol is not a very wise thing to do, especially because you can face serious DUI charges which will have a lifetime impact on you.
DUI laws are very clear in the matter of driving while intoxicated. They are not negotiable, though, some of the charges could be rejected if your DUI lawyer knows how to tackle them.
Main Types of DUI Charges
- Drunk driving. All DUI laws state that is totally forbidden to drive after you had a couple of glasses to drink. This is the most common charge that everyone knows about.
- Reckless driving. This is not as serious as drunk driving or other aggravating charges. Therefore, this is the minimum level of charges that can be given to a drunk driver. However, do not let this information fool you. You can still end up in prison for at least thirteen days if you were involved in an accident which resulted in human injuries. In some states, people who are charged with reckless driving can even be forced to pay penalties up to 2,500 dollars.
- Refusing DUI tests. When you refuse to take a sobriety, blood, breathing or urine test, another charge is adding up to your initial DUI one. When you get caught drunk driving, the best and wisest thing to do is to give your consent on taking the required tests. It is a two-ways highway: if you want to have the privilege of driving on all states’ roads, then you also must be aware of the fact that you have both rights and obligations. Therefore, in most cases you must submit to taking the necessary tests to prove whether you were drunk driving or not.
- First time DUI charges. When you got caught drunk driving for the first time, you do not have so many reasons to worry about. Yet, this does not mean that is ok for you to go on the road after you have had a couple of drinks. Especially if there are not any serious consequences to your act, and if your blood alcohol concentration is situated below 0.15, then you probably get away with a simple fine.
- Multiple DUI charges. This is a much more aggravating situation compared to the previously described one. In the case in which you were charged with DUI before, this new charge can even become a felony. It all depends on how many times before you were charged with DUI.
- Felony DUI. If you were charged at least three times during the last 10 years, you will get a felony DUI charge. Furthermore, if you were involved in a serious accident (with injuries and deaths) while you were drunk driving, you can also receive a felony DUI charge. When it is not a felony, a DUI becomes a misdemeanor.
- DUI involving serious injuries. This DUI charge is a felony from the start. It is applied in cases in which you have injured other traffic participants and they got different disfigurements. It can also apply when the person you have injured has a high risk of dying as well as if his/her organs have suffered serious aggravating function loss.
- Aggravated DUI. DUI charges such as aggravated DUI are applied in the case in which also children were involved in the car crash or accident, as well as when the guilty person has been found with a blood alcohol concentration of more than 0.15.
- Drug DUI. This is a charge you face when you drive while you are drugged. However, a series of tests must be held in order for the police force to prove that you were drugged and not drunk.
- Drunk biking. Even though most of the DUI charges involve motorized vehicles and motorcycles, in some cases drunk or intoxicated bikers are the subjects of these charges. However, this law varies from state to state. In some states, bikers are considered fully responsible traffic participants and they are treated the same way as drivers.
- Extreme DUI. This charge is less serious than a multiple DUI charge but, in the same time, it has a more serious impact than a first DUI offense. This DUI charge comes with a minimum jail time of 30 days as well as with a quite big fine. The penalties can cost between 500 and 2,500 dollars.
- Commercial DUI charges. This applies to those drivers who are on the job. In other words, if you are a professional driver, this DUI charge may apply to you. The interesting fact is that professional drivers are charged at higher standards compared to the normal licensed drivers.
- Underage DUI. There is a zero tolerance policy when it comes to those aged below 21 who drink and drive.
- Boat operating DUI charge. Yes, that is right. There are DUI charges even for boat drivers. Boating laws are very similar to the ones of drunk driving. The only difference is that boating is forbidden when you have a blood alcohol concentration above 0.08.
DUI Charges’ Consequences
You can get time in prison in the case in which you received multiple DUI charges and also when you produced a serious accident that involves injuries or deaths.
Fines and Penalties
Fines are directly proportional to the number of DUI charges you have received in the past. For example, if you are at your third DUI charge you will have to pay a minimum of 2,000 dollars’ penalty.
Depending on many factors such as your blood alcohol level, the number of DUI charges you have received in your entire life, the consequences of your drunk driving, you license could be suspended or revoked. Also, taking into consideration the same factors enumerated above, the period of the license’ suspension could be shorter or longer.
In some cases, the police force sends the defendant to take DUI lessons, in order to learn how to drive responsibly. This measure usually comes along with a misdemeanor probation period.
All in all, DUI charges can vary a lot depending on several influencing factors. Drunk driving charges can go from a simple fee to several months in jail. The best thing to do is to avoid driving while you are drunk. In the case in which you already got DUI charges, contact a good DUI lawyer in order to take over your case.