DUI Help

DUI (also called DWI and OWI) refers to the crime of driving under the influence of some substance (most commonly alcohol). DUI laws are governed at the state level and categorize offenses by severity: some DUI charges are classified as misdemeanors, others as felonies.

Regardless of where you live, DUI charges are serious business and a DUI conviction could lead to jail time and significant fines. The good news, though, is that DUI is like any other crime: those accused are considered by the court system to be innocent until proven guilty.

For this reason, you may want to work with a DUI lawyer familiar with your state's laws if you're facing DUI charges. A DUI lawyer can help with:

  • Explaining your charges and potential penalties (if you're convicted);
  • Reviewing your arrest and determining its legality;
  • Explaining your rights with breathalyzers, blood alcohol tests and field sobriety tests; and
  • Developing a defense strategy for your case.

Potential Effects of a DUI Conviction

People who are convicted of driving under the influence (DUI), driving while intoxicated (DWI) or operating a vehicle while intoxicated (OWI) may find that the conviction affects many aspect of their life. A DUI conviction could lead to:

  • Jail time
  • Fines;
  • Steeply increased car insurance rates
  • Difficulty finding a job;
  • Limited or revoked driving privileges; and
  • Suspension of a driver's license.

Of course, not everyone who is charged with DUI is convicted. In some cases, police officers make mistakes that invalidate their evidence. A lawyer can explain in more detail the reasons why a person might be acquitted of DUI charges.

Blood Alcohol Content (BAC) and DUI Charges

Many people are familiar with the concept of blood alcohol content (BAC) and the Breathalyzer, a tool commonly used to measure BAC on the road. But did you know that the Breathalyzer isn't always an accurate measure of blood alcohol levels? Because it relies on breath levels, which can vary from blood levels, it is not an entirely precise tool.

Plus, many states grant drivers the right to refuse to take a Breathalyzer test when they're pulled over under suspicion of DUI. But refusing a breath test (even by those who agree to a blood test) often comes with legal consequences.

A DUI lawyer practicing in your state can explain your state's laws, penalties and DUI procedures in more detail.

DUI Charges and Plea Agreements

Another important question to ask your lawyer is whether you might be able to enter a plea deal with the court. In some cases, a lawyer may be able to help those charged with DUI:

  • Bargain for reduced charges and penalties;
  • Challenge the legitimacy of their arrests; or
  • Successfully defend themselves in court.

While plea agreements may not be an option for all people charged with DUI, they can provide an important defense strategy in some situations.

DUI, DWI and OWI: What's the Difference?

The difference between the various abbreviations used to identify criminal drunk driving is a result of state-regulated drunk driving laws. Depending on where you live, you might be charged with:

  • DUI: In most states, this stands for "driving under the influence" of alcohol or drugs. It is illegal in all states to drive with a blood alcohol level of .08 percent or higher, though some states have graduated legal limits that start at lower levels.
  • DWI: This stands for "driving while intoxicated" or "driving while impaired." In many states, DWI is used interchangeably with DUI, though in some states (notably Maryland), DUI and DWI are distinct offenses.
  • OWI: This abbreviation stands for "operating a vehicle while intoxicated" or "operating a vehicle while impaired."

A DUI lawyer can explain to you what your state's terminology means and what legal penalties are possible for those convicted of DUI, DWI or OWI.

The Role of a Lawyer in DUI Cases

Starting with the initial traffic stop of a DUI arrest, those charged with DUI (like any criminal offense) have rights that must be respected. Similarly, police must follow specific protocol in order to make sure any arrest they make will hold up in court.

Working with a lawyer can help those charged with DUI to make sure their rights are protected throughout the process, and particularly in the courtroom setting. A lawyer familiar with state DUI laws, potential penalties and common defenses may make the process of appearing in court and defending against DUI charges go more smoothly.

DUI News

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Florida Police Allegedly Beat Female Driver During DUI Arrestposted on: September 18th 2013

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