Driving under the influence of alcohol or other impairing drugs is a crime in all 50 states and the District of Columbia. Whether your state calls it “driving under the influence (DUI),” “driving while intoxicated (DWI),” or some other name, it is a charge that is taken very seriously and punished accordingly. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) estimates that roughly 40 percent of all U.S. traffic deaths are alcohol-related to some degree.
What Does it Mean to be Impaired?
For the purposes of DUI law, generally you are “impaired” if your ability to safely operate a motor vehicle is appreciably affected by having consumed alcohol, illicit drugs, or prescription medications. Since everyone is affected differently by different substances, “per se” laws set measurable limits. For instance, motorists who are shown to have a blood-alcohol concentration (BAC) of at least 0.08 percent are assumed to be impaired. Similarly, some states assume that any amount of certain drugs in the bloodstream constitutes impairment.
How Can a DUI Lawyer Help Me?
A drunk driving conviction can lead to steep fines, loss of driving privileges, and even jail time. Additionally, it could affect your job security and significantly raise your insurance rates. Since the stakes are typically fairly high, it usually pays to have a DUI attorney handle your case. Your attorney will be skilled at scrutinizing the evidence against you, ensuring that your rights are protected, and securing the best possible outcome.