Archives for October 2014

The Top 5 Reasons You Might Need a DUI Attorney

DUI refers to the act of operating a vehicle in an intoxicated state.  While driving under the influence originally referred to what was otherwise known as drunk driving, and while it can be determined by measuring the blood alcohol level, your DUI attorney will tell you that having a couple beers before driving home isn’t the only way to earn yourself a DUI charge—or conviction.

AttorneyHow can you get charged with DUI?

There are multiple ways to receive a DUI charge, but some are more likely than others.  The top five reasons you may end up in need of a DUI attorney are:

1) Driving under the influence of alcohol.  If you are caught operating a vehicle—or even in some cases sitting in a vehicle that has the ignition turned off—with a blood alcohol level (the percentage of alcohol in the blood measured in mass of alcohol per volume of blood) that is above the legal level (the legal limit which is set by state statute to determine the level at which it is no longer safe to drive), you will be charged with driving under the influence of alcohol—or with being drunk in and about a vehicle.  Once your blood alcohol reaches .08% or higher, you will be charged with DUI, and 12 points will be added to your driver’s license resulting in license suspension.  Since it can be laborious and challenging to reverse the suspension of your driving privileges—and since you may even have to serve time in jail for your charge—it is recommended that you contact an experienced DUI attorney as soon as notification of your license suspension is received.

2) Driving while ability impaired.  If your blood alcohol content registers between the levels of .05% and .0799% when you are behind the wheel, you will most likely be charged with a DWAI instead of a DUI.  Driving while ability impaired is an 8-point offense, which means you will not lose your license unless you have previous driving violations on your record, like speeding or reckless driving.  Consulting with an experienced DUI attorney—even if you are not specifically charged with DUI—can help you to defend yourself against the ramifications of multiple driving violations.

3) Driving while under the influence of drugs or marijuana.  It isn’t just the influence of illegal drugs—like narcotics, and in most cases marijuana—that can land you in DUI trouble; many prescription and over-the-counter medications can impair your ability to drive as well.  Any substance that can impair your ability to make decisions, or which can impair your ability to maintain alertness, should not be taken before driving.  Even over-the-counter medications as commonplace as Gravol or allergy meds can make you groggy and impair your ability to focus on the road.  And, as any professional DUI attorney can tell you, the restrictions don’t just apply to the road; you can receive a DUI charge for operating heavy machinery while under the influence at work, as well.

4) Vehicular assault.  If you are involved in an automobile accident in which an individual is killed while you are committing another traffic offense (like DUI or DWAI, texting and driving, speeding, or other forms of impaired, reckless, or negligent driving), you can be charged with vehicular assault or homicide.  You could receive a permanent felony record as well as prison time, so it is important that you contact a DUI attorney as soon as possible.

5) Reckless driving.  If you are initially charged with something more severe, like DUI or DWAI, your DUI attorney may fight to have your offense reduced to a reckless driving charge.  While you will still have to pay a fine, it will be a lesser fine than the DUI charge, you will not very likely have to serve jail time, and you will be able to keep your vehicle on the road.

It is important to remember that DUI charges do not merely apply to cars.  They can also affect motorcycles, boats, aircraft, farm equipment and other heavy machinery, horses or horse-drawn vehicles, and even bicycles.  There are a lot of details you have to know about, and the penalties when you don’t are severe, but an experienced DUI attorney can help keep you out of jail and on the road—no matter your vehicle of choice.