Driving under the influence of alcohol can lead to serious consequences. On top of the legal charges and fines, those caught driving drunk may also lose their driver’s license for a period of time. Unfortunately, this is not the only punishment that can occur; some states will revoke certain rights, such as voting or owning a firearm, during this time. In order to understand just how serious the consequences can be, it is important to learn how DUI laws are enforced.
In addition to the legal consequences that are faced by those charged with driving under the influence, many states have special laws that prevent people from driving after consuming alcohol. These laws often have a higher threshold for intoxication than does a normal DUI conviction; for instance, someone may only be charged with a DUI if their blood alcohol level is above .08 percent. If this person has a BAC of between .04 and .08, they may face a lesser charge.
What is a DUI?
DUI stands for “driving under the influence,” which is a criminal charge. When someone is charged with a DUI, they have been accused of operating their vehicle while under the influence of drugs or alcohol. In most jurisdictions, it is possible to receive a DUI even if the individual’s blood alcohol content is below the legal limit if they show other signs of intoxication. In many areas, it can also be considered a DUI to drive with drugs in your system that could impair your driving abilities.
What Substances are Included in DUI Laws?
The substances that can be included in DUI laws vary wildly from municipality to municipality. Some criminal definitions of a DUI will include drugs and prescription medication that can cause impairment, such as painkillers and sleeping pills. In other areas, people may be charged with a DUI because their body shows signs of drug use, such as dilated pupils or the smell of marijuana on their breath. Many states also include alcohol in their definitions of a DUI, though there are some areas that have no alcohol limit at all.
How do Police Test for Intoxication in a DUI Stop?
When a person is stopped by the police or arrested on suspicion of driving under the influence, they are going to be subjected to some sort of sobriety test. In fact, it is usually illegal for someone to refuse such a test even if they do not believe that they are intoxicated. While each jurisdiction may have different tests, there are common signs that officers look for.
Officers will typically check the driver’s eyes to see if they are bloodshot or dilated because this can indicate intoxication. This is why some people will try to always wear sunglasses when they go out; the UV rays in the sun can cause blood vessels to dilate. In many jurisdictions, the smell of alcohol or drugs on a person’s body is enough for charges, even if they are not detectable by a breathalyzer test.
What is Implied Consent as it Pertains to My Driver’s License?
People who have a driver’s license in the United States probably know that they are required to take certain tests when applying for a license. There is usually a written test and then either a road test or a driving simulation. These tests are often administered by the state department of motor vehicles, and they also can see if you meet certain requirements, such as vision testing or proof that you have been practicing driving with an experienced driver. The law requires anyone who has applied for and received this state-issued credential to agree to the terms of “implied consent.”
What Is the Penalty for Refusing a Breathalyzer Test?
Some people may refuse to take a breathalyzer test when it is requested by the police because they do not think that they have been drinking or using drugs. The penalty for refusing to allow officers to administer this test can be very serious and will depend on the jurisdiction. In some areas, there is no penalty, while in others, you can be charged with another crime, such as obstruction of justice or arrest without a warrant. It is important to know that in many states, you have the right to contact an attorney before deciding whether or not to submit to a breath test.
DUI laws can vary widely from one area to another. This makes it important to know what the law may be where you live, so you can proceed with caution. Not only can DUI charges lead to legal action and fines, but they can result in the suspension of your driver’s license as well. If you suspect that you may have a drinking problem, contact a support group or counseling addiction service now to get help before your DUI arrest leads to more serious problems in the future.