Are you facing DUI charges of any kind? If so, you stand to lose a lot if convicted. Consuming alcohol is a very common activity at colleges and universities even though it is illegal to consume alcohol under the age of 21. Many times after indulging in alcohol you may decide to operate a motor vehicle. Not only is this incredibly dangerous as someone could get hurt or killed in an accident but it is also illegal. If you are are caught driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol you can be arrested. A DUI arrest will most likely impact your academic status and can quickly become very expensive and complicated legally. If you have been charged with DUI in any state, Washington DC or Puerto Rico you need the help of our DUI attorneys.
Please contact our gay friendly DUI attorneys and DWI defense lawyers regarding your pending DUI case. They can be reached via email here. By retaining a skilled Maryland LGBQT DUI attorney you will feel better knowing that your rights will be protected.
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DUI Defense Strategies
A DUI, DWI or OUI in most states can be deemed either a misdemeanor or a felony. That typically depends on your previous DUI and criminal records and the circumstance surrounding your DUI. Regardless, if convicted you will face fines, court costs, attorney’s fees, possible jail time and possible expulsion from school. In some cases your charges may be able to be dismissed or lessened. Again, that has to do with the exact circumstances of your DUI arrest. By retaining our DUI defense attorneys you will be assured that your rights are protected throughout the entire legal process. Enlisting the aid of an experienced DWI defense attorney will ideally help your case by achieving the best possible outcome.
Difference Between DUI, DWI & OUI
DUI is an acronym for driving under the influence. DWI stands for driving while intoxicated, or in some cases, driving while impaired. The terms can have different meanings or they can refer to the same offense, depending on the state.
In any case, they mean that a driver is being charged with a serious offense that risked the health and safety of himself and others. They can apply not only to alcohol or recreational drugs but also to driving when your prescription drugs impair your abilities.
State Definitions Differ for DUI and DWI
Depending on state law, the two terms are both used to describe impaired or drunken driving. Some state laws refer to the offense of drunken driving as DUI others call it DWI and still others term it a OUI.
It gets tricky when states use both terms, applying one to alcohol and the other to impairment by drugs or an unknown substance. The meaning can flip flop from state to state. In some states, DWI refers to driving while intoxicated of alcohol with a blood alcohol content (BAC) over the legal limit, while DUI is used when the driver is charged with being under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
In other states where both terms are used, DWI means driving while impaired (by drugs, alcohol or some unknown substance), while DUI mean driving under the influence of alcohol. You have to check the definitions state by state.
There are other acronyms for drunk driving. Operating under the influence, abbreviated OUI, is used in only three states: Maine, Massachusetts and Rhode Island. The “operating” distinction encompasses more than just driving the vehicle. Even if the vehicle is stopped and not running, someone can be charged with operating under the influence.
Driving While Impaired
Any of these charges mean the arresting officer has reason to believe the driver is too impaired to continue to drive. In some jurisdictions, drivers can be charged with impaired driving (or driving under the influence) even if they do not meet the blood alcohol concentration levels for legal intoxication.
For example, if you fail a field sobriety test or otherwise show signs of impairment, you can be charged with driving while impaired even if your blood-alcohol concentration is under the legal limit of 0.08.
Drugged Driving Is Impaired Driving
If you appear to be impaired to the arresting officer, but your breathalyzer test shows that you are not under the influence of alcohol, the officer can call a Drug Recognition Expert to the scene to determine if you are under the influence drugs.
If the DRE officer’s multi-step evaluation process determines that you are indeed under the influence of drugs, you can be charged with DWI or DUI, depending on what the state you are in calls the offense of drugged driving. You have to be responsible when taking prescription or nonprescription medications that can impair your driving ability, and you are at risk for these charges even when not drinking alcohol.
After an Impaired Driving Arrest
No matter what the offense is called in your jurisdiction—DUI or DWI—if you are arrested for drunk driving, driving under the influence, or driving while intoxicated, you will be facing serious consequences.
If you are convicted or plead guilty of drunk driving, you will probably lose your driver’s license and pay fines and court fees; if it’s a second offense, you may spend some time in jail. You will probably be placed on probation and perform community service. To get your driver’s license back, you will probably have to attend defensive driving classes.
In most states, you will also probably undergo an evaluation of your drinking patterns and based on the results of that evaluation, you may have to take part in an alcohol treatment program.
That program could range from attending a few Alcoholics Anonymous or other support-group meetings to entering a residential treatment facility.
Ongoing Expense and Effects of a DUI or DWI Conviction
When you get your driver’s license back, you will find that you will also need SR-22 insurance, which could double or triple your premiums, depending on the laws in your state. You will probably have to pay the higher premiums for three years.
Also, depending on the state in which you reside, you may have to have an ignition interlock device installed on your vehicle, which will require you to pay for the device, the installation, and a monthly monitoring fee.
The bottom line is getting arrested for driving under the influence is a time-consuming and very expensive ordeal, but it is 100 percent avoidable. Just don’t get behind the wheel while you are drinking.
You can protect your health and safety as well as that of others by never driving after drinking any amount of alcohol. Your abilities will be impaired even if your blood alcohol content is below the legal limit. If you are taking any prescription or non-prescribed drugs that carry a warning of impaired driving, it’s best not to get behind the wheel. The laws are in place to keep you and everyone else healthy and safe.
DUI Arrests & Probable Cause Laws
All states have probable cause laws. Reasons you can be pulled over that may not constitute probable cause can be:
Drifting Into Other Lanes
Driving 10 Or More MPH Below Speed Limit
Driving On Center Lane Marker
Driving Or Right Shoulder Marker
Signaling Inconsistently With Driving Actions
Driving With Headlights Off
Inexplicable Slowing Or Stopping
Being Reported By Another Citizen
Determining Probable Cause
Merely being pulled over for any of these driving behaviors does not necessarily constitute probable cause for DUI in most states. Once you are pulled over you have no legal obligation to answer any incriminating questions the officer may ask you. Of course, they will be looking for signs of intoxication such as bloodshot eyes, slurred speech, decreased motor skills and an alcohol odor from your car or breath.
The office may most likely ask if you have been drinking. Your best bet may be to say ‘I would like to speak with an attorney prior to answering any questions’. Unfortunately, this may make the cop more suspicious. If you say ‘no’ you have not been drinking it may come back to haunt you later. Also, if you admit to having had anything to drink you will be subject to a breathalyzer of possibly field sobriety tests. Regardless, our skilled DUI attorneys will ensure that the police officer had probable cause to pull you over to begin with.
Implied Consent Laws & DUI Charges
Possessing a valid drivers license and being afforded the opportunity to operate a motor vehicle in the United States, Washington DC & Puerto Rico is a privilege. It is absolutely not a right as many people believe. Having a valid drivers license brings with it responsibilities that must be met if you are going to be licensed to operate motor vehicle in your state. One of those obligations is adhering to Implied Consent Law if you are charged with DUI.
Being charged with any type of DUI such as first offense, subsequent offense, drugged driving, etc. is very serious and needs to be treated as such. In the face of a DUI charge, even a misdemeanor DUI charge, you need experienced legal representation to protect your rights and driving privileges.
Implied consent laws essentially mean if you drive in any state and are suspected of DUI, you voluntarily agree to a chemical test to determine the degree of impairment.
Implied consent laws include:
- Producing a driver’s license and proof of insurance when asked
- Consenting to blood, urine, or breath tests to determine your blood-alcohol content if requested.
- Performing field sobriety tests if requested.
Not taking or being unable to complete field sobriety tests (FST’s) carries a penalty of immediate loss of license and/or driving privileges for a period of time in addition to the penalties for DUI. The length of time you lose you driving privileges becomes longer with each subsequent DUI offense.
When you signed forms to apply for a driver’s license, you agreed to comply with requests by law enforcement officers to take chemical testing to determine your blood-alcohol content (BAC).Chemical testing includes breath, blood, and urine testing. A breath test can be administered roadside or at any location; blood and urine testing can only be performed at a medical facility or detention facility.
In addition, some states consider your refusal to submit to chemical testing as an admission of guilt and allow your refusal to be used as evidence against you in court. It is highly likely that you will face more severe punishment by the courts if you refuse chemical testing. When facing any type of DUI or criminal charge it behooves you to consult with our experienced DUI attorneys. They will attempt to have your charges dropped or dismissed and if that is not possible they will do everything necessary to lessen the negative effects of your charges.
Contact Our DUI Attorneys
Our team of DUI attorneys have a wealth of experience handling all types of DUI charges and criminal cases throughout the United States. If you, or your child, have been charged with DUI, DWI or OUI please click here to email our DUI defense attorneys. With their many years if experience they will do everything necessary to effectively protect your rights, your freedom and your academic future.
No matter what state you were arrested in our team of DUI attorneys can help as they serve all 50 states and Washington D.C. including: Alabama, Alaska, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, Washington D.C., West Virginia, Wyoming and Wisconsin.