We’re all taught from a pretty young age that drinking and driving don’t mix. However, there are still unfortunately thousands of accidents each year caused by this exact crime.
Even if you and everyone else are unharmed in an incident, there can still be serious legal implications for such an offence. If you’ve found yourself involved in a DUI case, ensure that you’re equipped with the best legal assistance, such as the attorneys at Steve Rice Law who provide full service for all types of criminal charges, including driving under the influence.
Here’s what you need to know about the offence.
When Could You Get Pulled Over?
A police officer needs reasonable suspicion to stop a vehicle on the road in order to be able to do any testing for driving under the influence, but a drunk driver can be fairly easy to identify, and the reasons for pulling someone over are plentiful.
These reasons could include anything from speeding and running lights to missing license plates or a delayed response to traffic signs. Even a broken taillight could have you pulled over (so ensure that your vehicle is functioning properly when you hit the road).
Naturally, if you’re involved in a car accident caused by driving under the influence, you will most likely be tested with a breathalyser or blood test after the fact and be found guilty of the crime too.
What Will Happen?
If you get pulled over, you might be tested with a breathalyser or a sobriety test in which you have to stand on one leg or perform other tasks. Getting behind the wheel with a blood alcohol content (BAC) of only 0.08% is considered dangerous and illegal, so if this amount shows up on a test, you’ll be found guilty.
If you are found to be driving under the influence, you will be arrested and taken into custody, after which a number of different things might happen.
The legal implications can be severe and can range from spending a specific number of days in jail and having your driver’s license suspended, to serious fines. Other common penalties for the offence include vehicle impoundment, license plate confiscation, ignition interlock device (IID) restrictions and if it’s deemed necessary, mandatory admission to an alcohol abuse treatment programme.
You will most likely retain a criminal record for the offence, and if anyone was injured or killed in an accident caused by your impairment, the consequences will be much more severe.
There are many more dangers associated with this crime than simply legal consequences – namely dangers to your and others’ physical safety. When there’s alcohol in your system, your reflexes are slowed and your decision-making skills and coordination can become severely impaired. This, of course, makes safe and responsible driving difficult, putting both the driver and others at risk.
You could easily cause an accident, causing bodily harm to yourself and passengers, and damaging your vehicle or others’ vehicles. You might even cause serious harm, injury, or even death to yourself, your passengers or others involved in the incident.
Injuries could have lifelong effects and even have a seriously negative impact on the mental health of those involved, which highlights the vast array of potential dangers associated with this act, and why it is considered a criminal offence.
What Do You Need to Do?
Of course, prevention is better than cure, so naturally, you’ll want to avoid driving under the influence at all costs and prevent your friends from drunk driving too. However, if you have already gotten caught up in a DUI case, it’s best that you seek out legal assistance immediately.
Ensure that you find and hire a lawyer who specialises in criminal defence and has plenty of experience with cases like yours. Any lawyer you choose to work with needs to be qualified and have the time available to work your case. They should also fit your budget – but be aware that more experienced professionals will charge higher rates and if you want to find success in your case, you need to be willing to pay for the best help.
Fortunately, a drunk driving arrest doesn’t have to result in a permanent record and you might be able to keep your penalties to a minimum if you have a good lawyer, a strong case and a great defence. You might also be able to negotiate for lighter charges and punishments.
Finally, recognise that this issue may be a symptom of an addiction. If alcohol abuse or dependence is something you struggle with, it’s important that you seek out professional help. There are various different types of treatments everywhere in the world that can help you overcome an addiction and restart your life on a fresh page.
Why is Drunk Driving a Problem?
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), every day around 32 people are killed in a drunk-driving accident and that in 2020, 11 654 people lost their lives to this rising problem. These statistics saw a 14% increase since 2019, just one year before – highlighting how quickly the issue is growing.
This proves clearly that very few people realise the dangers associated with getting behind the wheel after a few drinks. The “innocent” nature of just one or two beers doesn’t detract from the fact that your body will start to feel the effects of alcohol after only a few sips, even if you don’t realise it right away.
Unfortunately, it often takes getting caught or even a serious accident for some people to understand the dangers of drinking and driving. Don’t let this be the case for you.
Alcohol abuse is a serious killer and can be damaging to your mental and physical health, as well as the safety of others, especially if you choose to get behind the wheel after a few drinks. Make the right decision and choose to stay sober or stay home, before you’re faced with life-altering challenges and a future filled with guilt.