Tuesday, 21 May 2013

The Dangers Of A DWI

Most Americans drive. They drive to school starting from an early age if they are lucky enough to get their first car when they are 16 years old. Later on, they drive to work, often making long commutes to and from an office. They also drive to the grocery store or gas station to run errands. They also drive to parks and beaches for vacation. Most Americans would be helpless without their car and the ability to drive, which makes a car the number one form of transportation in the nation. However, owning a car and the ability to drive are privileges-- privileges that are often abused.

Most Americans drive, but some Americans drive while intoxicated, a criminal offense that is known as a DWI. This is not to be confused with the lesser offense, which is known as driving under the influence or a DUI. 

The consequences of a DWI are severe, but this does not stop Americans from getting behind the wheel after having more than a few drinks. While few drivers are able to make it home safely, many drivers get into severe car accidents that harm, injure, and kill innocent people. Therefore, a DWI comes serious personal and shared societal consequences. A DWI also comes with severe legal consequences that graduate with the level of the offense.

There are three offenses associated with a DWI: first, second, and third.

A first offense has the following legal consequences:

  • automatic suspension of a driver's license for 40 days if a license hearing is not requested 15 days after the date of the arrest

  • a jail sentence up to 180 days or a period of probation up to two years

  • a fine up to $2,000.00

A second offense has the following legal consequences:

  • suspension of a driver's license for the duration of at least 180 days but not more than 2 years

  • a minimum term of confinement of at least 30 days but not more than 365 days

  • a fine up to $4,000.00

A third offense, which is a third degree felony, has the following legal consequences:

  • suspension of a driver's license for up to 2 years

  • a prison sentence of anywhere from 2 to 10 years

Currently, the National Transportation Safety Board has suggested lowering the blood alcohol limit, which has been at .08 for the past 13 years, to .05 in order to minimize the rate of fatalities that occur when people drink and drive. This has begun a heated debate. One thing remains clear, and it is that something needs to be done to prevent people from drinking, driving, and destroying thier own lives and the lives of other, innocent people.

If you or a friend plans on drinking, be prepared to designate a driver, hire a cab or get pulled over. The consequences of DWIs are and should be serious. So, take the steps necessary to not be in that situation and save yourself your driver's license, court fees and a stint in your local jail.

Blair Carroll is a leading criminal defense lawyer at Carroll Troberman Criminal Defense in Austin, Texas. The law firm specializes in DWI defense and has membership with the National College of DWI Defense.