Driving under the influence (DWI), driving while intoxicated (DWI), and driving while ability impaired (DWAI) are all terms used to refer to drunk driving or driving under the influence of drugs. DWAI is a less serious offense than DWI or DWI, but the consequences can still be very serious. To keep things simple, we will refer to DWI and DWI as DWI from here forward. When there is no accident, injury, or other crime involved, a first offense DWI is usually a misdemeanor, but it takes very little for the charge to be elevated to a felony. Even as a misdemeanor, the consequences of DWI are disproportionately harsh when compared to other types of criminal charges.
Understanding DWI Law
Every state has DWI laws. The laws are different in each state, but there are some similarities. Typically, any adult driving with a blood alcohol level (BAC) of .08 or above is considered DWI.
The penalties for a first offense are stiff, and in many states they become increasingly severe with repeat offenses. In most states, simply being charged with DWI can result in immediate suspension of your driver’s license.
DWI Laws Are Unusually Harsh
DWI charges present some unique challenges, and the laws are enforced with disproportionate vehemence, as compared to most other criminal laws. DWI enforcement is a very profitable business for law enforcement agencies, other government agencies, and many private entities as well.
Although you have been told all of your life that one of the beautiful things about being an American is the presumption of innocence in criminal charges, that you will be treated as innocent until proven guilty, DWI laws do not work that way. There are several aspects to DWI laws that can cause you to face serious penalties simply for being accused or suspected of DWI.
Many states deal out severe penalties for refusal to take a breath or blood test to determine your BAC. To make that even more confusing, different states have different definitions of refusal. In some states you can receive a jail sentence for refusing to take the breath test, even if you are not prosecuted for or convicted of DWI.
Working with an experienced DWI defense attorney is crucial because when you are charged with DWI you face issues other than the criminal charges. Your license may have been automatically suspended, and you may need to request a hearing with the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) within a very short time frame, in order to get your license back while you fight the criminal charge, or to get permission to drive back and forth to work.
In many cases it is possible to beat DWI charges, especially with the heavy handed enforcement tactics that are encouraged but are not always legal.
Prosecutors will try to compound your DWI with other charges to escalate the charge to a felony from a misdemeanor. Many do this inappropriately in the hopes that you will accept a plea agreement to the lesser charge out of fear, improving their conviction rate.
If you or a loved one is in need of legal assistance in Point Pleasant and Wall, call The Shamy Law Firm at 732-800-1090 or submit an online questionnaire. The initial consultation is free of charge. If we agree to handle your DWI, underage alcohol ticket cases in Point Pleasant, our lawyers will aggressively defend your rights and help you every step of the way in securing the best possible outcome. Sometimes the proper legal action very early in the process can stop prosecution in its tracks saving your time, money, and other hardships. Criminal cases can require rigorous investigation on behalf of the defendant, and involve strict deadlines. Please, contact us right away to ensure that you do not give up any of your precious legal rights.