When someone gets arrested for drunk driving, he or she will be facing several consequences once convicted. That person’s finances, liberty, and driving freedoms are going to take a hit. The consequences, however, will vary depending on the type of DUI charge filed against that person. Not all DUI charges are created equal after all. Let’s take a look at the charges that authorities could slap you with if you were arrested for drunk driving.
Any driver caught with a blood alcohol concentration, or BAC, of at least 0.08% will be charged with a standard DUI. This is the most basic DUI charge a driver may face. Many jurisdictions classify a standard DUI charge as a misdemeanor, particularly when it’s the driver’s first offense. Those who are convicted of a DUI for the first time get lighter fines, community service, probation or a minimum jail sentence. Some states may also order them to install an ignition interlock device in their vehicle. The charges, however, may be elevated to something more serious if there were aggravating factors and circumstances involved.
Your offense moves into the realm of an Aggravated DUI if you were committing another offense at the time you were pulled over on suspicion of drunk driving. The penalties for aggravated DUI are stiffer than those you could get for a simple DUI charge because aggravated DUI already constitutes a felony charge in most states.
Some factors that would elevate a misdemeanor DUI to a felony DUI include an extremely high BAC at the time of the arrest, the presence of minors in the vehicle, multiple DUI convictions, driving with a suspended or revoked license, excessive speeding, and causing the injury or death of someone.
Those who drive a commercial truck for a living are subject to much stricter rules than noncommercial drivers. For instance, commercial truck operators cannot have a drink within four hours of driving a commercial vehicle. The BAC limit in most states for commercial truck operators is also typically at half the limit set for those who drive noncommercial vehicles. So if you’re driving a commercial truck and you get pulled over on suspicion of drunk driving, a BAC of 0.04 or higher can result in a commercial DUI charge. The suspensions for a commercial DUI conviction tend to be longer and the penalties higher.
DUI charges are not limited to those who are driving motor vehicles while drunk, at least in some states. While there are jurisdictions that don’t include bicycles in their definition of the word “vehicles,” some states like Washington and Ohio apply DUI state laws against persons caught driving a bike while drunk. To them, a bicycle is just another vehicle on the road, and an intoxicated biker should face the same legal consequences as anyone who gets caught driving a motor vehicle while under the influence.
A DUI is a crime in all states, and its legal consequences are serious and long lasting. Whatever type of DUI you’re facing, you should never leave it to chance. You need to get the services of an experienced DUI lawyer to represent you in court and improve your chances of beating the charges.