Driving Under the Influence (DUI) and Driving While Intoxicated (DWI) laws vary according to the state of the offense. The most important factor surrounding any of these laws is that the repercussions are generally steep and severe. Due to the rash of drunken driving fatalities in the past half century or so, most states have enacted harsh penalties for anyone caught drinking and driving.
The DUI laws of each state define a level at which an individual is considered intoxicated. Although these levels may vary slightly, for the most part, this level does not exceed .08 blood alcohol content (BAC). Any individual caught driving with a BAC higher than the state has defined as the point of intoxication may be subject to fines, license suspension or revocation, and even jail time. The severity of the offense and the number of DUI convictions are a primary determinant in the severity of the penalty. Initial offenses may carry a penalty of a fine and mandatory attendance at a DUI traffic school or seminar. Repeat offenders may be subject to more severe penalties up to and including permanent removal of his or her driver’s license.
Generally license suspension and revocation occurs for repeat offenders. Most states have implemented a comprehensive system of monitoring the driving privileges for an individual who has had his or her license suspended but who has been granted limited driving rights. These individuals must generally employ the use of a breathalyzer system that has been installed in their vehicle and that locks the ignition if the individual fails the breathalyzer requirements.
Some DUI/DWI convictions can be expunged. Depending on the severity of the conviction and the age of the offender at the time of the conviction, it may be possible to seal the information from public access. In general, this process, and any other issues surrounding a DUI/DWI offense will require the services of an experienced DUI attorney.