It’s no secret that cops are on the lookout for drunk drivers more so during the holiday season than at any other time — so with that in mind, here are a few important facts to know about drunk driving laws in the U.S.:
- Although traffic laws and traffic violations are determined by state courts and can vary widely between states, all states set the legal limit for a driver’s blood alcohol concentration (BAC) at .08%; any driver with this BAC level (or higher) can be charged with a DUI (driving under the influence) violation.
- Some states have even tougher policies, and may consider BAC levels as low as .02% to be misdemeanor traffic offenses (DUIs), and BAC levels at or above .08% warrant more serious charges (DWIs).
- Every state has Implied Consent Laws, which mean that drivers are required to perform a breathalyzer test, urine test, or blood draw test if a police officer suspects that they are intoxicated while driving. Technically, it’s possible to refuse to perform these tests — but some states still allow law enforcement officials to order a blood draw test without consent, or request a warrant for a test. In all cases, refusing to perform these tests looks very bad in court.
- Drunk driving traffic violations can have long-lasting consequences, even for a first-time offender. In some states, it’s possible to spend some time in jail for first-offense drunk driving misdemeanor traffic violations. Even if jail time isn’t given, it’s customary for DWI offenders to pay a hefty fine and receive points on their licenses.
If you’ve been charged with drunk driving, contacting a DWI defense attorney should be your first step. Even if the charges aren’t dropped entirely, an attorney could be able to lessen the penalties of the charge. And considering that drunk driving is a serious offense no matter what state you’re in, you simply don’t have anything to lose by seeking help from a legal expert. Continue reading here.