In most states, driving under the influence of intoxicants (DUII) is considered a misdemeanor, and offenders face punishments such as fines, probation, community service, and license suspension. However, some case-specific factors expose individuals to harsher penalties. If you have a drunk driving charge, it's essential to understand the potential punishments and to talk with a DUII attorney. Below are some factors that may positively affect the outcome of your case.
Low BAC level
For you to be charged with DUII, your blood alcohol concentration (BAC) must be above the legal limit. BAC refers to the percentage of alcohol in your bloodstream. In most states, the legal BAC limit is 0.08%. However, you can still be arrested and charged with DUII, even if your BAC is below the limit. For example, reckless driving and failure to pass field sobriety tests may land you in court, even with low BAC levels.
A low BAC can earn you less severe punishment. For example, if the level is at 0.06% and you pass the sobriety tests, you may get minor penalties such as license suspension for a shorter period. If your BAC level is below the legal limit, your attorney can help you avoid a DUII conviction altogether.
Have you ever been charged with drunk driving before? If so, a repeat offense can attract harsh penalties. Depending on the state and court, a repeat DUII charge can attract more severe punishment, including jail time. However, if the DUII charge is your first traffic offense, you may end up with lesser punishment. Similarly, if the DUII is your first conviction and you have never been charged with any crime before, you can also get lesser penalties.
Minor Accidents and Injuries
A person who injures pedestrians or causes an accident while driving under the influence of intoxicants is likely to face harsh penalties. However, the severity of the punishment depends on the nature of the accident and injuries. For example, for minor accidents with no injuries, the defendant may end up with misdemeanor charges. However, if the accident causes severe injuries or death, one may get jail time.
Illegal Traffic Stop
For a cop to stop and arrest you for drunk driving, they need reasonable suspicion that a crime has been committed. Such crimes include traffic violations such as speeding, illegal lane changes, reckless driving, and failure to stop at a red light. If a cop stops you illegally, any charges they bring against you, including DUII, may be inadmissible in court. However, this rule may not apply to DUI checkpoints and other roadblocks.
If you've been charged with drunk driving, it's essential to build a strong defense. The above factors can favor your case and earn you minor penalties. Consult a DUII attorney for legal assistance!