Drunk Driving Punishments

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What is considered to be drunk driving?

Drunk driving is defined as operating an automobile after consuming alcohol. Legally, the term refers to driving while one’s blood alcohol is above the blood alcohol content limit (BAC) prescribed by state law. Depending on the state, the BAC limit is either 0.08% or 0.10%. Some states strictly enforce Zero Tolerance laws for drivers under 21 years of age (0.00 or 0.01% BAC limit).     
 
Drunk driving is also known by several other names, such as Driving Under the Influence (DUI), Driving While Impaired (DWI), or Operating Under the Influence (OUI). While “drunk driving” usually refers to the consumption of alcohol, terms such as DUI or DWI sometimes include intoxication through other substances such as illegal drugs.  

What are the punishments for drunk driving?

Every year countless lives are lost due to drunk driving accidents. Therefore the legal punishments associated with drunk driving are aimed at deterring (preventing) the recurrence of drunk driving. 
 
Sentencing for drunk driving largely depends on whether the incident was a first-time offense. First time offenses can sometimes result in a traffic citation or short-term license suspension. Legal consequences increase in severity if the person is cited for repeat or habitual offenses. Repeat offenses can result serious criminal charges and even felony charges. Also, drunk driving cases involving vehicular homicide or serious injury result in greater punishments.
 
In general, punishments for drunk driving can include:
 
Legal punishments-
 
Alternative sentencing methods-
 
Drunk driving can also have several undesirable effects in other areas of life:
 

Do I need a lawyer if I am facing a drunk driving punishment?

Drunk driving charges are very serious and are associated with very severe punishments under the law. If you are being charged with drunk driving, you should contact a lawyer as soon as possible. An attorney will be able to explain to you the DUI laws of your state. You can discuss with attorney what your possible options are and how you can minimize the legal consequences. 

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Last Modified: 07-29-2013 10:17 AM PDT

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