Extreme DUI Accidents and Penalties

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There’s nothing quite like sitting at a red light, calmly visiting with your passenger when you suddenly hear a loud, “Bang!” and feel your head moving backwards and forwards. What makes matters even worse is when you discover that the whole thing was caused by the negligence of a drunk driver. In 2008, almost one-third of those killed in fatal traffic accidents lost their lives due to a drunk driver’s negligence.

Fortunately, the majority of states are tightening up their laws so that drunk drivers are having to do more time and pay higher penalties for their dangerous behavior.  This new, tougher stance has developed at a critical time since it’s estimated that every 45 minutes, a drunk driver kills someone in America. Furthermore, about one-half to three-fourths of the convicted DWI/DUI drivers who have their licenses suspended or taken away just keep right on driving.

Determining Fault in Car Accidents

In general, the police, insurance agents and professional accident investigators employed by both private attorneys and other parties initially determine who they believe is at fault in car accidents. Should a lawsuit be filed, the judge or jury will make the final determination.
Since nearly one-third of America’s current vehicle accidents are caused by either drunk drivers (DWI – driving while intoxicated by alcohol) or those “high” on one or more of a broad range of substances (DUI – driving under the influence of drugs and/or alcohol), this article will focus exclusively on these individuals. They seem to be causing more of this country’s accidents than any other groups.

General Facts About DWI/DUI Charges

The following list provides explores the different DWI/DUI charges that most “at fault” drivers engage in far too often:

First DWI/DUI

In general, you can be found guilty of this offense if your blood alcohol limit (BAC) is .08 or higher. You will almost certainly lose your license, particularly in the 41 states that make sure it’s taken away from you immediately after your arrest – instead of waiting for some type of administrative hearing. Should you be found to be “just” a minor offender, perhaps due to a BAC much lower than .08 but still high enough to require a sentence, you may be put through an alcohol awareness course taught by MADD or some other qualified group. (If your offense was a very serious one, you’ll probably also face having major criminal charges filed against you). By visiting this link, you can learn more about what you should expect immediately following a DWI/DUI arrest. Once you have your driving license returned to you or obtain a new one, you will learn the true meaning of the term “higher car insurance rates.”

Field Sobriety Tests

After an officer has pulled you over on suspicion of either DWI or DUI, he or she may ask you to perform several physical (or mental) tests that a person drunk or “high” on drugs could never complete successfully. These might include tilting your head back and then having to touch your nose,  walking in a straight line, reciting the alphabet, counting backwards from 100 in 10’s or 5’s, or following an object like a pen being slowly moved in front of your eyes. If you flunk one or more of these tests, you’ll almost certainly be arrested.

Aggravated DUI

This type of charge can occur when you:  try to refuse a requested breathalyzer test, run from the police, become physically combative or otherwise uncooperative in an extreme manner. However, one of the most common events that leads to this charge being filed is when the DWI/DUI suspect has caused an accident.

Extreme DUI

Should your blood alcohol content (BAC) be 0.15% to 0.18%, which far exceeds the BAC maximum set for misdemeanor DUI, you can be charged with Extreme DUI.

Penalty DUI

This general term simply refers to any type of punishment an individual found guilty of DWI or DUI receives for their behavior. Sample penalties can include fines, community service and/or time in jail.

Zero Tolerance Rules

Be aware that four states: Oregon, Texas, Maine and Florida have Zero Tolerance Laws for Youth. These states automatically charge those under the age of 21 who are arrested for driving while drinking with a DWI/DUI simply because it’s illegal for them to even drink in those states.

DUI Charge Penalties

Depending on your driving record, you may just get your licensed suspended for a period of time and be ordered to spend a minimal period of time in jail, take classes to further educate you about DWI/DUI and/or be required to perform a set number of community service hours. If you are charged with one of the most serious types of DWI/DUI charges such as vehicular manslaughter, you might even be sentenced to a lengthy period of time in prison.

Extreme DUI Charge Legal Help

You can greatly simplify your life after a car accident if you will immediately hire a DUI attorney who specializes in auto accidents. This professional can best represent you if hired early on while all of the parties to the accident are still trying to determine which driver or drivers were at fault. The longer you wait to hire such an attorney, the easier it is for the guilty party to withhold key evidence until a delayed stage of discovery -- when it may not be as valuable to your case as it would have been had it been shared with your lawyer at a much earlier time.

An attorney who specializes in handling drunk driving or DUI cases can fully explain to you what your likely sentence or punishment will be and whether or not you should take a plea deal from the district attorney.

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