Driving under influence (DUI) or driving while intoxicated (DWI) is a serious offense that causes a major part of traffic fatalities every year and can attract heavy penalties for DUI offenders. Depending upon the severity and frequency of the DUI offense, these penalties can be monetary fines, jail sentence or suspension of driver’s license.
A person can be charged with a DUI/DWI offense if it can be proved that he was driving the vehicle and his ability to drive the vehicle safely had been impaired due to consumption of alcohol, drugs or a combination of both.
The blood-alcohol concentration (BAC) is also an important factor in determining whether a person was under the influence of alcohol. With or without any impairment in driving, with a BAC of 0.08% or higher, a person is considered to be under alcohol influence.
Some DUI offenses are considered misdemeanors, but serious ones can lead to a felony charge. Both of them are criminal charges and will go on your criminal record. First time DUI offenses are considered misdemeanors, but can be charged as felony if someone gets injured or killed.
Penalties for felony DUI offenses are significant and can be imposed on anyone who is convicted. These penalties differ from state to state; monetary fines for felony DUI offenses of $10,000 or more can be imposed even by courts. It involves lengthy prison terms and sentence can be of seven years or more.
In some cases probation is possible, which is imposed in addition to or instead of fines or prison time, by a court. An offender will also face suspension of driver’s license. Depending upon the state and circumstances of the case, the suspension period can be at least 90 days or more.