DWI / DUI And License Suspension

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Driving while intoxicated (DWI) or driving under the influence (DUI) are two offenses that are taken very seriously by the police and the courts. It is one of the most dangerous things a person can do, yet no matter how many laws or warnings are imposed, people still do it; sadly, many get away with it, as well. Drunk driving or driving under the influence of drugs not only puts your life in danger, but the lives of others on the road as well. Thousands of innocent people are killed every year by people who were driving under the influence. Every state has penalties for DUI and DWI offenses, including fines and license suspension.

There are two ways to have your license suspended for a drunk driving offense. First, there is the obvious failure of a test, such as a breathalyzer or a field sobriety test. The other way is to refuse to take any of the tests to begin with, which most states view as a submission of guilt by refusal. Although you have the right to refuse the test, you will be arrested and have your license suspended or taken anyway.

A license suspension is usually the first step in a case of DWI/DUI. Most of these cases involve two different legal actions: one criminal, for breaking the law and putting the public at danger; and a civil case taking place within the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV). If you were arrested on the spot for a DUI/DWI offense, your license was most likely taken and suspended. The DMV will then officially suspend your license a few days later, and start the process of a civil trial or proceeding with you and your lawyer present. There will not be a trial or jury and this time, only a DMV employee will be acting as a judge or prosecutor. It is during this trial that the length of your license suspension will be determined. The length of suspension depends largely on the nature of the offense, such as your BAC at the time, and may take into account previous offenses you may have had. If your negligence caused an accident or an injury, then your license could be suspended for years or be taken away permanently, in addition to the jail time you will most likely face.

If your license suspension impairs your ability to work or get to work, and you have no other form of transportation available, you may be able to file a request for a restricted use license that will dictate a few hours you are allowed to drive and the routes you can take to get there. If you have a good DUI/DWI lawyer, he or she may be able to obtain a temporary license for you for the time in between your arrest and your court date, if the date is far enough in the future.

License suspension for DUI/DWI is not the only way that drunk drivers are punished. The judge may require you to attend a DUI/DWI class and/or defensive driving courses. These classes review the reasons why drunk driving is so dangerous, and show some videos that illustrate the effects of drunk driving. Many of the people who are in these classes have already had their licenses suspended a first time, and are facing further offenses. You may also be required to perform community service.

Following your suspension time, or in place of a suspension, a judge may order you to have a special device installed in your car. This device will require you to breathe into a tube before starting your car. If it detects a BAC above a certain amount, the car will not turn on. This can be quite demoralizing to do in front of other people but has proven to be an effective way to keep frequent offenders off the road.

If you are facing your first drunk driving offense and license suspension, your license will most likely be suspended for anywhere between one and six months. If this is your second conviction, it could be years until you are allowed to drive again. And if it is more than your second offense, then you may have your driving privileges suspended for good.

If you have recently been charged with a DUI/DWI offense, the next step is to contact an experienced DUI/DWI lawyer or attorney to defend you in your criminal and civil proceedings. It is not advised that you represent yourself. Having a lawyer on your side may help to reduce your sentence, too. Contact a lawyer today.


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