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How Serious is My DUI Charge?

Driving under the influence (DUI) is nothing to laugh at. Everywhere you look there are stories of people who have been hurt or killed by a drunk driver. Yet some people persist in driving when they are drunk anyway. Some of these people don’t even realize how drunk they are until they are pulled over. If you made a stupid decision and are now facing a DUI charge, you might be wondering how much trouble you are in. There are several factors that can compound your DUI charge.

Blood Alcohol Level (BAC)

Your BAC is what determines if you are guilty of a DUI. You are legally not allowed to operate a motor vehicle if your BAC is .08 or above. Even if your BAC is below .08, you could potentially be charged with driving while intoxicated (DWI). If you are pulled over, the police officer will administer a breathalyzer test to determine if you are over the legal limit. The amount that you are over will determine if this becomes a misdemeanor charge or a felony charge.

Accident and Injury

If you are involved in an accident while driving under the influence and someone gets hurt, your DUI charge automatically jumps to a felony. If you accidentally kill someone while driving, you will be charged with DUI manslaughter. Additionally, if you are drunk and you hit someone, you are more likely to flee the scene of the accident, meaning that you have also added a hit-and-run charge to your arrest. In these cases, you are going to be prosecuted more harshly than you would be otherwise.

Previous Offenses

If you have been arrested before, especially for DUI, this is going to go much worse for you. Most states have an elevated penalty for each offense, and the likelihood that you will be able to get off goes down. While you may only face fines and a suspended license the first time, it is highly likely you will face some time in jail the second time, even if you didn’t hit anyone else.

While there are other factors that might cause more problems for you, such as drug possession, having minors in the car, or driving on a suspended license, how drunk you are and what happens while you are driving are going to be the biggest determining factors in the seriousness of your arrest. If you have had anything to drink, just don’t get behind the wheel.

References:

Blood Alcohol Content

Understanding the DUI Manslaughter Charge

DUI Habitual Offenders

Tim Esterdahl

Tim Esterdahl is the editor of IFCS blog. He is a married father of three and enjoys golf in his spare time.

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