Charged with a DUI? What You Should Know

DUI driving under the influence

DUI or Driving Under the Influence of alcohol, drugs, or any other controlled substance is a serious crime. The law looks at it as an offense where you endanger not just your own life and safety, but also the safety of other people on the road. 

DUI can be for drugs or alcohol

Aside from use of alcohol and illegal drugs, you could get charged with a DUI if you have consumed any medicine that hampers your judgment on the road. The penalties will apply even if you have a valid doctor’s prescription for a medical condition and can legally take the drug. 

Contact an Attorney for Advice

If you’re facing DUI charges, you should get a free lawyer consultation for advice on the next steps to take. Do keep in mind that any person facing DUI charges is presumed innocent until their guilt is proven. If a law enforcement officer suspects that you’ve been drinking and driving, they can stop you and ask that you take a Blood Alcohol Concentration (BAC) test. The BAC is used to assess the alcohol levels in your blood, urine, or breath. You have the option of refusing to take the test, and the officer may suspend your license.

Permissible Blood Alcohol Concentration is 0.08%, which may be just one drink

The maximum percentage of alcohol in your blood cannot be more than 0.08%, and in most states, this rule is strictly enforced. Since the legal age for consuming alcohol is 21 years, a single charge can earn you multiple penalties. You’ll incur a misdemeanor or felony according to various factors such as age, BAC levels, and damages caused to other people, their property, and possible injuries to the passengers in the car you were driving. If there were children in the car, the penalties are harsher. 

Girls have a greater risk for a DUI because one drink for a female is like two for males

Did you know that girls get drunk quicker and stay drunk longer? The simple reason for this is biology. Males have more water and enzymes in their bodies that allow them absorb alcohol more efficiently than women. A few drinks for a male will make them reckless and aggressive; even one drink for a girl renders her incapable of protecting herself or driving safely.

BAC for girls

If you’ve ever seen a BAC (Blood Alcohol Content) card, you will know that girls’ blood alcohol content rises at a faster rate than boys. But BAC cards have not caught on in the seven years we’re been writing about alcohol. What do the numbers on the BAC cards really mean? When girls have just one drink, brain function is impaired. Reflexes are impaired. Judgement is impaired. They are no longer able to say no or drive safely. Is this new information for you?

If you have more than one DUI Offenses you will receive harsher penalties

The most critical factor is whether you’ve been charged with a DUI before. Every state sets up their possible peanties differently, but this article will use Maryland as the example. 

As your Laurel criminal defense attorney will tell you, a first conviction can get you a jail term of up to a year. You’ll also pay a fine that could reach $1,000. A second offense doubles the possible jail sentence and the fine. It is also mandatory to get enrolled in an Ignition Interlock program. Accordingly, a device is installed in your car, and you’ll test your BAC every time that you start your car for six months or more. 

DUI charges on your record are almost impossible to expunge

In many states, enough successive DUI convictions turn the misdemeanor into a felony. In Florida, as an example, a fourth DUI charge gets you penalties for a third-degree felony. You’ll permanently lose your driver’s license in addition to a minimum fine of $2,000 and a five-year prison sentence. If other drivers, pedestrians,  cyclists, or passengers are killed in an accident caused because of high alcohol levels, the crime is aggravated to DUI manslaughter or DUI murder. Once convicted, DUI charges are almost impossible to expunge, and the record can have life-long consequences.

Avoid driving while you’re under the influence and the impact it could have on your life. It is always advisable to call a cab even if you’ve had “just one” drink.