To understand DUI/ DWI law, you need to know the difference between these two terms. A DUI (driving under the influence) charge can be given if a person refuses chemical testing of their blood, breath, or urine. A DWI (driving while intoxicated) charge is for driving with a blood alcohol content level that exceeds the legal limit. In Chandler, Az, Maryland, California, and other states, the alcohol content level limit is 0.08 percent.
Both charges have serious consequences and should not be taken lightly. These charges can be either misdemeanors or felonies, depending on the circumstances of your arrest. The penalties for these crimes vary from state to state, but some include jail time, fines, probation periods, DUI school, and license suspension.
Understanding The DUI/DWI Law
In general, driving under the influence means having an excessive level of drugs or alcohol in your system while operating a vehicle, whether this is by consuming alcoholic drinks before getting behind the wheel or using illegal substances. The law defines it as driving with a blood alcohol content (BAC) level of 0.08% or higher for adults over 21 and zero BAC if less than 21 years old.
There are two types of DUI charges, misdemeanor DUI and felony DWI. Misdemeanors are usually punished with fines or short jail sentences, while felonies can result in longer imprisonments.
If your blood alcohol content is under 0.08%, but you show signs of impairment such as slurred speech, inability to walk straight, etc., the officer may arrest you for a misdemeanor instead of letting you go.
What Rights Do You Have After Being Arrested For DUI?
You will be read your Miranda Rights which state that anything you say can and will be used against you in a court of law. This means that if during questioning by an officer they believe it would help their investigation, then even questions about things unrelated to what led to your arrest can be used against you. You have the right not to answer questions or speak with law enforcement if you have not yet read your Miranda Rights. If questioned, ask for a lawyer and try to remain silent until one is present.
Be polite and respectful. Remain calm as emotions can lead an officer into thinking they’ve found “proof” of intoxication: slurred speech and inability to reason. Do not run or try to hide any evidence as this may result in incriminating you more.
If you are given a breathalyzer or blood test without your consent, remember that these tests can be challenged in court after the arrest is over. If you are arrested, you will be taken to a booking area where your mugshot will be taken.
You can only post bail if it is set at an amount of $500 or less. If more than that, then your loved ones need to visit the jail and post bail. You are allowed to contact a lawyer, friend, or family member after an arrest though these conversations may be monitored by the police.
Understanding DUI Arrest
You may need to appear in court at some point after being arrested. It is best to hire an attorney before going to court to give yourself the best chance of getting out of jail with a few fines and penalties as possible. If you are convicted of a DUI, the court will determine your sentence based on how many prior offenses there have been and whether or not they involved an accident.
It is important to stay calm during proceedings. You are entitled to have a lawyer represent you in court. If you cannot afford a lawyer, the court may assign one for you at no cost.
A judge may order you to participate in alcohol treatment programs if they believe it is needed for rehabilitation purposes. In some cases, this could reduce fines and penalties for convictions related to a DUI.
If you are arrested for a DUI, the officer can confiscate your driver’s license. If your license has been confiscated by the arresting officer by the time of trial, and you are found guilty of a charge related to DUI or DWI, then your driver’s license will be suspended or revoked for a period of time, and you will be required to pay the associated fines. If your license had not been confiscated when you were arrested, then there may be an opportunity to get it back following conviction in court.