Drunk Driving Penalties
It’s probably no surprise to you that drunk driving penalties are getting stricter each year.
With the efforts of such groups as M.A.D.D. (mother’s against drunk driving), law makers across the nation have felt political pressures to come down harder on those convicted of drinking and driving. However, while there has been a common trend in every state that drunk driving laws have been getting stricter, they still vary greatly.
Generally speaking, no matter what state you live in if you are convicted of drinking and driving (even for a first offense) you’ll face harsh penalties. Jail time, probation, the installation of an ignition interlock system in your vehicle, insurance coverage problems, restricted travel, community service, loss of employment and expensive fines are some of the consequences you could face. And the penalties only worsen with each new drunk driving conviction added to your record. Many times, a second DUI conviction within a five-year period of your first conviction can result in double the jail time, fines and probation period.
One common thread in many states is the Administrative License Revocation. These ALR laws allow law enforcement to temporarily take away the driver’s license of anyone who has either refused (a violation of every state’s Implied Consent Law) or failed a breath test. Many times (depending on your state), you’ll have to request a hearing with a certain amount of days from the date of your arrest with your state’s department of motor vehicles. Failing to request a hearing will result in the immediate suspension of your driver’s license for a specific amount of time ranging from days to months.
States have also enacted “per se” laws, which mean that while you may not necessarily be intoxicated, having a blood alcohol content over .08% will result in a drunk driving charge. You can only be convicted of a “per se” violation if it is proved in court that your blood alcohol content was over .08% by means of a chemical test (blood, breath or urine).
Lastly, one other similarity between every state’s drunk driving laws is Zero Tolerance. This law applies to only those drivers under the legal drinking age of 21. Zero Tolerance makes it illegal for anyone under 21 to operate a motor vehicle with any amount of alcohol in their system. Depending on your state, you can receive the same penalties as an adult upon conviction.
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