Many millions of Americans own their own car and a valid driver’s license, and this means that roads across the nation, from interstates to city roads, are busy both day and night. The bad news is that these roads are not always safe; many drivers are impaired, and this can lead to increased rates of car crashes and injuries or even fatalities on the road. And even if a drunk driver does not cause a collision, merely driving drunk, or DWI, is a major crime and can be punished. If a drunk driver faces criminal charges for drunk driving, they may want to enlist the aid of a lawyer to get a lighter sentence in court, and jail time may be replaced with anti-drunk driving measures in the offender’s car such as a car breathalyzer. Drinking and driving is always an unsafe combination, and drinking can lead a person to major trouble if they get on the road. How often does this happen, and what can an offender expect to happen next?
Drinking and the Road
Even if a person is drinking and driving and avoids hitting anything, operating a vehicle while having a blood alcohol content (BAC) of 0.08% or higher is a crime, and can lead to arrest and criminal charges. Drunk driving is unfortunately common; nearly 300,000 people drive drunk every day in the United States, and fewer than 4,000 are arrested for this crime. The result is increased rates of car crashes and injuries and fatalities, and estimates show that about 28 people are killed every day because of drinking and driving. Having a high BAC means that the driver has impaired judgment and coordination, and they may be too slow to avoid sudden developments and they may drift into other lanes, and even intercept oncoming traffic or hit pedestrians. Some drivers incorrectly believe that driving “buzzed” instead of drunk is a safe alternative, but this can still lead to impaired driving and collisions. Drinking alcohol and driving are simply not meant to go together at all, or else the roads become dangerous as a result.
Whether or not someone gets into a wreck as a result of drinking and driving, a DWI is a major crime and can be spotted by police and state troopers when a car is behaving erratically, and the driver may be pulled over and arrested. Once a person has been arrested for this, he or she will face criminal charges, and this means preparing a defense. Someone without legal representation, especially a repeat offender, may face a very stiff penalty such as jail or prison time and huge fines, or getting their license suspended. However, a person accused of drinking and driving can visit a criminal defense law firm, especially one whose lawyers specialize in DWI and DUI cases, and get legal aid. This lawyer will argue on the accused’s behalf in court and argue for a lighter sentence, often an alternative to prison or jail time.
Nothing is guaranteed, but someone accused of drinking and driving might face lighter penalties if they have legal defense and/or if they are a first-time offender. What can be done to replace jail time? An offender may have their freedom of movement preserved if they agree to have anti-drunk driving devices installed in their car, which may include an interlock device and a car breathalyzer device being installed. This way, the person convicted of DWI will have to offer a breath sample into the breathalyzer to prove that they do not have any alcohol in their system, and once the test is passed, the car may be ignited. The car may require additional testing to stay updated as the car is operated, and the car may soon shut down if the test is failed or is not taken in time. An interlock device will prevent the ignition from being used until the breathalyzer test has been passed. Such a device, and its installation, may be ordered by the court after an offender’s lawyer argues this case, and the driver may continue to operate their car so long as they prove that they are not repeating their DWI behavior. After enough time, the devices may be removed.