Traffic Law DUI/DWI Newsletters
If you have been charged with driving under the influence (DUI) or driving while intoxicated (DWI) you may face a multitude of penalties even if it is your first offense. The penalties for these offenses are so varied that it would be impractical to discuss each state's penalties. Many states have adopted sentencing guidelines that provide a sentencing range for each type of offense and provide the aggravating and mitigating factors that can increase or decrease the sentence.
The first suspension in most drunk driving cases is the Administrative License Suspension (ALS). The ALS takes place immediately upon refusal to submit to the driving under the influence (DUI) tests, or upon testing over the state limit (usually .08) for breath.
Pleading no contest or nolo contendere means you admit no guilt for the crime, but merely signify your consent to being punished as if you were guilty. In the context of a drunk driving DUI (driving while intoxicated) or DWI (driving while under the influence) offense, such a plea is usually discretionary with the judge.
The penalties imposed by states for operating while intoxicated (OWI) and operating under the influence (OUI) follow the same pattern of penalties imposed by states enforcing laws for driving under the influence (DUI) and/or driving while intoxicated (DWI). In general, all states and the District of Columbia have "per se" laws defining it as a crime to drive with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) at or above a proscribed level of 0.08. percent and above.
Victim impact statements are typically addressed in cases involving drunk driving accidents resulting in serious injury or death. Such offenses are charged as felonies, punishable by incarceration of up to five to seven years in the case of injury and up to 30 years in the case of death.