Driving While Intoxicated: 4 Things You Should Know About It

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Driving while intoxicated is one of the most common crimes. You might be surprised to learn that you’re breaking the law even if you are sitting in your car, stopped at a red light, and not moving. Not only is it against the law to get behind the wheel of a car while drunk or high, but other behaviors may put you on the wrong side of the law. These behaviors may range from a mild offense, such as driving with an open container to a serious crime in which you endanger the lives of others on the road. It’s important to know what behaviors are driving while intoxicated and how you can protect yourself if you need to take a car after drinking.

The  Effect Of Alcohol While Driving

Alcohol and driving is a common and dangerous mix, and it can also affect those that are riding as passengers. Generally speaking, being intoxicated can slow your reaction time and affect your judgment on the road. It might be hard to focus on the task of driving when you’re drunk or buzzed, which means that critical thinking is reduced. This doesn’t just mean that you have a lower ability to control the vehicle’s direction or speed, it also means that you aren’t alert enough to react when things happen in front of you, such as a sudden turn by another driver or a child darting out from the side of the road.

When you’re intoxicated, your coordination is also affected, which can make it more difficult to handle a steering wheel or other control. This isn’t always an immediate effect; while you might feel fine to drive when you’re buzzed, the alcohol might affect your coordination slightly and it will get worse as more time passes. This is why so many drunk drivers claim they only had a couple of drinks but were pulled over hours later and found to be well above the legal limit. Being intoxicated impairs judgment so much that it can seem like you’re perfectly sober to the driver, but this impairment is always there even if the person doesn’t realize it.

How To Handle The Case

Winning a DWI case is not all that easy especially if an accident occurred. If this is your first offense and you’ve never been arrested for driving while impaired, then you might be able to get off easy with the help of Minneapolis DWI lawyers because you cannot handle such cases yourself. However, if you’ve been charged with DWI you might be able to avoid a conviction if you work with a criminal defense attorney so your case can be resolved without going to trial. Being arrested for drunk driving is no joke, it can affect your life in many different ways, some of which may seem more obvious than others. It is better to allow an experienced lawyer to handle the case because this will give you a better chance of winning. 

How The Law Treats Drunk Driving

The legal limit for blood alcohol concentration (BAC) is .08 percent, but that’s just a general marker of whether or not you are under the influence. It’s a standard that has been set to try to discourage drunk driving, but the reality is that it varies from person to person. This means that you can have a BAC of .08 percent and be perfectly sober, or you could have a BAC as high as .15 percent and not feel drunk at all. Many people that have been pulled over for suspected drunk driving claim that they only had a few drinks but were still arrested, and this is due to how the law looks at your BAC.

Having a BAC above .08 percent means you have broken the law in terms of being intoxicated while driving, even if you don’t feel it. If you are stopped on suspicion of drunk driving, you might be asked to take a breathalyzer test or field sobriety tests. These are designed to measure the effects of alcohol and establish if your BAC is over .08 percent.

You can also get arrested for DWI (driving while intoxicated) even if your BAC is under .08 percent, but this usually happens when the police officer establishes that you are unfit to drive for some other reason. If your BAC is under .08 percent but you show signs of intoxication, such as slurred speech or impaired movement, then it’s possible that you could be taken into custody and breathalyzer at the station.

The Consequences Of Driving While Intoxicated

If you are pulled over on suspicion of drunk driving but refuse a breathalyzer test or field sobriety tests, then you can still be arrested and taken into custody until you are sober. The law can’t force you to prove your sobriety, but it does mean that the officer who pulled you over is certain that you’re intoxicated (or at least thinks it’s likely) and has grounds for arresting you so they can get a test done that will show your BAC. If the officer establishes that you’re impaired by drugs or alcohol, then they can take you into custody and have a doctor test your blood to determine your BAC level.

 If it’s over the legal limit of .08 percent, then you’ll be charged with a DWI or another related charge depending on the circumstances of the arrest. This can often mean fines, community service, and jail time. The exact penalties you face will vary based on the state where you live and other factors such as whether or not there were injuries in your case or if you were arrested for a repeated offense. The law is designed to establish that drunk driving is unacceptable and it’s designed to make the penalties for doing it stiff enough that people are discouraged from taking to the road when they’ve been drinking. 

Even if you don’t hurt anyone else in the process of getting arrested for DWI, there will be consequences to your freedom and possibly much more. You might have to return to court repeatedly to resolve your case. You might face jail time, community service, and other penalties. Each DWI can affect your ability to get work in the future. 

Your insurance rates will skyrocket if you’re convicted of drunk driving, which means that even in the future when you choose to drive sober it will cost you more for car insurance than ever before. Many different things will happen to you if you’re charged with drunk driving, but many times it’s possible to avoid a conviction or have your penalty reduced. Fighting DWI charges is best done with the help of a criminal defense attorney who has experience in handling these types of cases.

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