A DUI and DWI are considered among the most serious of driving offenses in the eyes of the law. DUI stands for “Driving Under the Influence,” while DWI means “Driving While Intoxicated.” Both terms refer to driving while impaired by the effects of drugs or alcohol. This usually means driving with a blood-alcohol concentration, or BAC, of 0.08 percent or higher, although a driver can be charged with a DUI or DWI even if they have a lower BAC if their driving is still impaired. Driving while impaired is the cause of approximately one-third of all traffic fatalities, which is why it is considered to be such a serious crime.
The cost of a DUI or DWI often depends on where the arrest took place as some states carry higher penalties than others. Most of the time, a DUI or DWI arrest will cost an intoxicated driver around $10,000. This includes paying fines, posting bail, the rising cost of insurance and vehicle impoundment fees.
Some DUIs and DWIs are treated as misdemeanors, especially in the case of first offenses. However, multiple DUIs and DWIs carry harsher sentences. In some states, a third or fourth offense is enough to get someone charged with a felony even if nobody was injured or killed, and even a first offense will result in felony charges if that person’s driving resulted in a fatal accident. A felony DWI or DUI conviction often warrants a prison sentence.
If you have been charged with a DUI or DWI, it may be in your best interest to speak to a trusted attorney as soon as possible. A DUI attorney could provide more information regarding the laws in your state. Beating a DWI or DUI charge is difficult, but it is not impossible if you have no prior convictions on your record.