A DUI or DWI is a very serious driving offense, one that is the cause of more than one-third of all fatal traffic accidents. Not surprisingly, DUIs and DWIs carry harsh penalties, and there is always a trend toward even harsher legislation to cut down on drunk driving.
Although driving under the influence of drugs and alcohol is a very serious crime that can result in a felony conviction in extreme cases, there is some confusion as to whether it is technically considered to be a traffic violation. Technically, a DUI or DWI is not a traffic violation; it is a federal crime that can range from a petty misdemeanor to a felony. It does carry many of the same penalties associated with a severe traffic violation, however. A DUI or DWI conviction can result in a suspended or even a canceled license along with a severe fine. If the driver has been convicted of over three or four DWIs or DWIs or if their actions have resulted in a fatal traffic accident, they may face felony charges. The number of DWIs or DWIs that can result in a felony charge depends on the state.
In short, a DUI or DWI usually isn’t considered a traffic violation, but it is a serious federal crime that almost always carries a much harsher sentence. Being accused of driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol is a serious matter that should never be taken lightly no matter where a person lives. If someone has been charged with a DUI or DWI, speaking to a trusted attorney as soon as possible to learn more about the laws in one’s state may be a smart move. Beating a DUI or DWI conviction can be a challenge, but it is not impossible. Asking an attorney about the options that may be available may be an important first step.