Drinking and driving can carry serious criminal penalties if you’re caught. However, the question of “What is the charge for a DUI/DWI?” depends largely on the state you’re caught in, your age, your number of previous offenses, whether there was any injury or property damage, and your degree of intoxication. Sometimes, the penalty will be classified as a misdemeanor, and at other times it will be a felony. But make no mistake, whatever penalty you face will be unpleasant and have lasting implications for your life.
If you are driving erratically, such as weaving in and out of traffic, running stop signs or red lights, or even running off the road and a police officer sees this, you’ll be pulled over and asked to take a field sobriety test. This test will involve you walking a straight line, touching your fingertips to your nose, and other balancing acts. If you fail these tests, you’ll be asked to take a breathalyzer exam, which will determine whether you are intoxicated and your degree of intoxication. You don’t have to agree to take the test, but you could be taken to jail and forced to give a urine or blood sample if you don’t.
Generally license suspension and revocation occurs for repeat offenders. Most states have implemented a comprehensive system of monitoring the driving privileges for an individual who has had his or her license suspended but who has been granted limited driving rights. These individuals must generally employ the use of a breathalyzer system that has been installed in their vehicle and that locks the ignition if the individual fails the breathalyzer requirements.
Some DUI/DWI convictions can be expunged. Depending on the severity of the conviction and the age of the offender at the time of the conviction, it may be possible to seal the information from public access. In general, this process, and any other issues surrounding a DUI/DWI offense will require the services of an experienced DUI attorney.
The court has some other ways too to punish a DUI convict. Some of them are detailed below:
Community Service: The court may punish by ordering you to serve the community; it is a common form of punishment in a drunk driving case. This gives violators the opportunity to pay back to the society for their criminal activity by doing something valuable for the society.
The court can ask you to tell about the consequences and dangers of DUI or can order you to clean up the highways. Even the jury can order you to do some charity work, especially for the DUI victims.
The number of days of community service varies from state to state, but it normally 150 to 600 hours. If the convict doesn’t want to serve the community, the offender can purchase the hours, it means the convict can pay instead.
Sheriff’s Labor Assistance Program (S.L.A.P.) Superior and Municipal Court Judges have the leeway of sentencing non-violent offenders to work instead of sitting in a jail cell. This labor includes serving nonprofit organizations, cleaning highways, park maintenance or other community based programs. Often nonprofit organization or government agencies utilize this program. But before ordering you to participate in a SLAP, your criminal record will be checked. Only minor offenders like convicted of shoplifting, drunk driving offenses etc. are allowed to participate in this program. Moreover, there are many rules and regulation; you will have to follow while serving your SLAP sentence.
Residential Treatment (Rehab): If you are a convict of repeated DUI crime, the court can order you to take part in a Residential Treatment Program. The offender has to spend some days as ordered by the court in the rehab that ranges from 10 days to 24 days. Such punishments provide a chance to the alcohol or drug addicts to start their life afresh.