DUI and DWAI

Driving Under The Influence “DUI” and Driving While Ability Impaired “DWAI”

“Driving under the influence” is defined as driving a motor vehicle or vehicle when you have consumed alcohol or one or more drugs, or a combination of alcohol and one or more drugs, that affects you to a degree that you are substantially incapable, either mentally or physically, or both mentally and physically, to exercise clear judgment, sufficient physical control, or due care in the safe operation of a vehicle.

In practice, this does not mean that simply having a drink means you are “substantially incapable”, it is always the context and totality-of-the-circumstances that shows your ability to have operated the vehicle. A criminal defense attorney knows what context and what circumstances will direct your case for a dismissal, reduction of charges, or a trial – if needed.

“Driving while ability impaired” is defined as driving a motor vehicle or vehicle when you have consumed alcohol or one or more drugs, or a combination of both alcohol and one or more drugs, that affects you to the slightest degree so that you are less able than ordinarily, either mentally or physically, or both mentally and physically, to exercise clear judgment, sufficient physical control, or due care in the safe operation of a vehicle.

Typically, the “slightest degree” can be interpreted in its most broadest sense as the “slightest distraction, slightest hesitation, and/or slightest insufficient safe operation of a vehicle.” You have less leeway and the circumstances are much more difficult to operate around when looking at DWAI versus DUI.

.08 BAC? .05 BAC? And what about marijuana or prescriptions?

The law has a presumption that if your Blood Alcohol Content (or “BAC”) is .08 or higher within two hours of driving you are “substantially incapable” of operating a motor vehicle for purposes of a DUI. If your BAC is between .05 and .08 within two hours of driving, you are presumed to be impaired.

Other drugs can independently, or in combination, be the basis of a DUI/DWAI charge. If your active tetrahydrocannabinol (or “THC”) levels from marijuana use are above 5 nanograms there is a permissible inference of intoxication. Unlike the .08 BAC requirement which allows an inference of being “substantially incapable” of operating a motor vehicle, the 5 nanogram permissible inference still needs to be looked at with the totality of other circumstances that occurred.

Other medications, such as prescription medication, can form the basis of DUI/DWAI but whether or not you were “substantially incapable” or to the “slightest degree” of operating a motor vehicle would depend on the totality of circumstances and facts in your case.

What are the possible penalties? Can you go to jail?

For a 1st DWAI: A fine from $200-500; jail up to 180 days; and 8 points against your driving privileges.

For a 1st DUI: A fine from $600-1,000; jail up to one year; and 12 points against your driving privileges.

For a 2nd DWAI/DUI: The fine is the same as a 1st offense; there is a mandatory minimum jail of 10 days, up to a maximum amount which is the same amount as a 1st offense; and 12 points against your driving privileges.

For a 3rd DWAI/DUI: The fine is the same as a 1st offense; there is a mandatory minimum jail of 60 days, up to a maximum amount which is the same amount as a 1st offense; and 12 points against your driving privileges.

For a 4th DWAI/DUI (Felony): A fine amount from $2,000-500,000; jail from 2 – 6 years in prison; and 12 points against you driving privileges.

Why hire a criminal defense attorney?

The typical scenario that plays itself for too many people involves going out to have a little fun and deciding to have a few alcoholic drinks. On the way home you see the flashing blue and red lights in the rear-view window and wonder if the few extra beers shared with your friends, family, and loved ones will result in losing your driver’s license, having your insurance rates skyrocket, causing you to lose your job, and/or maybe even serving a jail sentence.

The officer may smell an odor of an alcoholic beverage, see blood shot watery eyes, and hear slurred speech. You might be asked to step outside of the car and have a bright flashlight beaming into your eyes as the officer asks you to look to the right and left without moving your head. You may have lost your balance when you were asked to walk and turn, and maybe even fumbled while you lifted one leg and put pressure on the other.

A criminal defense attorney who knows what facts and circumstances are relied on will be able to best advise you as to your options, possible penalties, and chances at a trial. A professional who has seen cases from start to finish knows what you will be facing, knows what the officer is looking for, and knows what the prosecutor will consider when the time comes to face the judge and/or jury. Facing these charges alone is not only an intimidating challenge, but not advisable. Contact a criminal defense attorney who has defended numerous charges and successfully dismissed or reduced DUI/DWAI allegations.

WHY LUND GARIBYAN LAW?

The best attorney is the attorney who spends time talking to you about your case, knows what is going on, and is willing to devote as much time as is needed to handle your case correctly. We bring big firm experience, significant criminal law experience, and jury trial readiness to you. Schedule a free consultation now by contacting us at (720) 213-3774 or by email at lglawco@gmail.com.