Intoxicated driving remains a serious issue in the United States. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), more than one million people become charged with drunk driving offenses in our country each year.
These are very serious offenses. Drunk driving charges must always be taken seriously. If convicted, a defendant could face harsh penalties, including substantial fines, increased insurance costs, the loss of driving privileges, and jail time.
Though, there is a considerable amount of confusion regarding intoxicated driving charges.
Terms like DWI (driving while impaired), DUI (driving under the influence) and drunk driving are often used seemingly interchangeably.
In some U.S. jurisdictions, the terms ‘DWI’ and ‘DUI’ actually refer to distinct criminal charges. In other states, a DWI and DUI refers to the same offense.
There is More than One Way to Face Drunk Driving Charges
Drunk driving charges can come in different forms. In certain U.S. states, a DWI and DUI are separate charges, with one being more serious than the other. This can be confusing because different states switch the terms for the more serious offense.
In addition, some U.S. states have introduced new terms to refer to certain drunk driving charges.
For example, in Colorado, prosecutors use the term DWAI (driving while ability impaired) for drivers who had a BAC between 0.05 and 0.08 and displaying signs that their driving became impacted by alcohol. However, Colorado uses the terms DWI and DUI interchangeably.
Colorado law differs from other state law. For example, in North Carolina, the criminal law statute makes no distinction between a DWI and DUI, and those with a BAC between 0.05 and 0.08 are not committing a criminal offense unless they are under 21 or operating a commercial vehicle.
Charged With Intoxicated Driving? You Need Immediate Legal Assistance
If arrested and charged with a DWI or DUI, it is imperative that you consult with an experienced legal professional immediately. A local defense attorney should always handle intoxicated driving cases.
If you were charged in North Carolina, you should look for a Raleigh DWI lawyer, whereas a driver who was arrested in Denver will need to hire a Colorado drunk driving defense attorney.
Further, all DUI/DWI cases should receive fully individualized attention. The most effective defense strategy in a drunk driving case will depend entirely on the specific circumstances of the arrest.
There are some cases in which a DWI defense lawyer will recommend that the defendant pursue an aggressive legal defense. For example, pushing back hard against the illegitimate charges brought against you by law enforcement and the prosecutor.
However, in other cases, the appropriate defense strategy will be to reduce penalties, working to avoid any jail time and possibly even to preserve the driving privileges of the defendant.
Regardless of where you become arrested for a DWI/DUI, you need a defense lawyer who will focus on your individual case. This would get you the best results.
About Tarlton & Polk, PLLC
Tarlton & Polk is a Raleigh, North Carolina criminal defense firm with experience in a wide range of cases