DUI / DWI
DUI is an acronym for driving under the influence. DWI stands for driving while intoxicated. In some cases, depending on state law, the two terms are both used to describe impaired or drunken driving. Some state laws refer to it as DUI and others call it DWI.
However, in states where both terms are used, DWI usually refers to driving while intoxicated of alcohol, while DUI is used when the driver is charged with being under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
Both charges mean the arresting officer has reason to believe the driver is too impaired to continue to drive. In some jurisdictions, drivers can be charged with impaired driving (or driving under the influence) even if they do not meet the blood alcohol concentration levels for legal intoxication.
When did the dui law start?
The first jurisdiction in the United States of America to adopt laws against drunk driving was New York in 1910.
The first DUI law was created shortly after the automobile was introduced: however, not till decades later were guidelines introduced to clearly define the level of intoxication considered illegal by law. Originally, this limit was a blood alcohol concentration of 0.15 percent, or almost twice today's legal limit of 0.08 percent.
Drunk driving actually began long before automobiles were invented. As soon as man climbed onto the back of another animal and began riding, there have been drunken horse, camel, and elephant riders. Drinking played a large part in seafaring as well.
Despite what many people think today, driving under the influence of alcohol has been against the law since people began driving cars with the first DUI arrest occurring in 1897. However, the fines for these offenses were lighter then and the driver often got away with a warning and paying a small ticket.
Today, a DUI is a criminal felony offense punishable by a possible jail time. Drivers can refuse to take any sort of testing if they are pulled over but in most states, they lose their license for a year if they refuse to be tested for alcohol. In many states, those who have been convicted of a DUI for the first time must install a device in their car that they must blow into before starting the car. If they have alcohol in their breath vapor, the car will not start.
Drivers who are under the influence and cause a fatal accident now run the risk of being charged with vehicular homicide that can carry a heavy prison term. No longer does someone get away with “sleeping it off” and paying a $2 fine when they are found guilty of drinking and driving in the US.
DUI Consequences & Alternatives
If you are facing drunk driving charges, you are probably wondering what are the possible DUI penalties that you could be subject to. Each state has different sentencing laws when it comes to a DUI conviction. A skilled DUI lawyer can help you fight your charges and assist with sentencing options if it comes to that.
The possible consequences for a DUI conviction will depend upon whether or not it is the first offense, and whether various punishment enhancements may apply. Generally, for a first offense DUI or DWI, penalties will include a fine, possible jail time or community service, a driver's license restriction, and mandatory attendance at an alcohol and drug education program. DUI punishments for second offense or multiple offense drinking and driving convictions, some jail time will almost certainly be imposed, as well as a much longer alcohol and drug education program. Attending at AA meetings, a required installation of an ignition interlock device, or impounding the offender's car are also possible DUI penalties.
You can lose your license after a DUI. But it is possible to get a restricted license. Remember, the laws are different in each state. If you want to know what will happen to your professional license, contact a Omaha DUI Defense Attorney who can help you today.
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DUI History, Consequences & Alternatives