Drunk Driving Penalties

Drunk driving penalties are serious. With all the statistics showing that drunk driving and traffic-related accidents on the rise, law enforcement officers and legislators are very concerned. Penalties for drinking and driving are becoming increasingly more strict every year.

In the "old days", most folks would be just sent home with a warning if they didn’t live very far from where they were stopped, with maybe a ticket and a fine to pay. Well, that was then, and this is now. Gone are the days of the "good ol' boys" network of locals and sheriffs sharing drinks at the bar and then laughing about how drunk they got when they were teens.

If you are stopped by the police and suspected of drinking while driving, you will definitely get a fine the first time and probably be taken to jail for at least one night. And if you are stopped for a second, third or even subsequent violations, you'll be in serious trouble! How high the reading on your breath or blood alcohol test is will determine your next level of punishment. In many states, you must submit to these alcohol tests and, if you refuse, you could face higher, predetermined penalties.

In any case you will pay a lot of money in court costs and may even lose your license. You might even be forced to get an ignition interlock device installed on your car to prevent you from driving if you've consumed alcohol.

Then, in repeat offense situations, you could lose your vehicle. If you were driving a commercial vehicle when you were stopped, or if you had a child under 16 in the car with you, there could be additional charges involved, such as child endangerment.

If you do lose your driving license, you will most likely have to undergo an alcohol assessment interview to determine your usage and typical behavior. The counselor will make recommendations for treatment and, if you don't follow the guidelines, you may never get your license reinstated!

Getting an attorney to defend you in court may help, but it will also cost you even more money. Plus, the laws are becoming so strict that it's getting tougher to beat the rap these days.

The best way to prevent a DUI or DWI conviction is to avoid driving if you've consumed alcohol because it's difficult to determine your level of impairment with all the variables that affect it.

Another way is to use the coin-operated breath alcohol testers that are found in bars and restaurants that serve alcohol.

More drunk driving penalties: how will a DUI conviction affect your insurance?