Next to speeding, driving under the influence is the second most common cause of fatal car crashes in the United States. Every year, impaired driving costs over 10,000 lives. As a result, criminal defense attorney Matt Pinsker says legal penalties can be harsh for people found guilty of DUI. Pinsker points out five important facts about DUI and the law that most drivers don’t know.
Table of Contents
- You can be charged with DUI even if your blood alcohol level is below the legal limit
- You can be charged with DUI even if you are not driving a car
- Any DUI conviction carries significant penalties
- Every DUI conviction has long-term consequences
- You can always avoid getting a DUI, attorney Matt Pinsker advises
You can be charged with DUI even if your blood alcohol level is below the legal limit
Every state in the United States sets a blood alcohol level of 0.08 percent as per se intoxication. If you have a blood alcohol level of 0.08, the law presumes that you are intoxicated, no matter how “sober” you appear. But if you exhibit signs that you are not safe behind the wheel, you can be arrested even if your blood alcohol level is lower than the legal limit.
You can be charged with DUI even if you are not driving a car
In some states, DUI laws apply whenever you control a car. That includes situations where you are behind the wheel, and the keys are in the ignition. You could be “sleeping it off” in your car in your own driveway and get arrested for DUI. You would not be charged for DUI if the keys were not in your ignition and you were in the passenger seat.
Any DUI conviction carries significant penalties
Judges are not required to be lenient in sentencing first-time offenders for DUI. In most states, you can get up to six months in jail for your first DUI, and some states have a minimum sentence of three days. You may be required to pay fines of hundreds or thousands of dollars, take driver safety classes, and have a breathalyzer installed in your car that won’t allow you to start your car if you are intoxicated. You may also have to pay thousands of dollars in legal fees.
Every DUI conviction has long-term consequences
Getting a DUI follows you for the rest of your life. You will pay more to keep your car insured. You may have trouble getting a job. You may be fired from your job if your occupation involves driving, public safety, police work, or the care of children.
You can always avoid getting a DUI, attorney Matt Pinsker advises
Attorney Matt Pinsker says there is a surefire way to keep from getting a DUI. Don’t drink and drive. Arrange for a non-drinker to take you home from events when you know you will be drinking, or hire Uber, Lyft, or a taxi.
Attorney Matt C. Pinsker is a nationally recognized defense attorney who has served as a state and federal prosecutor and magistrate. He has also taught law, and is the author of Crisis on the Border: An Eyewitness Account of Illegal Aliens, Violent Crime, and Cartels.