The Harsh Penalties of a DWI Conviction

The Harsh Penalties of a DWI Conviction

Jan 03

Before the 80s, the blood alcohol concentration (BAC) limit set by the government for car drivers was 0.10 percent. To intensify the drive against drunk-driving, however, which the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has identified as one of the top causes of car accidents in the U.S., the BAC limit was lowered to 0.08 percent. This means that those caught with a 0.08 percent or higher BAC level were charged with driving while intoxicated or driving while impaired (DWI).

A DWI charge is a serious offense anywhere in the U.S. In Westchester, for example, according to a Westchester drunk driving attorney, first time offenders can face up to 1 year jail-time, $500-$1000 in fines and a minimum of six months license suspension.

For repeat offenders, though, some cities and states also require that an ignition interlock device (IID) be installed in the offender’s vehicle. The IID is wired to a vehicle’s ignition; it will require the driver’s breath sample and will only allow the car’s engine to start if no alcohol is detected in his/her breath. The device also requires periodic breath tests (while the vehicle is being driven) to make sure that the driver is continuously free from the influence of alcohol.

In addition to the IID, the court may also require DWI offenders to fill out an SR-22 or Certificate of Financial Responsibility (CFR) form (also known as FR-44 in some states), if they want to continue enjoying their driving privileges. This requirement usually lasts for three years and one effect of this is higher vehicle liability insurance premiums.

With good and strong defense from an experienced DWI lawyer, who understands fully the consequences of a DWI conviction, some defendants are able to avoid conviction and the unwanted harsh penalties it entails. However, when choosing a DWI lawyer, a person charged should know that one DWI lawyer is not as good as another.