When you think about a charge for driving while intoxicated, what do you think? Do you think that it’s not serious or that it’s just fees or fines that you’ll pay? Do you think it’s common or a simple charge that is much like a speeding ticket?
A DWI is a little more serious than that. While traffic offenses might result in nothing more than fines for most people, a DWI can result in jail time, the loss of your license and other penalties.
Driving while intoxicated is a crime regardless of your blood alcohol concentration. While .08% is the legal limit, you can get a DWI when you have a lower BAC. You can also end up with an aggravated offense if you have a BAC of .18% or more.
Remember, unlike some other traffic offenses, a DWI can lead to the loss of your license, even on a first offense. Drivers under 21 who violate the zero-tolerance laws have their licenses suspended for six months. Drivers convicted of aggravated driving while intoxicated have their licenses revoked for at least a year. Even refusing the chemical test results in a revocation of your license for at least a year.
On top of those possible suspensions or revocations, there are fines and fees. You could face hundreds in fees through the court, have reapplication fees for your license and see an increase in your insurance rates.
As you can see, a DWI is a serious offense that can have life-changing consequences. If you’re accused, remember that you have a right to a defense.