Every year, state lawmakers pass stricter laws regarding DUI. If you have recently been charged with drunk driving, it is in your best interest to hire a qualified defense lawyer. Additionally, due to the ever-changing and complex nature of DUI law, you should select a lawyer who has devoted his or her practice to DUI defense and keeps up with the latest laws and defense techniques.
There are several types of DUI laws. These include laws used to define what drunk driving is, laws that hold third parties accountable for contributing to drunk driving, and laws that determine punishments for offenders who are convicted of DUI.
Per se laws define the legal blood alcohol content (BAC) limit. If a driver over the age of 21 operates a vehicle with a BAC of .08 percent or higher, he or she can be charged with a “per se” violation. The penalties for a per se violation include jail time, fines, and loss of driving privileges.
Implied consent laws state that a person arrested for DUI must take a blood, breath, or urine test to determine their BAC. If the driver refuses to take the BAC test, his or her license may be suspended or revoked.
Zero tolerance laws make it a crime for drivers under the age of 21 to have any alcohol in their system when operating a vehicle. Many states have set a BAC limit of .01 or .02 for underage drivers.
Third Party Responsibility Laws
There are several third party responsibility laws. The open container laws states that it is illegal for anyone, including a passenger, to have an open bottle or can of alcohol in the vehicle. All open containers must be transported in the trunk of the vehicle, where it is not easily accessible by the driver and passengers.
There are also laws that make it illegal for bars, restaurants, and liquor stores to sell alcohol to an intoxicated person. If they do sell alcohol to someone who is already drunk, and that person becomes involved in an accident, the business can be held liable for any damages that occurred.
In some states, the Department of Motor Vehicles will automatically suspend a driver’s license if he or she is found guilty of certain violations. For example, a driver who refuses to take a BAC test may have his or her license revoked for up to one year. Many other states also use vehicle sanctions to keep an offender from driving his or her vehicle for a certain amount of time. The vehicle may be impounded, or an ignition interlock device may be installed in the vehicle.