After a week of hard work or on the eve of a holiday, friends and work colleagues usually get together for a couple of drinks – a perfectly normal thing. Well, just make sure you do not get behind the wheel and drive afterwards or you may end up in deep trouble.
Driving while intoxicated (DWI) or driving under the influence (DUI) is a major traffic offense in all U.S. states. Before anyone can be charged with a DWI or DUI, however, it needs to be proven first that the person accused of the violation has a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) level of 0.08%, the legal limit for driving, or higher.
According to Truslow & Truslow, Attorneys at Law getting a 0.08% BAC level can definitely differ from one person to another due to a multitude of influential factors, such as rate of consumption, strength of drink, age, gender, body type, body fat or muscle content, metabolism, hydration, overall health, alcohol tolerance, and food taken (because an empty stomach can result to a higher BAC level), etc.
Medical professionals say that a person’s BAC clock starts about 15 minutes after he/she finishes his/her first drink and that if he/she takes only one standard drink every hour then his/her BAC level will more likely remain within safe limits. According to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA), a standard drink could be equivalent to:
- a 12 oz. beer
- a shot of 1.5 oz. of distilled spirit or 1 oz. of 100 proof liquor
- a 4 – 5 oz. glass of (table) wine
Those who would be caught with a BAC level of 0.08% will be charged with a DUI misdemeanor; however, if a person being charged has a much higher BAC level, or already has previous DUI records or if someone was injured or killed in the accident, then the charge can be raised to DUI felony.
Law enforcement officials have never been more zealous in enforcing the anti-drunk driving law. Now, while this move has had some good results, as this has led to the apprehension of frequent violators, there have also been occasions when those caught have been charged wrongly since their BAC level was below the legal limit.
Wrongful accusations usually happen in states where DUI or DWI is considered a very serious offense. These mistakes can happen, due to a malfunctioning or improperly used breathalyzer or physical signs, such as speech impediment, red eyes and awkward movements being linked immediately to drunk-driving.
Besides the hefty fines, imprisonment and possible suspension of your driver’s license, the effects of a criminal charge, much more, a conviction, will hound you for many years after your time in court and jail. This is why, no matter the offense, a Columbia criminal defense attorney strongly emphasizes that criminal charges, at any level, should be taken seriously because if you get convicted of any criminal offense, then you can expect to encounter serious prejudices in your life.