There are often questions about what you can and can’t do when driving under the influence. For instance, how many people know that not only the act of operating a vehicle is illegal under the influence but also a bicycle, boat, airplane, wheelchair, tractor and even a horse?
Why has DUI, DWI or even OWI’s become a serious offense? According to statistics, alcohol is estimated to play a huge role in vehicle related deaths. It is estimated that at least 39 percent of vehicle-related deaths are due to somebody being under the influence. With these numbers, not to mention the financial costs, most countries are cracking down on anyone convicted of injuring or killing someone while driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol. Laws vary within the United States from state to state, regarding sentencing. Each state are the same in that each prohibit driving with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of .08 percent or above.
In most states if you are convicted of drunk driving, you will be taken to jail, fined and you may have your license suspended or revoked. It is also possible that your license may be taken if you fail or refuse to take a breath or chemical test. In some states this is called an administrative license suspension that usually falls under the state’s implied consent law.
There are also states that allow convicted drunk drivers to drive only if their automobile has had an Ignition Interlock Device installed. This device analyzes a driverÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s breath and could disable the ignition if the driver has been drinking. In some states, multiple offenders also face the possibility of having their vehicle seized and auctioned off by the state.
How is one determined to be a driver under the influence? Historically, guilt was established by observed driving symptoms, such as weaving or a police officer administering a field sobriety test that includes walking in a straight line heel-to-toe or standing on one leg for 30 seconds. The US Department of Transportation explains the Field Sobriety Test as, “a battery of three tests administered and evaluated in a standardized manner to obtain validated indicators of impairment and establish probable cause for arrest.”
With the advent of a scientific test for blood alcohol content (BAC), motorists are subjected to the test. BAC is most conveniently measured as a simple percent of alcohol in the blood by weight. A person’s blood alcohol content is not the only thing that can determine a person’s sobriety. A driver having a blood alcohol content (BAC) reading somewhat lower than 0.08Ã‚Â %, but who also shows signs of impairment can be charged with a DUI. The Ã¢â‚¬Å“legal limitÃ¢â‚¬Â is simply the number above which a driver is automatically guilty of driving under the influence (or some related statute) without any other evidence. However, many states also allow for DUI charges and conviction when a driver has a slightly lower BAC reading but also fails field sobriety tests, drives erratically, or otherwise shows signs of being impaired.
Other ways to get yourself in trouble with driving and alcohol is to have an open container in your vehicle. In many states, it is illegal to have an empty container, even if it is hidden away in a glove box or trunk.
Driving while under the influence is not only dangerous to yourself and others but can land you in jail or a time without your license and vehicle, not to mention a hefty legal fee. Next time you are out having fun, you have to ask yourself if it is worth it.