For states to receive federal funding they must follow the guidelines set. That would mean DWI, or driving while intoxicated, would be a BAC of .08% which is the equivalent of two beers or less per hour. These set standards are applied to alcohol consumption.
There are times that people who are high on marijuana or other drugs also receive that charge. Most times though, those that have consumed drugs face DUI charges, or driving under the influence. That is actually the same charge people have to face who get caught driving after just sipping a beer, but who don’t reach the BAC of 0.08. Even though those are two different charges, they have the same fines, penalties, jail time, points and need the same amount of money to defend.
When those that drink socially are caught, the fact is that they are put in the same category as more serious problem drinkers. The social drinker who maybe has one drink or two, maybe twice a year, are always shocked to learn of this rule.
There are still some states that have the old federal guidelines in place, since they believe that the difference can be made up by a sales tax on alcoholic beverages. This can be anything from the drinks in a restaurant ordered with dinner to extra revenue from bars.
It is the opinion of many people that too much of revenues are spent going after the social drinkers, which is why they will opt for a drink at home rather than take a chance of being stopped. Doing that when in reality it is the heavy drinkers who even with their BAC levels, do not seem to be deterred from driving no matter what. Many believe that more should be spent on them instead.
With most states following the .08% rule you will spend a lot of money on a lawyer defending your driving privileges but also there is the expense of going to the mandatory safety program, SATOP, in order to have your license returned as a result of automatic suspension. All this is a major inconvenience and comes with high expenses prior to ever being found guilty. Also let’s not forget the court expenses and the fact that it remains on your record for up to five years on your first offense in most states.
If you are charged, then a good lawyer is something you must have. Although you used to be innocent until proven guilty, that no longer applies to DWI charges. Actually, just by refusing the breathalyzer test you will most likely lose your license for a year and if you are found guilty of DWI, then you can also receive up to six months jail time for the first offense and up to five years for your third conviction. Most drug dealers don’t even have to fear those kinds of harsh sentences.
Two main reasons for the crackdown and issuing a lot more of the DWI charges are the fact that more accidents involve drivers who are impaired from drinking plus more arrests are required for the federal tax dollar incentive. This also is due to public outcries, although for drug dealers, in some cases, things are easier. It is hard to imagine yourself in this situation from having one drink with dinner, but it is definitely advisable to employ an attorney right away if you do.