It’s no secret that drunk driving is a serious offense. Every state has different laws in place when it comes to drunk driving, and the penalties for getting caught can vary drastically. In some states, you may face jail time and/or hefty fines if convicted of drunk driving. In others, you may only have to attend a drunk driving class or perform community service.

So, what are the consequences of drunk driving in your state? How do the charges vary from state to state? And what can you do to ensure you don’t face criminal charges? Read on for more information about drunk driving charges in your area.

Factors Influencing Drunk Driving Charges

The drunk driving charges and penalties in each state depend on a variety of factors, such as the following:

The Severity of the Offense

The severity of the offense is one of the most important factors when it comes to drunk driving charges. In some states, drunk driving is classified as a misdemeanor, while in others, it’s a felony. The penalties for a misdemeanor drunk driving conviction may include jail time, a fine, and/or community service. Felony drunk driving convictions can carry much harsher penalties, such as prison time and/or a significant fine.

Your Prior Criminal Record

Your prior criminal record is also considered when determining the drunk driving charges and penalties you may face. If you have a history of drunk driving convictions, you may be charged with a more serious offense and face harsher penalties. Similarly, if this is your first drunk driving arrest, you may be charged with a less serious offense and receive a lighter sentence.

Other Circumstances

In addition to the severity of the offense and your prior criminal record, other circumstances can also affect the drunk driving charges and penalties you face. For example, if someone was injured or killed as a result of your drunk driving, you may be charged with a more serious offense. Likewise, you may face harsher penalties if you were caught drunk driving with children in the car.

Generally speaking, drunk driving is classified as either a misdemeanor or a felony. A misdemeanor drunk driving charge generally results in jail time or fines, while a felony drunk driving charge can lead to longer jail sentences and/or heftier fines. For most states, if it’s your first drunk driving offense, you’ll likely face lesser penalties than those with multiple offenses on their records.

Additional Laws

In addition to the penalties for drunk driving outlined above, some states also have additional laws that could impact your case. For example, many states have “implied consent” laws, which stipulate that if you’re pulled over for drunk driving and refuse to take a breathalyzer test, your license may be suspended for a certain period. Other states have “zero tolerance” laws, which suggest that drivers under the age of 21 will face stiffer penalties than those over the legal drinking age if they get caught drunk driving.

Staying Protected

It’s important to understand how drunk driving charges vary from state to state to ensure you don’t face criminal charges. If you’re ever pulled over for drunk driving, it’s best to cooperate with law enforcement and avoid any further issues. Be mindful of the laws in your area, and always designate a driver if you plan on drinking. By taking these simple steps, you can help protect yourself from drunk driving charges in your state.

Final Thoughts

Drunk driving is a serious offense, and the penalties for getting caught vary drastically from state to state. Be sure to research and understand your area’s drunk driving laws so you can make informed decisions regarding drinking and driving.

Drunk driving is among the leading cause of road accidents. It is no surprise that many campaigns are going on against it. However, people don’t even notice they have had too much to drink until a traffic cop pulls them over. Things worsen when you are unaware of the state laws you drive in.

Even with all the complications, it is not something that a drunk driving lawyer cannot help you with. Our attorneys at DWI and Traffic Law Firm specialize in drinking and driving cases. They are ready to use their experience and skills to help you turn the case in your favor. They will assist you in lowering the charges against you and even help return your license if it has been revoked.