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If you get in your car and move it even one inch while under the influence of alcohol, you are guilty of a DUI. If you are stopped while this happens, an officer will arrest you and charge you with a DUI. What happens next depends heavily on the specifics of your situation. No two DUI arrests are the same, but the law is strict regarding DUI in every state. Here’s what you need to know if you are arrested for a DUI and someone is injured because of your choices.
Understanding DUI Arrests
Understanding how a DUI arrest works and what it means is the best way to help you want to avoid getting into this situation. A DUI arrest occurs if you are driving with a blood-alcohol content (BAC) of .08 percent or higher. If you are younger than 21, the law is different. Some states limit those younger than 21 to a BAC of .02 percent. Other states impose a zero tolerance law for underage drivers driving under the influence. If you have a commercial driver’s license (CDL), you won’t find the law on your side, either. The legal limit with a CDL is .04 percent and automatic suspension of your CDL.
An officer cannot pull you over only because he or she suspects you are under the influence. The officer must have probable cause, which is the downfall of many DUI arrests. Probable cause occurs when the officer witnesses you breaking a law. Speeding, running a red light or stop sign, driving without your lights, or doing anything else against the law while you drive is probable cause. Only then can an officer ask if you’ve been drinking.
If the officer suspects you have been drinking based on your eyes, your breath, or the presence of open containers in the vehicle, they can ask you to step out of the car to prove you are not drunk. You might want to take a field sobriety test or a BAC test to prove you are not drunk or to find out if you are. You have the right to refuse, but most states work with an implied consent law in which your refusal results in an automatic arrest and the loss of your driver’s license.
Once a BAC test is performed, the officer knows how drunk you are. If you are above the legal limit, you are arrested. If you are excessively over the legal limit, you face even harsher consequences. Most states consider excessive a BAC of .15 percent or higher. If there is a minor child in the car with you, if you have been arrested and convicted of multiple DUI arrests, or you injure someone while driving under the influence, you will face much more serious consequences.
What happens if I injure someone?
There is no way to say for sure what will happen to you if you injure someone while driving under the influence. It depends on several factors.
– Where you are
– Your age
– How many DUIs you have
– Your BAC
Even if this is your first DUI, you’re facing much more serious consequences if someone is injured because of your choices. However, a DUI with an injury without any prior DUIs is going to be less serious than one with priors.
The major difference if there is an injury is the way your crime is classified. If you are arrested for a DUI even as a first-timer and no one is injured, it’s a misdemeanor. If there is an injury, the game changes and you arrested and charged with a felony. A felony is on your permanent record for the rest of your life, and it can change the way you live your life.
If you drive under the influence and injure someone, you’re facing longer jail sentences, higher fines, longer alcohol rehab programs, community service hours, a suspended license, and more. You are also looking at losing your job, and it will be much harder for you to find gainful employment with a felony charge on your record.
Driving under the influence is a bad idea every single time, and it’s made horrible if there is an injury. If the person you injure doesn’t live, the entire situation becomes even worse. You can be charged with vehicular manslaughter, and you could spend years in jail. One poor decision is all it takes to change your life forever. Don’t make this decision.
If you’re arrested and charged with a DUI in which someone was injured, call an attorney right away. You have rights, and you need someone on your side who knows the las and is familiar with this kind of legal situation. Don’t attempt to handle this kind of situation on your own.