Traffic Law DUI/DWI Newsletters
The most frequently used test in drunk driving cases is the breath test, or Breathalyzer test. The breath test is used more frequently that urine or blood tests to test for the blood alcohol level because it is less intrusive and the apparatus is easily portable and convenient to use, even in the field. Because blood tests are universally relied upon as stronger evidence than breath tests, the prosecution will seek it whenever it can. In many states, a blood test may only be administered in cases involving death or serious bodily injury, or when the motorist required medical treatment and the administration of a breath or urine test was impractical or impossible. Although a motorist may refuse this test, the refusal is usually admissible in evidence against the motorist at the administrative or judicial hearing.
When a motorist is charged with driving under the influence (DUI) of alcohol or driving while intoxicated (DWI), the motorist is likely to face a multitude of possible penalties. In addition to jail time, fines, and suspensions, many states require motorists to participate in what is commonly called a driver alcohol education (DAE) program. For first-time offenders participation in the program may be either discretionary or mandatory depending upon the state. However, most states require participation for repeat offenders.
Although a defense of not guilty to drunk driving by reason of insanity may seem a bit far-fetched, this defense has worked in some cases. If a defendant asserts a defense of insanity, he is essentially asking the court to declare him legally insane.
The most common license violations include failing to possess a valid driver's license; driving with an expired license; driving on a revoked or suspended license; failing to notify the department of public safety or bureau of motor vehicles of a change of name or address; and operating a motor vehicle in violation of a restriction or an endorsement imposed on your license. Generally license violation offenses are considered misdemeanors. The motorists are usually required to pay a fine if the motorist commits a license violation.
In some states, motorists who have been charged with driving under the influence (DUI) or driving while intoxicated (DWI) may be able to plea bargain the charge down to a wet reckless charge. A wet reckless charge is considered a lesser charge than a DUI or DWI. In addition, a wet reckless charge usually carries a sentence of probation rather than jail time, and the fines involved are usually lower. Although the name of the offense is "wet reckless," there is no requirement that there is any reckless driving.