A DUI/DWI charge is based upon someone operating, or being in actual physical control, of a motor vehicle while under the influence of alcohol or some other controlled substance, to the extent that their mental faculties are impaired, and/or their Blood Alcohol Content is above the legal limit. To learn more about Drunk Driving criminal charges, contact Phoenix DUI attorney Sonja Duckstein.
Driving Under the Influence/ Driving While Intoxicated
A DUI or DWI occurs when someone is operating, or is in actual physical control, of a motor vehicle while under the influence of alcohol or other controlled substance, to the extent that their mental faculties are impaired and/or their blood alcohol content (BAC) is above the legal limit. Even for a first offense, penalties can include license suspension, substantial fines, community service, mandatory attendance at a state or DMV approved alcohol program, mandatory overnight incarceration and the required installation (at the offender’s expense) of a car ignition locking device. In addition, it typically results in higher insurance premiums and an offender may become ineligible for credit.
Driving Under the Influence of Drugs or Prescription Medications
Most people know that it is illegal to drive under the influence of illegal drugs, but many believe they can avoid a conviction for DUI/DWI by producing a prescription for the drug in question. This is not true. A DUI/DWI (drugs) charge has nothing to do with whether or not possession of the drug was lawful. The legal issue in any DUI/DWI case is whether, as the result of “impairment,” the driver has lost the ability to drive safely. It is just as unlawful to drive under the influence of a properly prescribed medication as it is to drive after drinking too much alcohol.
DUI/DWI – Murder
Murder is the criminal charge for unlawfully killing someone, either deliberately and intentionally or recklessly with extreme disregard for human life. In some states, when someone driving under the influence causes an accident in which someone is killed the driver may be charged with murder if the circumstances are particularly aggravated.
DUI/DWI – Manslaughter
Manslaughter is the criminal charge for unlawfully killing someone without actually intending to do so. When someone is driving under the influence and causes an accident in which someone is killed, the driver may be charged with manslaughter.
DUI/DWI with Prior Convictions
In all 50 states, repeat DUI/DWI offenders face progressively stiffer penalties. In some states, the third or fourth offense may be charged as a felony and, upon a conviction, result in a multi-year state prison term. The elements of the offense are the same, whether or not there are prior convictions.