Too many people are seriously injured in Westerly Rhode Island drunk driving accidents.
Laws against drunk driving originated in 1906, shortly after cars were invented and New Jersey was the first state to enact a law stating that “no intoxicated person shall drive a motor vehicle.” It was punishable by a fine of up to $500, or up to 60 days in county jail. Other states began to follow suit, and although early laws required proof of intoxication, they did not stipulate what level of inebriation qualified as proof. Blood alcohol levels are currently measured with a breathalyzer, or by a blood test.
Congress recognized the public health crisis in 1966 when car crash fatalities were three times as high as they are today, and created the Department of Transportation and the National Highway Safety Bureau. Because of the serious nature of drunk driving with regard to roadway fatalities, drunk driving laws were passed at the Federal and State levels. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) estimates that roughly 40 percent of all U.S. traffic deaths are alcohol-related to some degree. It is a crime in Westerly Rhode Island to drive while under the influence of alcohol, or other drugs that could impair driving capabilities.
Westerly Rhode Island DUI/DWI
Some states refer to this illegal action as DUI (driving under the influence), and others as DWI (driving while intoxicated), but it is a serious charge with high stakes punishments attached to it. Westerly criminal lawyers across the country may be able to help drivers who are charged with DUI and Westerly personal injury lawyers could assist accident victims who have been catastrophically injured, or killed by the actions of a drunk driver necessitating the services of a Westerly wrongful death attorneys.
Advocates for safer roadways
The Federal Bureau of Investigation’s data revealed that drunk driving arrests between the years of 1970 and 1986 increased by 127%, despite the much lower number in the rise of licensed drivers at 42% over that same time period. The laws became significantly stricter during this time period due to pressures from special interest groups including Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) and Students Against Destructive Decisions (SADD), leading to increased zero-tolerance laws that criminalized drunk driving behavior.
Currently, approximately one-third of all traffic crash fatalities in the United States involve drunk drivers (with BACs of .08 g/dL or higher). The ten-year period average between 2009 and 2018 revealed an average of 10,000 deaths attributed to drunk driving crashes. In 2018, there were 10,511 people killed in these preventable crashes.
Federal DUI laws
Federal DUI laws are strong and strictly enforced in Federal courts, carrying serious charges and penalties. President Clinton signed Federal DUI laws into existence in 2000 that set a new national standard for drunken driving by changing the BAC legal limit to 0.08 to save American lives. States that refused to adhere to the federal standard would lose federal highway construction funds. At that point in time, 31 states had a 0.10 BAC, or did not specify an amount. The laws were established to complement state drunk driving laws and apply to drunk drivers on federal lands including military bases and national parks. Even though it is illegal to drive drunk in every state with a BAC of .08 or higher, one person was killed in a drunk-driving crash every 50 minutes in the United States in 2018.
State DUI laws
State laws vary regarding DUI outcomes. Utah is the only state that has a different BAC than other states. Effective December 30, 2018, Utah’s BAC was set at 0.05.%. 44 states, D.C. and Guam have increased penalties for drivers convicted at higher BACs (specific levels and penalties vary by state. All states have some type of ignition interlock program and judges may require all, or some convicted drunk drivers to install them. It is best for anyone who has been charged with DUI, or been involved in a drunk driving accident to seek a Westerly Rhode Island DUI lawyer who knows the laws of the particular state where the incident occurred.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Governors Highway Safety Association are a few of the data gathering entities that provide up-to-date statistics about alcohol-impaired, or drug-impaired driving, offer materials for campaigns against impaired driving, and prepare case studies of effective practices to stop alcohol-impaired driving.
Driving a vehicle while impaired is a dangerous crime. Tough enforcement of drunk-driving laws has been a major factor in reducing drunk-driving deaths since the 1980s. Charges range from misdemeanors to felony offenses, and penalties for impaired driving can include driver’s license revocation, fines, and jail time. An arrest for even a first-time Westerly DUI offense can cost the driver upwards of $10,000 in fines and legal fees. Some states require offenders to install ignition interlock devices at the driver’s own expense.
A conviction for a DUI in Westerly Rhode Island is one of the more costly mistakes a driver can make. A Westerly DUI violation may increase insurance rates by 71.0%. There are certain high risk insurance policies and mandatory paperwork that must be filled out, such as an SR-22, a certification that states the insurance policy an individual buys meets state requirements. Individuals can lose their driver’s license, face jail time and legal fees, as well as having an ignition interlock installed in cars, or in the worst case scenario cause death to another person and live with that for their lifetime, which may include jail time.
Hire a Westerly Rhode Island DUI attorney
A Westerly drunk driver’s actions immediately after a crash can build a defense platform of a case against them. The penalties for drunk driving depend on factors including blood alcohol level, age, and repeat offender status to name a few. When a drunk individual has caused an accident, or others have been injured by a drunk driver, it is best to contact a Westerly DUI to map out strategies in court for either scenario.