You don’t want the three letters DUI or DWI anywhere near your driving record. Though both acronyms have different meanings, they are both a road to ruin if you don’t have the right legal protections in place.
Driving while intoxicated, or a DWI charge can spiral out of control but only if you’re not sure how to navigate it. Here’s an overview of a DWI and what to do if you’re charged.
What is a DWI Charge?
Many people think of a DUI when thinking of law enforcement citations because they usually related to alcohol or substance abuse. But a DWI might be issued if you’re just sleepy while driving.
DWI charges are based on the officer’s judgement of your situation and whether you’re in a safe state of mind to drive a car. If they believe you’re too impaired to drive, they’ll charge you with a DWI.
The exact definition of a DWI varies by state. With this variation in definition also comes varying consequences.
Some states also issue citations for operating under the influence (OUI), operating while intoxicated (OWI) and driving while ability impaired (DWAI).
These designations apply to the type of vehicle you’re operating and where. The amount of intoxication considered illegal also varies by state.
You should understand that drunk driving is a misdemeanour. This is a major setback for people whose careers depend on clean background checks.
Here are some things to do when you’re charged with a DWI.
Getting Pulled Over for DWI
The first thing to do when getting pulled over for a DWI is to remain calm. You might not be in as bad of a situation as you think especially if there are no drugs or alcohol involved.
After you receive your charge, it’s important to contact the best DWI lawyers right away. This is especially important if you’ve been arrested.
Avoid trying to argue the charges and instead, find someone who can provide legal advice right away. You want to discuss the case while it’s still fresh on your mind.
What Are the Legal Fees?
The amount you’ll pay for a DWI attorney varies based on your situation. Obviously, if you have a stack of charges against you, expect your legal fees to stack up as well.
Rarely will a lawyer work on contingency unless there’s a lawsuit pending. If you’re wrongly accused and want to sue the city, an attorney might represent you for no upfront cost if you have a strong case.
When to Worry
In general, a misdemeanor DWI charge is nothing to worry about. But this only applies to a one-time charge.
If you’re on your second or more charge, you should lawyer up right away. You might be facing serious jail time if you’ve pleaded guilty to DWI or DUI charges in the past.
An attorney will help you find solutions to avoid doing time like community service or taking defensive driving courses. For more information and tips, visit our blog for updates.
Andrea Parker is a reporter for Zobuz. She previously worked at Huffington Post and Vanity Fair. Andrea is based in NYC and covers issues affecting her city. In addition to her severe coffee addiction, she’s a Netflix enthusiast, a red wine drinker, and a voracious reader.