Driving while intoxicated, also known as DWI, is a very serious offense that can result in significant penalties. One of the main ways drivers are convicted of this crime is by failing a blood alcohol content test. Here is a closer look at some of the issues surrounding these tests that every licensed driver should know.
The most common type of test for estimating the blood alcohol content of a driver is the breathalyzer test. The officer who stops you will have you breathe into a small handheld device that will give a reading. In almost all states, a reading of 0.08 percent or higher is considered intoxicated. The only exception is Utah, where a reading of 0.05 or above is the standard.
Another important test is a blood test, where your blood is drawn with a needle and tested for alcohol content.
A key element of DWI law is the concept of implied consent. Every state has laws on the books that say you give your consent to submitting to a breathalyzer test when asked by a law enforcement officer just by applying for a driver's license. Under implied consent laws, you will face stiff penalties if you refuse to take the test.
The penalties generally involve the suspension of your license for a period of 6 months to one year for a first offense in most states. If you already have DWI convictions on your record, then the penalties can be much more serious, including jail time in some cases.
Another important aspect of DWI law is the issue of "no-refusal." This term refers to policies adopted by many states that make it more difficult to refuse a blood alcohol test. No-refusal means that the officer is able to get a warrant from a judge demanding that the driver take the test. Although the driver can generally still refuse in most instances, they may be found guilty of contempt of court when they do so. Because contempt of court penalties can be quite severe, refusing a test when a warrant has been issued is usually not a good option for the driver.
If you have failed an alcohol content test or have refused to take a test and are facing legal difficulties as a result, do not make the mistake of trying to deal with the issue on your own. The only reasonable course of action in this situation is to engage the services of a DWI lawyer immediately.
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