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Driving while under the influence of alcohol is extremely dangerous because alcohol impairs the person’s motor skills and decreases his or her ability to act quickly when driving a vehicle. The different drunk driving charges are misdemeanor driving under the influence (DUI), felony DUI, juvenile DUI, and commercial driver DUI. Drunk driving charges can also be combined with prescription drug use, illegal substance use, and manslaughter charges.
A person will mostly likely be charged with a misdemeanor DUI for the person’s first, second, or third arrest. The conviction of the person’s first offense can carry a jail sentence of up to six month and a fine of $2500 US Dollars (USD). An individual convicted of drunk driving charges will lose his license for up to 90 days, though he may be able to apply for a restricted license after 30 days. A second offense DUI conviction will revoke the person’s license for a year, and he or she may have to have a vehicle interlock device installed in his or her car for the remaining amount of probation time.
Felony DUI charges are reserved for a person’s fourth DUI offense in 10 years or for a person who was involved in a motor vehicle accident where people were injured. The penalty for this offense is usually jail time, restitution to the persons injured, fines, and the revocation of the person’s license for three years. A person will also have to complete alcohol-related classes. The legal blood alcohol consumption (BAC) limit, which is measured by either mass or volume depending on the country, is 0.02 percent in China and Sweden, while in the United States, the United Kingdom and Switzerland the legal limit is 0.08 percent. There are zero tolerance laws in effect in some countries, such as Brazil, Saudi Arabia, and Slovakia.
The legal limit for juveniles is 0.02 percent or 0.00 percent in many countries, and underage persons will be charged with a juvenile DUI if he or she tests positive for alcohol use. Depending on the country, the legal limit to consume alcohol is usually between 18 and 21 years of age. If the person is no yet able to drink alcohol legally, he or she may be charged with an underage drinking offense as well.
Commercial drivers who face drunk driving charges will be sentenced with much harsher penalties. The legal limit for BAC levels in commercial drivers is usually lower than the state or country’s legal limit. A person’s license will be revoked for a period of time, heavy fines will be imposed, and the person’s employer will have grounds to terminate the person’s position at the company. If the person is convicted of a second DUI, his or her commercial license could be permanently revoked.