What Are the Different Types of Drunk Driving Charges?

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  • Written By: Jami Yontz
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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.

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Post 2

I have zero sympathy for drunk drivers. Period. There have been enough people killed, and people have had enough education on the dangers of drunk driving to know better than to do it. It's just stupid. The worst part is that the drunk often escapes unharmed, or with only minor injuries, while the person in the other car is seriously injured or killed.

Personally, I'll give someone one pass with a misdemeanor. One. I think anything over that ought to be a felony, unless it's been like, 10 or 15 years. Then, maybe think about a misdemeanor. But more than once, and if the blood-alcohol level was over a certain point, then no. Suspend their license for a minimum of two years, fine them and put their butts in jail for a while. Until people think the penalties are serious, they'll keep drinking and driving.

Post 1

In Alabama, the third time is a felony, not the fourth. It also carries mandatory jail time, suspended license and a fine.

It is beyond me why people drink and think they can still get behind the wheel. I saw an actually useful driver's ed film about drunk driving. The researchers had three people go through a closed driving course sober, and recorded the results. Then, they went into a tent and drank enough to register legally drunk and went through the course again.

They filmed the people going through the course drunk, and even though it was funny, it was very serious, considering what could have happened if they had been out on the streets.

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