DWI Laws and You: What You Need To Know

by : Peter Wallander

For many people, the act of driving while intoxicated (DWI) is one of the worst crimes that someone can commit. In reaction to that, the DWI laws are becoming tougher by the day. While there is no one set of laws that cover every state, they are somewhat similar in nature and in penalty.

Most states follow the same penalty structure, beginning with the suspension of the drivers' license. This can be done immediately if the suspected driver refuses to submit to a chemical drug or alcohol test at the time of the alleged violation. The penalty phase then moves to jail time and confiscation of the vehicle.

Some states are working on passing laws that will make a driver under the influence responsible for any type of traffic accident whether or not they were actually at fault. This would mean that if you are intoxicated and are hit by another, un-intoxicated, driver who runs a stop sign or crosses into your lane, that you would legally be at fault.

Several states, forty-two to be exact, have a condition that allows offenders that meet certain criteria to drive if their cars have been outfitted with ignition locks. These work by locking the ignition until the driver submits to an onboard breathalyzer test. If the test comes back negative, the car is allowed to start.

The laws and penalties in your state may vary. It is always wise to be aware of your local and state DWI laws and how you could be affected by them. These laws can be found on the internet for most states and by visiting your local police station.

Every state, with the exception of Massachusetts, has laws on the books that make it a crime to drive while intoxicated. This usually is defined as having a blood/alcohol level that is either above or at a predetermined level, normally 0.10. However, some states have the legal limit set lower, most of these are at 0.08 percent.

It is so important to realize how devastating the effect of driving while intoxicated can be. This crime is easily preventable by calling a taxi, a friend or by just staying home if you are going to be intoxicated. For those who don't make these types of arrangements, the DWI laws are getting tougher and law enforcement is intent on doing their job to get them off the road.