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The Cold, Hard Facts About Drinking and Driving

Drunk driving lawyers

Did you know that there are nearly 45,000 Ohio residents who have been convicted of operating a vehicle while impaired five or more times? Depending on their blood alcohol content and the state in which they are charged, perpetrators of drunk driving may be charged with DUI, DWI, or OVI. Regardless of the specific charge and potential penalties, each drunk driving charge is serious, because even “minor” inebriation can lead to tragic consequences.

Of course, it’s easy to forget all this when you’re blowing off steam at a bar, or spending a night drinking and catching up with old friends, or when you’re getting ready to come home from a football game or — do you see where this is going? In order to avoid any kind of bad situation you might find yourself in (including auto accidents or far, far worse), you need to understand the facts on what could happen if you drink and drive. So, here’s a quick fact sheet to snap you back to reality. First up, is drunk driving a felony?

Is drunk driving a felony?

Typically, the answer to this question is no. Each state passes its own laws and regulations dealing with drunk driving, and most have first-time DWI offenses as misdemeanors, not felonies. However, there are often much steeper penalties for drunk driving when some kind of accident or injury results from it. In other words, drunk driving can indeed become a felony under the right circumstances. And everything can change at a moment’s notice.

Will drunk driving land me behind bars?

Obviously, if a police officer pulls you over and finds you’re driving under the influence, he or she simply can’t let you continue operating your vehicle. As a result, you’ll likely head back to the police station to spend the night. Beyond that, however, certain states have passed laws that force first-time offenders to spent a minimum amount of time in jail (typically a few days) in order to send a strong message not to repeat the action. Of course, just as we mentioned above, the worse the circumstances, the more potential for serious jail or prison time.

OK, hit me: What am I looking at for legal fees?

The consequences of drunk driving aren’t always time spent locked up. Most often, they’re related to the cost of hiring a DWI defense attorney to help represent you in court. All in all, you’d do well to stop asking yourself, “Is drunk driving a felony?” and start doing some math. There are legal fees, usually in the thousands. There’s the towing fee for your car, usually a couple hundred bucks. There’s the bail, if you can post it. There are classes, if the court rules them necessary. In other words, you’re looking at tens of thousands of dollars — is that worth it?

There are the facts, folks. Study them. Commit them to memory. Print them out and staple them to your dashboard if you have to. Whatever you do, understand exactly what drinking and driving can cost you. Refernce materials: Drunk driving lawyer

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