No one wants to get a DWI, or a DUI for that matter. However, despite efforts to educate the public about the dangers of driving under the influence of alcohol and drugs, 1.5 million Americans are arrested each year for breaking these laws.
By this point, everyone should know better. Every two hours of every day of the year, three people are killed in alcohol-related highway accidents. Although this is a decrease from long ago, this figure is still far too many.
You may be wondering, “What is a DWI?” and how you can avoid getting one. If you do end up getting arrested for driving under the influence, what should you do next? Read on to find out.
Drunk and Drugged Driving Statistics
The statistics surrounding driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol are grim. Accidents caused by people driving while intoxicated claim more than 10,000 lives each year. Further, the property damage that results from these accidents can cost as much as $44 billion or more annually.
An incredible 29% of fatalities while driving are the result of alcohol and 22% are the result of other drugs, including prescription medication. Imagine how much safer the roads would be if we eradicated drunk and drugged driving.
The Best Way to Avoid a DWI or DUI
The best way to avoid a DWI or DUI is simple. Don’t drink and drive. Don’t do drugs and get behind the wheel. The only time you should be operating a motor vehicle is when you are sober. When you drive while intoxicated, you not only put your own life at risk, but you put your passengers and other innocent people on the road in mortal danger.
What Is a DWI?
The definition of DWI and DUI vary from state to state. However, the meaning of both of these acronyms is the same. DWI stands for driving while intoxicated or driving while impaired, and DUI stands for driving under the influence.
Both of these offenses are serious. If you are charged with a DWI or a DUI, you put the health and safety of yourself and others in danger. Neither of these is worse than the other and both are charges that will change your life.
Many things play a part in the ways that alcohol affects you. Your gender, age, bodyweight, experience, health, the amount you’ve eaten, and the number of drinks you have consumed all affect your blood alcohol content (BAC). The same amount of alcohol can result in a far different level of intoxication in two different people.
If a police officer pulls you over for DWI or DUI, you will take a series of tests. One of these tests will likely involve a breathalyzer test to test your BAC. The BAC limit differs from place to place in our country. In Texas, for one example, a BAC is above .08 percent will result in a DWI or DUI charge.
Things to Know About Getting a DWI or DUI
Now you know the answer to the question, “What is a DWI?” Now that you know that, there are many things to know if you do find that you have been arrested and charged with one. The best thing you can do is to not drink or drug and drive and not get a DWI or DUI in the first place, but if you do get one, it’s crucial that you are informed about the charges against you and the process ahead.
1. Get a Lawyer
It would be reckless and irresponsible to try to face a DWI or DUI charge without legal representation. These are serious offenses and you will need to hire someone to help guide you through the process. There are thousands of lawyers who specialize in this realm. You can find a good lawyer with a simple internet search. If you live in Houston or Harris counties in Texas, you might want to contact DWI Harris County for help first and foremost.
2. DWI and DUIs Are Complicated
It may seem simple and cut and dry. You drank, you were intoxicated, and you got arrested. But the whole process is a bit more complicated than that. First, did you know that you can get a DWI or DUI when driving any vehicle? You don’t have to be driving a car to be arrested for driving under the influence. You can also be arrested for a DWI or DUI when driving a boat, an ATV, a golf cart, or even a bicycle.
Furthermore, you can be charged with a DWI or DUI even if that wasn’t the reason you were pulled over. Your driving may have been perfect, but if the police officer stops you for a broken taillight and decides to give you a breathalyzer test and you fail, you are still getting charged.
3. Insurance Rates Will Increase
It is common sense, but some people may be surprised when they learn that their commission of a DWI offense will result in higher car insurance rates. If you drive while intoxicated and get arrested, your insurance company will see that you are a risk and will raise your rates accordingly.
4. License Loss Is Likely
You also shouldn’t be surprised to learn that you will probably lose your driver’s license for some period of time, even if it’s only your first offense. In Texas, first-time offenders can lose their license for up to a year, and subsequent offenses will result in even lengthier revocation.
5. DWIs Don’t Go Away
Other possible punishment for DWI and DUI offenses can include fines, jail time, vehicle impound, and mandated treatment. Those aren’t the worst of it, though. The worst part about getting convicted of a DWI or DUI is that it will stick with you for a while. It will remain on your record for at least the next five years, and in some states for even longer.
This can affect your life in many negative ways. It may show up on background checks run by employers or potential landlords and can keep you from living your best life to the fullest. It is a mark against you, and it doesn’t look good at all.
Don’t Drink and Drive
Now that you know the answer to the question, “What is a DWI?” you can avoid ever getting one. Again, the best way to avoid a DWI or DUI is to not drink or do drugs and get behind the wheel of a vehicle. However, if you did get arrested for driving under the influence, you have a long road ahead of you. Good luck.
If you’re interested in reading more articles about alcohol on our site, check out our Burgers and Beer or Wine sections.