DUI Laws In Special Circumstances
DUI laws exist for good reason, and breaking them can lead to very unpleasant consequences for anyone. There are certain categories of citizens, however, who can expect the penalties to be particularly difficult. If you have been arrested for DUI and are a member of one of the groups below, you are going to need a qualified DUI attorney such as our featured attorney in Rochester, NY. We recommend that you contact him today, because your case will need special attention.
DUI Laws In Special Circumstances Such as Teen Drivers
DUI Laws and Teenage Drivers
Every state in the US has implemented zero-tolerance laws for intoxicated teenage drivers. This means that if you are a teenager who has been arrested for DUI, you have a two-fold problem. One is that it is illegal for you to be intoxicated in the first place, and two, you have compounded that breach of the law by driving a car. An adult driver who has consumed a drink or two might be allowed to go on his way, but not so for the teenager. Many states will charge you with DUI if your blood alcohol is over 0.00 percent; others if the level exceeds 0.02. Either way—if you have consumed alcohol at all, you are in trouble. DUI laws for teenage drivers are strict for several reasons. Teenagers have the disadvantages of less driving experience, a tendency to make immature choices, and the belief that they are invincible all working against them. To preserve your young life and the lives of those who may cross your path, society is determined to show you the seriousness of your crime. You can count on your license being revoked until such time as you are deemed capable of making better decisions.
Teenagers in Court
And that’s before you go to court. Other charges may be levied against you as a part of the same incident. For example, when stopped, were you in possession of alcohol? Was a minor riding with you? (That’s child endangerment.) Did you have an altered ID? Did you distribute alcohol to a minor? One night of “fun” can create a police record you’ll carry into adulthood. Your DUI will probably be considered a class one misdemeanor, but the court may also order you to perform community service or to pay thousands of dollars in fines. You may be required to submit proof of financial responsibility before the court will reinstate your license, so good luck getting back and forth to work without a car until then. By the way, if you were sufficiently intoxicated—about 0.05-0.07 or above the limit—you could be charged with breaking underage and adult DUI laws at once. Jail time is absolutely a possibility, as is probation for up to five years. Additionally, you will be required to disclose your conviction on college applications and job applications. Think you can just “forget” to mention it? Try it and find yourself dismissed if the truth ever comes out. There is no doubt that you need a specially trained DUI attorney like our featured attorney in Rochester, NY to limit the impact of this incident on your future.
DUI Laws - A First Offense Example
Face the Mirror
Your attitude in court can make or break you, so you need to get honest with yourself about what’s happened. Driving while intoxicated is no mere traffic violation, it is a crime and for a good reason. Countless lives have been lost. In this case, the life could have been yours, your passenger’s, or that of some innocent person who crossed your path. If you can admit to yourself that driving after drinking, selfishly risking lives, is something you have frequently done (whether or not you got caught for it), then take action now. Get some help. Go to rehab. Join AA. Do whatever it takes—not just to look good in court, but to actually get control of your dangerous behavior.
DUI for Military Service Members
In case you didn’t catch this in your basic training, the US military has high standards of conduct and they do not expect their members to commit crimes and endanger the public. If you are arrested for breaking DUI laws on a military installation, the military is able to exercise their own discretion in your sentencing, and you may expect punitive actions up to and including court martial, dishonorable discharge, lost security clearance, loss of pension, rank and pay reduction, and imprisonment. If you are arrested while not on a military installation, you will be in the state’s hands and won’t face a court martial for the same offense. However, your commanding officer can still charge you with administrative actions such as corrective training, revocation of your pass privileges, a reduction in grade or even a bar to your reenlistment.
DUI with a Child in the Car
We can assure you that courts look upon driving drunk with a child in your car as a very grave error. In the state of New York, anyone whose blood alcohol is measured at .08 or greater, driving with a person under age 16 in the car, will have his license suspended automatically, pending prosecution. If you should cause the death of a minor while you are driving intoxicated, this is considered a Class B felony which is punishable by up to twenty-five years in prison. If you drive drunk and cause serious physical injury to a child, this may be considered a Class C felony that will get you up to fifteen years in prison. Also, if you’re driving drunk with a child and you are the parent or guardian of that child, you will be reported to the Statewide Central Register of Child Abuse and Maltreatment. In other words, the State will come and investigate whether or not you are fit to have that child in your care. For simply breaking the DUI laws and doing so with a child in your car, you can anticipate a suspended license, large fines and perhaps jail time. Depending on the circumstances and whether anyone was hurt, you may be looking at loss of your license, higher fines, an ignition interlock device, or prison.
DUI While Pregnant
In some states, driving drunk while pregnant will get you a DUI-child endangerment charge. Additionally, if you are driving drunk and have an accident which results in the death of a viable fetus, you may be considered to have killed a human being by your actions, and you may be charged with feticide. You will need a competent DUI specialist such as our featured attorney in Rochester, NY to help you in determining how the local DUI laws may affect your case if you are in this grievous circumstance.
DUI and Professional Licenses
In the interest of public safety, our justice system is compelled to do whatever it can do to guard against problem drinkers being in positions of responsibility. For example, if a doctor or nurse attempts to drive drunk, how can the public be assured that they will not attempt to perform medical procedures while drunk? It’s not only medical professionals who may be affected. Teachers, for example, are charged with modeling good behavior and maintaining a safe environment for young people. A real estate broker or financial consultant who makes drunken errors might cause devastating monetary loss for those to whom they have a fiduciary responsibility. A truck driver, bus driver, or airplane pilot obviously takes the lives of others in his hands whenever he goes to work.
How The Court Views Your Responsibilities
Therefore, if you have a professional license, you may legitimately fear the loss of that license and ultimately the ability to practice your profession, if you have broken the DUI laws. While you may regard your DUI stop as an isolated incident and a departure from your normal behavior, the court will not see it that way. As far as they are concerned, you may have driven drunk (and practiced your profession drunk) a thousand times before, and are only just now getting caught. The court will not be inclined to take a lenient approach, knowing that lenience now may come back to bite them in the future, if you are arrested again after causing harm to some innocent person. Therefore, when you enter the courtroom, you are strongly advised to do so with a competent DUI specialist attorney beside you. Going to jail or losing your license are big enough worries, but losing your ability to support yourself and your family could bring disastrous consequences that will cripple your future for many years to come—perhaps for the rest of your life.
Special Concerns for Students
Incidentally, if you are now in college, certain fields of study may be closed to you after a DUI conviction. For example, it is possible that you may be barred from continuing a major in pre-law or education if you are convicted of breaking DUI laws.
DUI Laws and Job Seekers
Years ago, a person could reinvent himself fairly easily. For the most part, a potential employer with no personal knowledge of you would have to take your word for whatever you wrote on a job application unless they cared to hire a private investigator. (Not likely if you were not applying for a highly sensitive position.) Even if you were known as a criminal to everybody in your town, you could simply move away and start fresh. But welcome to the age of the internet, where your life history and criminal record are available to anybody with a computer and the ability to spell your name. Even if you apply to the most basic minimum-wage jobs, the person making hiring decisions will likely run a check on you. Why wouldn’t they? It’s free and as easy as the tap of a few keys. Since you will not be able to hide your history, the best thing you can do is to retain the services of a competent DUI attorney who can help you achieve the best possible outcome for your case. An employer will no doubt look upon a one-time misdemeanor more favorably than a prison term.
Forty million Americans use online dating services to meet potential romantic partners, but caution prevails. Too many violent crimes have been committed for many people to rush into meeting a complete stranger. So go ahead and post that picture with your best smile, or the one of you flexing your muscles in the bathroom mirror. No doubt it will attract some interested parties. And then, after the initial chats, when you decide to move to a real-world date, you will give them your name…and they will search it. Don’t even kid yourself. People who date online know how to use a computer, and they will find your Facebook page, your Twitter feed, your LinkedIn profile….and your mugshot. Game over. Get a lawyer today. Give yourself the opportunity to say, “Before you search my name, let me confess…I once had a DUI, but I learned my lesson and everything is fine.” That sounds a lot better than, “I’m really anxious to meet a woman like you, since I just finished two years in jail. By the way, can you come pick me up? I don’t have a license or a car.”
For Your Future
We never know what the future will bring and how our lives will change. Today you might be a married person who works in a profession where a DUI can be laughed off. Who’s to say you will always be in that position? At some point in the future you might once again be a job seeker or an online dater, and then your conviction will come back to haunt you. For the sake of your future, contact our featured attorney in Rochester, NY, today. And for your own safety, observe the DUI laws.
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Our featured attorney may be a certified specialist in their DUI field. If so, the organization providing the certification is not affiliated with any governmental authority. Certification is not a requirement for the practice of law in the State of New York and does not necessarily indicate greater competence than other attorneys experienced in this field of law.