In the last few years, many states have toughened existing DUI/DWI laws in the effort to lower traffic fatalities and appease interest groups, such as MADD, otherwise known as Mothers Against Drunk Driving. Other states, have weakened DUI/DWI penalties. I will take a look at an example of both today for you.
In order to receive a DUI in all 50 states, one must blow a .08 BAC (Blood Alcohol Content) and/or fail a sobriety test. This is a constant among all 50 states; however, every state persecutes DUI penalty breakers differently. Some have toughened penalties due to rising fatalities, influence from politicians or interest groups; others have weakened penalties in order to ease overcrowding in jails for more violent offenders.
All states penalize first time offenders with some sort of jail time, with different levels of fines, depending on the city, county, and severity of the DUI (evading police, resisting arrest, injury/fatality, etc). It’s the penalization of 2nd, 3rd, and 4th time offenders that varies differently from state to state.
Colorado, for instance, automatically required to stay in jail for a first time DUI conviction. 2nd time DUI convictions earn the offender a 10-day minimum jail term, 3rd time and subsequent offenders receive a minimum 60-day jail sentence, with the severity getting steeper depending on the frequency (time between) DUI convictions and severity of the offense. In addition, repeat offenders no longer are required to wear an ankle bracelet, they either have to serve the jail time or go to a work release program, if applicable.
Florida, on the other hand, changed the penalty for 4th time offenders. Originally, 4th time offenders were permanently banned from receiving a driver’s license in the state. As long as there is no manslaughter in the conviction, a four time offender will have to wait through a 10-year no driving period in order to possibly receive driving privileges. If driving privileges are reinstated after the 10-year waiting period for a DUI conviction, then the state of Florida will reinstate the license with a limited or restricted driver’s license. Reinstatement of the license depends on the vehicle driving history and severity of the conviction. Also, an alcohol treatment program must be attended within the first six-months of the reinstatement of a driver’s license in the state of Florida.
No matter what state you drive in, be aware that DUI/DWI laws will almost always certainly involve jail time, large fines, and attorney fees from having to defend yourself in court. For more information on DUI/DWI laws, visit www.4DMV.com.
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