James R. Makin Law Firm


DWI FAQ

Q.     What are the possible outcomes of a DWI?
A.     Drivers may lose their driver�s licenses, have difficulty obtaining auto insurance, pay a yearly surcharge to keep driving, pay fines, go to jail, incur court costs, may lose their job and the expense of hiring an attorney.


Q.     What is the difference between a suspension and revocation of a driver's license?
A.     A Judge (either administrative or criminal) can order a temporary suspension from 60 days to up to two years. Judges can revoke a driver�s license indefinitely in serious cases or repeat offender incidents.


Q.     Why is the law so hard on driving while intoxicated?
A.     Maybe they were thinking of the others. Here is the scenario: You have been drinking . . . You get in your vehicle to drive . . . and unfortunately, you get in a wreck. You have no injuries, but have you considered the others? What others? The passengers in your vehicle, the other car you collided with, their families and loved ones. Injuries play no favorites and some injuries never heal. Burns scar horribly and death is permanent. These are all possible outcomes of any car wreck, especially from an automobile accident involving alcohol. When you are drinking . . . do you think about your own life? Do you ponder the thought of living your life with the knowledge that your drinking and driving killed, injured, scarred, or changed the lives of others forever? That in itself should open your eyes to a distinct reality.


Q.     To Blow or Not
A.     Driving While Intoxicated (�DWI�) intoxication is determined when a person loses their normal mental or physical faculties or has a .08 Blood/Alcohol level. Science tells us you must first lose your mental faculties before losing your physical faculties. Use common sense and demonstrate your mental faculties. Why blow in a machine that destroys the test breath; doesn�t work the same for everyone; is not warranted fit for human testing; and could make you sick by blowing into a tube that is used by everyone? If you refuse for these reasons, you have demonstrated good mental faculties and judgment... and must be sober.


Q.     What is .08 alcohol concentration?
A.     Alcohol concentration is defined by statute as:

  1. The number of grams of alcohol per 100 milliliter of blood.
  2. The number of grams of alcohol per 210 liters of breath.
  3. The number of grams of alcohol per 67 milliliters of urine
Practically speaking, if you have been drinking, unless you are a physicist, engineer, or a chemist, and have a calculator, you will be unable to determine if you have an alcohol concentration of .08 or more. Note that the amounts of alcohol listed above are not equal and could result in a person being innocent in one concentration, but guilty in another. More over, under the statutory definition, it is also possible for a person to be innocent of being intoxicated because there is no loss of his or her normal mental or physical faculties, but still be guilty of intoxication via the .08 standard.

Download the Blood Alcohol Content Chart



Q.     If I am stopped and questioned for suspicion of Driving While Intoxicated, do I have to submit to the field sobriety test?
A.     No. You have a constitutional right to not take/submit to the field sobriety test. Your refusal would be admissible at trial.


Q.     Is it a violation of my Fifth Amendment rights to request I provide blood or urine samples?
A.     No. The law views your blood, urine, breath, handwriting, and the sound of your voice as physical traits and part of your identity. It is not a violation of your Fifth Amendment rights, and you are not incriminating yourself when you do. You should always speak to an attorney before providing such samples.


Q.     If you are under 21 years of age, drink and drive, and get stopped by the authorities, what are the consequences?
A.     According to the Alcoholic Beverage Code, a minor commits an offense if the minor operates a motor vehicle in a public place while having any detectable amount of alcohol in the minor�s system. PUNISHMENT: Fine up to $2,000. If two (2) previous convictions: jail up to 180 days and community service. Also Driver�s License Suspension: first time for 30 days, second time for 60 days, and third time for 180 days. PLUS: The Minor could also be charged with the more serious Class B misdemeanor DWI (Driving While Intoxicated) if they are between 17 and 21 years of age.

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