When getting pulled over by the police on your way home from a friend’s house results in a DWI charge, you may be dealing with some overwhelming feelings. Not just that, but there may be a conglomerate of information that you do not understand.
In states where DWI is the charge for driving while intoxicated (as opposed to a DUI), three degrees denote the level and type of charge you may receive. There are many differences between these charges and what each may ultimately mean for your case, as a DC DWI lawyer from a firm like the Law Firm of Frederick J. Brynn can explain.
The police officer who stopped you probably observed something wrong with your driving. Perhaps you crossed a solid line or made an illegal turn on red. Regardless, the stop resulted in a face-to-face, which eventually ended in your arrest for the DWI.
If you get slapped with a simple charge, it means the police had reason to believe you were driving under the influence. This may mean you exhibited physical signs of being under the influence of drugs, something that a breath test cannot usually detect. If you do wind up taking a breath test, and it registers impairment due to alcohol, this charge will be amended or changed. A simple DWI means your behavior indicated something was amiss.
The most serious in the tier is the aggravated DWI charge. If you find yourself facing this charge, it means that:
- Your breath test registered your BAC at .16 or higher
- You broke a string of traffic laws
- You caused an accident
When the accident causes bodily harm to another, you may find yourself facing a felony charge. An aggravated DWI usually comes with a high fine and some mandatory jail time.
Per Se DWI
In states that have a per se DWI charge, it means that you are presumed to have been under the influence while driving. The justification for the arrest and this charge is that your breath test registered right at .08, the federal standard that denotes intoxication. At this breath range, a driver may have had one or two alcoholic beverages, or they may have had more. While in custody, if the alcohol content in the blood rises, the charge could change. However, the police usually give the benefit of the doubt and charge a per se without recharging at a higher level.
Since each state differs in the way they handle driving while intoxicated charges, having a DWI lawyer is essential. Find one close by and consult with them as soon as you can.