The United States is known for being a nation of cars, and over 200 million Americans today in fact own a valid driver’s license. Whether they are teenagers driving for the first time or experienced older drivers, Americans are using the roads today in great numbers. The problem is that sometimes, hazards will present themselves and some drivers may get hurt, and property may become damaged. Every year, a few million car accidents take place, and many of them are due to impaired drivers. Sometimes, bad weather such as heavy rain or snow may make accidents more likely, but most often, it is drinking and driving that is to blame. Courts of law will punish offenders, but a good criminal defense attorney may argue for the use of interlock devices in the offender’s car rather than jail time. These ignition interlock devices can grant the offender their mobility but prevent further drinking offenses. How might this work?
Alcohol and the Road
It is safe to say that drinking and driving absolutely do not mix. Some Americans mistakenly think that they can get away with driving “buzzed” on alcohol instead of fully drunk, but this is not true. Even a buzzed or “tipsy” driver is impaired with alcohol, and this aggressively increases their risks of getting into an accident. A drunk or buzzed driver has their coordination, judgment, and attention span affected by alcohol, and this makes them likely to run red lights or stop signs at the very least. And in many cases, they may fail to avoid incoming traffic or hot another car themselves, or they may even hit bicycle riders or pedestrians, whether on country or city roads. Some Americans are even killed every year because of these drunk drivers, and many survivors are injured and may pursue litigation against the offender.
To put it in numbers, American law defines drunk driving as operating a motor vehicle with a BAC, or blood alcohol content, or 0.08% or higher. And some states may have a threshold even lower than that. At any rate, driving with a BAC that high or higher is a crime, even if the driver never actually hits a person or property at all. Police officers may identify drunk drivers from their erratic and sloppy driving, and pull them over and place them under arrest for drinking and driving, accident or not. Over 300,000 drunk driving cases take place in the U.S. per year, while only a few thousand of them lead to arrests. All the same, Americans are strongly discouraged from drinking and driving at all. And when a person is facing criminal charges of drinking and driving, they may have some options ahead of them. They can get legal representation and argue a case for interlock devices being installed in their car, for example.
Drunk Driving Court and Options
When a person faces criminal charges for drinking and driving, he or she does not have to face court alone. Rather, they may look for criminal defense law firms in their area, and such firms may be found online with a quick search. In fact, some criminal defense law firms specialize in drunk driving cases in particular, given how common this occurrence is. The client may get a consultation from the lawyers there (this may or may not incur a fee), and find a lawyer whose experience, personality, and success rate are to their liking, and hire them.
The offender and their lawyer will work together to build their case, and present it in court. While nothing is being guaranteed here, someone facing such criminal charges may face a lighter sentence if their lawyer articulates a strong case, and the sentence may be somewhat lenient if the offender has no previous criminal convictions or if no people or property were harmed in the drunk driving incident. For example, jail time or license suspension may be exchanged for a interlock device being installed in the offender’s car, along with a breathalyzer. The offender may continue driving, but they must offer a clean breath sample to prove that they are not drinking. A passed test means that the interlock device allows the car to start, but a failed test will keep the car locked and unable to operate.