If you are someone who occasionally goes out for a drink after work, then you might be surprised to hear that on the way home you could possibly face a DWI, or driving while intoxicated, charge. This can happen even if you don't think you are impaired. Due to the pressure put on state governments by groups such as Mothers Against Drunk Drivers, also known as MADD, the laws regarding drinking and driving have become tougher. An additional bonus is that this also boosts revenue for the states.
Since drunk drivers cause more of the fatal accidents that happen, states don't bother to differentiate in their treatment of those who occasionally drink after work and those who are alcoholics and drink a 12-pack every day after work. Regardless of which category you fall into, you will have to pay for an attorney, the same fees, penalties, fines and jail times. This is especially true for first time offenders.
Bar owners saw their business almost disintegrate when most states lowered the BAC or blood alcohol content to .08. This is the equivalent of two beers in one hour or less for most people. Legal fees can cost quite a bit and that doesn't count mandatory SATOP classes, which can run a couple hundred and then there are mandatory administrative suspensions of your license for thirty days or more, BEFORE you ever go to court and are found guilty.
Considering alcohol is legally sold, the penalties are stiffer than some marijuana charges and cost more to defend, especially for a social drinker that happens to have a drink or two, once a year, if they happen to get caught.
This is where the next charge DUI, (Driving Under the Influence) comes in. In most states, this is where the police can tell you have had a drink, but you don't test out at the .08 blood alcohol content. This charge can occur if they smell it on your breath. In other words, you can take ONE SIP of alcohol, and still have the same expense, suspension and every other hassle that a habitual drinker gets when they get caught.
The intent of these stricter laws covering drinking and driving is to make you reconsider before drinking when out eating a dinner, visiting a bar, going to a birthday party or any other social activity. It is the thought of the risk and consequences that make many choose to drink only when they are home and that result is a withdrawal from social gatherings where they would have normally had a drink or two with friends and family.
Somebody would need to take them home and not partake in any festivities, so most drinkers don't want to pressure their friends into NOT drinking at a friend's birthday or bachelorette party, because it doesn't seem fair, so they don't go. If you are a drinker, this is something you need to accept with the DWI laws that exist.
Chances are if you are reading this, you have reason to be concerned because you have either gotten a DWI or a DUI. The best advice is to be prepared to be out a lots of money, even if you haven't been found guilty, and the mandatory suspension has nothing to do with winning the court case. Most states immediately suspend your license for a minimum of thirty days, whether you are guilty or not. A good lawyer may be able to get you a hardship license and keep you from serving a jail sentence, paying a large fine and losing your license for a year.