One universal driving law that all states enforce is the law against driving while intoxicated. All states have drunk driving laws with the same legal blood alcohol content (BAC) limit, .08. If you are found in violation of state drunk driving laws, you may be arrested for a DUI, DWI, or other offense. All states take drunk driving charges seriously, and out of state residents are not exempt. Being arrested for a DUI out of state could lead to penalties both in the state in which you were arrested and in your home state.
All states have set a legal blood alcohol content, above which you can be charged with driving while intoxicated or driving under the influence. Additionally, most states have “implied consent” laws under which law enforcement officials can arrest you for driving drunk even if you refuse to submit a breath or blood sample.
Although some argue that implied consent laws violate your rights against self-incrimination and illegal search and seizure, the justice system has argued that driving is a privilege, not a right, and therefore it can be taken away from you. Additionally, because drunk driving has proven to be so dangerous, they believe that it is better to remove drunk drivers from the road without expressed consent rather than allow them to remain a hazard on the roads.
Thus, when you get in the car and turn on the ignition, you are “consenting” through your actions to subject yourself to drunk driving tests, should police tell you to pull over. If the circumstances, such as your inability to drive safely, suggest that you are driving while intoxicated, then law enforcement officials can act on implied consent laws and request that you submit a sample for chemical BAC testing.
If you still refuse to consent, the police cannot forcibly extract a sample unless you have caused a serious accident. However, they can still arrest you for “per se intoxication,” meaning that although the police do not know your exact BAC, they have reason to believe that you are a danger to yourself and others due to drunk driving.
After this, your license can be revoked for 180 days. If you have a previous DWI or DUI conviction, this can jump to a 2-year license suspension.
If you’ve been charged with driving drunk, you are still innocent until proven guilty, and you are still afforded certain rights. To help you protect these rights as well as handle your charges, you should contact an experienced DUI defense lawyer near you.