Gone In An Instant: What To Know About License Suspensions And DWI
All states take a firm stand on driving while intoxicated (DWI). This is one of those offenses that used to be considered minor and an arrest seldom garnered much punishment. Today, the consequences are far more serious. Losing the ability to legally operate a vehicle can have a definite impact on many, and that is one consequence of a DWI that happens very quickly. Read on to find out more.
Already Judged Guilty?
Some are astounded to find out that their driver's license has been suspended before they've had a chance to call a lawyer. That is because the department of motor vehicles is a separate but connected agency from the criminal justice system. Those arrested and charged with DWI (and other serious driving offenses) might want to view it from a different perspective. Being able to drive a vehicle is a privilege, and you don't necessarily have to be convicted of a crime to suffer the consequences of an arrest. The way an offender's license is snatched is known as an administrative suspension, and only nine states don't allow it. If you happen to reside in one of the nine states, you might be able to keep your license until you go to trial.
Testing Triggers Suspensions
In most cases, states that allow administrative suspensions rely on the results of tests to make the determination of a license suspension. Testing can mean anything from breathalyzer results to other common field sobriety testing results. Most prominent are tests that measure blood alcohol concentrations (BAC). If your BAC is at least .08%, you can be arrested for DWI even if you don't show any other indicators of intoxication. BAC is measured using a roadside portable breathalyzer, a breathalyzer at the police station, or by a blood test. While BAC results are the gold standard for administrative license suspensions, some states will suspend based on field sobriety tests like the walk and spin and the one-legged stand.
Problems With Test Results
Regardless of whether or not your license was suspended, DWI arrests may not stand up in court. This makes those administrative suspensions seem even more unfair. Law enforcement's inebriation-level tests are constantly under fire because they are not reliable. Blood tests are the most reliable but are not always performed. Field sobriety tests and breathalyzer testing can be riddled with inaccuracies and issues. For example, anyone with neurological or muscular disorders will have problems with those field sobriety tests.
If you've lost your right to drive due to a bogus DWI arrest, you need legal help. Speak to a DWI lawyer about how to get your license restored and how to fight those charges.