Not every DWI offense is equal. Sometimes, the situation is incredibly serious, such as when it results in a fatal accident. Other times, it results in nothing more than a traffic stop. You could end up in prison for years or only spend a few days in jail.
But what distinguishes serious from minor infractions? There are several factors that will impact the seriousness of your charge.
Blood alcohol level
One of the biggest factors that will determine the charge against you and the potential penalties is how much alcohol is in your system. The legal limit is 0.8%. How much you exceed that limit will determine the seriousness of your charge and sentence.
Another factor is whether you have had a DWI charge in the past. If you had one recently, then you are looking at a more severe punishment this time. If it is your first offense, then you will likely get more leniency from the court.
If your drunk driving accident caused an accident, you can expect the court to take a harsher stance against you. Hurting someone or causing property damage because you got behind the wheel after drinking is a major infraction that comes with severe punishments.
Other factors can also impact your sentence. For example, if you had a child in the vehicle with you at the time or if you were also under the influence of drugs, then you may face harsher penalties.
Your age will also be a factor if you are under 21. The state has a zero-tolerance law about underage drinking and driving.
Not every DWI is the same. The court will look at the specific factors of your case when considering the punishment.