DWIs

Alcohol Related Charges: DWIs and DWAIs

Getting charged with an alcohol-related violation is no small matter.  The effects are harsh and long lasting.  So seeking the advice of an attorney is a must.    

The biggest difference between a DWI (Driving While Intoxicated) and a DWAI (Driving While Abilities Impaired) is that a DWI is a criminal conviction, while a DWAI is a very expensive traffic violation.  However, both come with some serious consequences which are outlined in the chart below.  When we talk about your case, I will explain what each condition means and how long you will have to accomplish them.

Each county has its own cutoff point at which they consider the BAC (Blood Alcohol Content) generally too high to reduce the DWI to a DWAI.  But each case is different, so individual factors can be taken into consideration.

As a former prosecutor, I know what factors the District Attorneys take into consideration when deciding whether or not to allow an individual who has been charged with a DWI to plead to a reduced count of DWAI.

Here are some of the differences between a DWI and a DWAI. *

CONSEQUENCES

DWI: BAC of .08-.17

DWAI: BAC is less than .08

FINE

 $500-1000

$300-500

SURCHARGE

 $400

$260

MISDEMEANOR?

YES

NO

DDP- Drinking Driver Program

YES

YES

Alcohol & Substance Abuse Evaluation

 YES

YES

VIP- Victim Impact Panel  

 YES

YES

Interlock Device

 YES

NO

TERM OF PROBATION OR JAIL?

POSSIBLY

PROBABLY NOT

Driver Responsibility Assessment

$750 OVER 3 YEARS

$750 OVER 3 YEARS

*Some counties impose additional/different penalties.

“But when do I get my license back?!” 

The hardest part for most people to deal with is not knowing when their their license is going to be suspended (and for how long) or how to get a conditional license to help them get to and from work, the required classes, court appearances and to and from medical appointments.  I can help.

“Should I fight it?”

You’ll never know until you talk to an attorney and explain everything that happened from the moment you got in the car.  If the police made a serious error, then the answer may be yes.

Remember, if you’ve been charged, take a deep breath and then make the call so that you get the information you need to move forward and get the best possible disposition for yourself.