What Are Driving Offenses?

Driving Offenses

Overview

Simply stated, a driving offense is a moving violation that is in violation of a proscribed driving law.

Driving offenses depend upon state law and vary from the most serious, such as vehicular homicide or driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs, which are both felonies, to minor infractions such as driving one mile over the speed limit or driving with a broken taillight.

Driving Laws

Driving laws are the rules and regulations that all licensed drivers are required to abide by.  The laws are enacted and enforced to create a safe, uniform and consistent driving environment for all drivers.

Penalties for violating a driving law range from a simple warning and/or small fine and traffic school requirement to imprisonment, steep fines and revocation of one’s driver’s license for more serious violations.

Driving Under the Influence

In all 50 states it is illegal to drive under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs.  Driving under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs has severe consequences and penalties.

What is DUI/DWI?

  • In all states, it is illegal to drive with a blood alcohol content (BAC) of 0.08 or higher.
  • Commercial drivers may not drive with a BAC of .04 or higher.
  • Blood alcohol content or concentration refers to the amount of alcohol in the bloodstream.
  • The amount is measured in percentages.
  • A blood alcohol content level of 0.10 percent indicates that the driver has 1 part alcohol per 1,000 parts blood in the body.

Why is the Blood Alcohol Level an Indicator of Impaired Driving?

The amount of alcohol in the body affects the following driving skills:

  • Reaction time
  • Tracking ability
  • Judgment
  • Concentration
  • Decision making skills
  • Attention span
  • Reflexes
  • Information processing
  • Visual functions
  • Motor skills
  • Cognition
  • Others

Driving Under the Influence of Drugs:

Certain drugs and medication – prescription, legal and otherwise – affect the driver’s skills in a manner that is similar to having alcohol in the body.

It is illegal to drive with prescription medication in the body if it impairs the driver’s skills.  Penalties for Driving Under the Influence of Alcohol and/or Drugs and causing vehicular homicide.  If an impaired driver causes the death of another, the penalty may include:

  • Vehicular homicide
  • Driving under the influence
  • Years in prison, fines, other penalties

Penalties for a Conviction of Driving Under the Influence of Alcohol and/or Drugs:

If an intoxicated driver harms another and/or is convicted of DUI/DWI the penalties may include:

  • Prison or jail
  • Driver’s license revocation or suspension
  • Mandatory ignition interlock device installation – to prove non-alcoholic blood content before the car will start and/or continue
  • DUI/DWI class
  • Drug testing
  • Increased insurance rates
     

Civil Penalties

In addition to criminal penalties, a driver who is convicted of DWI/DUI who is at fault for any vehicle accident may be civilly sued for in a personal injury lawsuit by the injured party and damages may be assessed.

If the driver has insurance, the insurance may cover part of the damages.  If the driver is underinsured or without insurance, they will be personally liable for the damages.

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