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Drunk driving offenses can stem from different circumstances

If you think that a driving under the influence or driving while intoxicated charge has to do only with being drunk, you are wrong. Driving under the influence and DWI charges can also stem from being under the influence of any substance that affects your ability to drive in a safe manner.

When it comes to DUI and DWI charges, there must be evidence that you were impaired or intoxicated. If you were allegedly drunk, this can come from a test to determine your blood alcohol concentration percentage. If you were under the influence of or intoxicated by another substance, such as an illegal drug, a prescription medication or an over-the counter drug, the field sobriety test might be used. If these tests point to impaired abilities, you will likely face a criminal charge.

In the case of alcohol-related charges, you can face DUI charges if your BAC is at or above .08 percent. Some drivers, including those who have a commercial driver's license or those who aren't 21 years old yet, might be subject to lower BAC levels than other drivers. In the case of people who aren't 21 years old, the BAC level that is required for a criminal charge can be anything above .00 percent.

Interestingly, you can face criminal charges for refusing to take a chemical test. When you got your driver's license, that was considered an implied consent for this testing. That means that you can't refuse a chemical test in an effort to avoid criminal charges because you will likely face harsh penalties for your refusal.

No matter what type of drunk driving charges you are facing, you have the right to present a defense. The strategy you use depends on the circumstances of the arrest and charges.

Source: FindLaw, "DUI Offense Basics," accessed June 09, 2016

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