DWI Laws Are Always Changing
September 1, 2011 a new DWI law will go into affect. But in order to place this new law in it’s proper context, we need to look at the law as it is right now. Essentially a person’s first DWI is a Class B Misdemeanor (which carries with it a maximum of six months in jail and a fine of $2000.00. However, DWIs are one of the few crimes that the punishment range can get worse each time it is committed (Theft is another one). A second offense DWI doubles those maximums (because it is a Class A Misdemeanor) and a third DWI is a 3rd Degree Felony (2-10 years in prison and fine up to $10,000.00). Here is a link to the current statute.
Why You Don’t Blow For a DWI
The code defines intoxication as either not having the normal use of mental or physical faculties or having an alcohol concentration of 0.08 or more. This definition is the reason you may have heard to “not blow.” If a person submits to a breathalyzer, or blows, and the alcohol concentration is 0.08 or above, then that person is legally intoxicated regardless of the actual effect of the alcohol. If, however, the person doesn’t blow, then the State will be required to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the person did not have the normal use of his or her faculties.
A New Reason You Don’t Blow For a DWI
Now we have a new reason not to blow because as of September 1 a person’s first DWI can be a Class A Misdemeanor (carrying a fine of up to $4,000.00 and confinement in the county jail up to one year) if that person has a blood concentration of 0.15 or higher. Here is a link to the bill since the statute has not been changed yet online.