A drunk driving conviction can have serious legal, professional, and personal consequences to South Dakota citizens. Oftentimes, the abbreviations DUI and DWI are spoken when referencing this major traffic offense. Many wonder if there is any legal difference between these titles.
The Legal Difference Between DUI And DWI
In certain other states, there are legal definitions and penalties for DUI, or driving under the influence and DWI, which is short for driving while intoxicated.
However, in South Dakota drunk driving is officially referred to as driving under the influence and alleged perpetrators are charged with DUI. That said, the act is also known as driving while intoxicated. However, there is no discernible distinction between said monikers.
Regardless of what one refers to said offense, state code defines the malevolent action as being found to hold a blood alcohol content of at least .08 percent or higher.
Moreover, subjects arrested for this infraction could be accused even if their inebriated state was not precipitated by alcoholic beverages. Use of illicit or controlled substances, in addition to excessive ingestion of prescription drugs indicated for a valid medical purpose could land the individual in question in trouble for such charges.
Additionally, mandates vary for drivers meeting specific criteria.
For example, motorists under age 21 stand in violation of DUI regulations if they are found to register a blood alcohol content of .02 percent or greater. Moreover, those piloting commercial vehicles must measure under .04 to avoid arrest, possible conviction, and the associated penalties.
The Severity Of Charges
The specific penalties a convicted motorist will face depends on several factors, most notably, their level of intoxication and if they possessed any prior DUI arrests or convictions.
A team of South Dakota DUI lawyers caution that DUI convictions often carry substantial penalties.
Should this be the motorist’s first offense, said subject faces misdemeanor charges capable of yielding up to one year in jail, $2,000 in fines, and license revocation lasting anywhere from 30 days to one year.
A second conviction is also a misdemeanor that might land the offender in jail for up to a year and cost them as much as $2,000 in fines. That said, license revocation lasts, at minimum, one year.
A third offense is given the more serious criminal label known as a felony. Felonious DUI convictions result in as much as two years in prison, up to $4,000 in fines, and license revocation for at least one year.
In accordance with South Dakota law, motorists are subjected to implied consent. This means those stopped by law enforcement officials on suspicion of drunk driving automatically consent to undergoing measurement of their blood alcohol content. Refusal to oblige results in license revocation for one year.
In addition to legal consequences, a DUI conviction could precipitate a host of professional, financial, and personal issues.
License revocation often impedes an individual’s capacity to travel to and from work, which could have a serious economic fallout. Additionally, felonious convictions could stain one’s permanent record and interfere with their ability to even land work, housing, and interfere with other opportunities.
The Importance Of Retaining Legal Representation
Experienced DUI attorneys can help clients better understand the charges they face, shepherd them through the legal system, represent them in various proceedings, and potentially yield better outcomes. For example, an experienced DUI lawyer might convince a ruling body to issue the offender a restricted license enabling said party to drive to work and carry out other vital errands.