Traffic Law DUI/DWI Newsletters
If you have been charged with driving under the influence (DUI) or driving while intoxicated (DWI) you may face a multitude of penalties even if it is your first offense. The penalties for these offenses are so varied that it would be impractical to discuss each state's penalties. Many states have adopted sentencing guidelines that provide a sentencing range for each type of offense and provide the aggravating and mitigating factors that can increase or decrease the sentence.
Motorists involved in any type of motor vehicle accident where personal injury or death occurs are required to remain at the scene until police arrive. All states have statutes setting out certain procedures a motorist must follow after involvement in a collision causing death or injury. Moreover, the statutes treat the term "accident" or "collision" to include all automobile collisions, intentional as well as unintentional.
A motorist is under a duty to have all of his vehicle on the right side of the road, and while the driver of an approaching car is charged with the duty of exercising proper care to avoid a collision, he has the right to presume that the motorist of the vehicle on the wrong side of the road will move over entirely to his own side. This idea is incorporated into statutes governing improper lane usage. By its terms, if a roadway is divided into two or more marked lanes of traffic, a motorist must stay in his lane of traffic so far as possible or practical and may not move from his lane without first ascertaining that such a movement could be safely done.
The ability to drive a motor vehicle on a public highway is not a fundamental right under the United States Constitution; it is a revocable privilege that is granted upon compliance with statutory licensing procedures. Whether the right to operate a motor vehicle it is termed a right or a privilege, one's ability to travel on public highways is always subject to reasonable regulation by the state in the valid exercise of its police power. Accordingly, state vehicle codes were promulgated to increase the safety and efficiency of public roadways, and it is viewed as an enhancement rather than an infringement upon a citizen's right to travel. The privilege properly may be revoked for noncompliance, and revocation is not an unconstitutional infringement of the revokee's right to travel.
While a speeding conviction is generally not considered a serious offense, it may have serious implications. If the speed is considered "excessive," (e.g. 30 to 60 miles over the posted speed limit), the conviction will include a fine, imprisonment, and possible suspension of a driver's license. Other criminal actions related to speeding may include "reckless driving" and "racing." Moving violations are either traffic infractions or criminal misdemeanors, and they may necessitate a court appearance.