On average, more than one million drivers are arrested yearly for drunk driving or operating vehicles under the influence of drugs. The district attorney’s office may file charges of DUI against the defendant when he or she is arrested. However, criminal charges may differ depending on previous convictions, offense severity, level of intoxication and whether the offense resulted in injuries or death.

There are various elements of drunk driving offenses. The leading element that must be proved before a DUI charge is issued is whether the defendant’s blood alcohol content (BAC) was above the threshold limit. This may be hard to establish, and the authorities may rely on blood and urine test results. Other elements include whether the defendant was involved in an accident and was driving poorly under the influence.

A DUI charge may be reduced in severity depending on the circumstances, such as if you have no previous convictions or felony charges. However, a basic DUI charge may become an automatic felony under certain aggravating factors, such as if you were drunk driving and caused injuries or death. Suspended or revoked licenses may also exacerbate the charge.

Driving under the influence charges may cause severe penalties for you. If you have been charged with a DUI or have recently been involved in an accident due to drunk driving, it may benefit you from contacting a skilled DUI lawyer. A proactive lawyer may be able to help you understand your rights as a defendant, bargain a reasonable plea and protect you at a trial.