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4 Things to Know About DWI Charges

— December 7, 2023

If you’re charged with DWI, you may be jailed, fined, or get your license revoked.

Driving while intoxicated (DWI) can, in some cases/ states, be used to mean driving under the influence (DUI), which is a criminal offense. Statistics indicate that around 37 people in America die daily in drunk driving accidents. For this reason, the state takes DWI charges quite seriously because the deaths resulting from drunk driving are all preventable.

If you’re facing a DWI charge, understanding your rights and other important aspects of the offense can help you learn your options upon arrest. Discussed below are four things to know about a DWI charge.

  1. Levels of DWI charges

Not every DWI charge is the same, meaning there are various DWI levels depending on factors like past convictions. Each DWI level has legal impacts and punishment, including jail terms and fines. These levels include:

  • Level I and II: These are misdemeanors for drivers with past drunk driving convictions. You may fall into this level if you don’t have a valid driver’s license, had a child in the car at the time of arrest, or injured someone in a DWI accident
  • Level III and IV: You may be required to serve a 72-hour jail time or agree to 72 hours of community service or 90 days’ license suspension for a level III offense. You can also pay a fine of up to $1000. For a level IV DWI, you may face a maximum jail term of 120 days or 48 hours of community service or time in jail. Alternatively, your license may be suspended for 60 days
  • Level V: It comes with 24 hours in jail, which a 30-day license suspension or 24-hour community service can defer. You may also get 60 days in jail with a fine of up to $200
  1. License suspension or revocation

A DWI offense increases the possibility of your driver’s license suspension for a significant period. Like any other penalty, the suspension time depends on your past convictions and state laws. For a first DWI offender, the suspension period can be 90 days. Refusing a breath, urine, or blood test can also lead to license suspension. 

Nevertheless, most states allow you to get a restricted license to drive to school, rehab, or work until the suspension time lapses. If you already have several DWI convictions, your suspension time for successive convictions is usually longer. Your license may also get revoked.

  1. Effects of DWI convictions on insurance

    Toy car, magnifying glass, paper money sitting on insurance policy; image by Vlad Deep, via
    Toy car, magnifying glass, paper money sitting on insurance policy; image by Vlad Deep, via

If you’re convicted of DWI, your auto insurer can remove the safe/good driver discounts allocated to your account. Also, you may be seen as a high-risk driver, resulting in higher insurance rates. Some insurance providers can even cancel your policy.

  1. You can fight a DWI charge

If you’re caught driving while intoxicated and are charged, you can fight the charges. Instead of fighting the DWI charge, hire a skilled DWI attorney with experience in cases like yours. This is because they understand DWI laws and their expertise in handling such cases can help ensure a positive outcome for your charge. A DWI attorney can help reduce your punishment or even spot loopholes/ inconsistencies in the case against you, weakening the prosecutor’s arguments. They can also present proof that contradicts the prosecution’s case, which can create reasonable doubt in the jury’s eyes and result in the dismissal of your DWI charges or a lesser sentence.


If you’re charged with DWI, you may be jailed, fined, or get your license revoked. Learning the things to know about a DWI charge can help make it easier to fight your case.

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