We all know that drinking and driving is illegal but even those that are trusted to make the laws disobey them sometimes. Idaho Senator Michael Crapo was pulled over in Alexandra, Virginia after running a red light and then arrested for driving under the influence. After failing various field sobriety tests, Crapo was taken into custody where he was registered at .11 blood alcohol level. The legal limit in all states is .08 percent. The Senator does not dispute the charges and was released on bond and has a court date set in the near future.
Crapo showed remorse for his actions, issuing a statement that originally appeared on Politico: “I am deeply sorry for the actions that resulted in this circumstance. I made a mistake for which I apologize to my family, my Idaho constituents and any others who have put their trust in me. I accept total responsibility and will deal with whatever penalty comes my way in this matter. I will also undertake measures to ensure that this circumstance is never repeated.” Crapo’s apology seems sincere but it’s possible the backlash he faces from some his voters might be worse than any of the punishment that he will face from the laws. Crapo is considered to be a Mormon and has publicly said that he abstains from alcohol use but the Virginia police care to differ with this statement. While the reactions for his conviction will vary, the law is very consistent with how it treats drunk drivers. Here is a little taste of what Michael Crapo can expect.
First Stages of a DUI or DWI
States vary on how they determine and prosecute DUI/DWI cases but the main thread that run through it all is little tolerance for offenders. Drunken driving is one of the most dangerous driving habits anyone can engage in and police often witness first-hand the destruction a drunk driver can cause. This is why many states launch various crackdown throughout the year aimed at targeting drunk drivers. Police set up sobriety checkpoints in well-known drunk driver areas and are specifically trained to pin point drivers that seem intoxicated. They do this for one reason. Drunk drivers cause accidents.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) claimed that there was a alcohol related traffic death in the U.S. every 51 minutes. This is a statistic that law enforcement is trying to help eliminate. When Michael Crapo was pulled over the Virginia, it’s likely he was subject to several field sobriety tests which help the officer test the accused reflexes. The NHTSA validates three different field sobriety tests: the horizontal gaze test, the walk and turn tests which requires an individual walk heel to toe and the one leg stand. There are other tests which can legally be used by law enforcement that includes the Romberg Test, finger to nose test, and recitation of the alphabet. If, after performing the tests, the officer believes they have a reasonable cause to arrest, you can be taken to the police station and administered a chemical test. This is going to be a determining factor in your conviction. If you are submitted to a blood or urine test, these samples will be tested in a lab and are undeniable. This is what also helps determine your blood alcohol content or BAC.
Convicted of a DUI
You can pass all the field sobriety tests an officer gives you but if you fail a chemical test, it is doubtful you will escape a DUI conviction. In all 50 states, the legal limit for alcohol is .08. For many people, this isn’t even two drinks and when you are out for a night on the town, many people partake in more than two drinks. The best way to ensure you don’t receive a DUI is to not drink and drive but even the officials we elect choose not to follow this law. Depending on your state, once you are convicted of a DUI, you will have multiple consequences you will have to face. States take driving while intoxicated very seriously and make offender pay high court costs and fees. It’s possible that you will have your license suspended or revoked and you could face jail time even if it is your first DUI. The penalty could be more severe based on your intoxication level.
How Your Insurance Will Be Affected
To top it all off, if you receive a DUI, your insurance company is going to raise your rates significantly and that could be the best thing that happens to you. Michael Crapo might not have a problem paying his insurance premiums but for the average person, the rate rise is going to hurt. You may be forced to obtain SR-22 insurance, which is high risk insurance and you have to go through the DMV and your insurance company to obtain this if it is offered. If you insurance company doesn’t offer this type of insurance, you will have to go elsewhere if it is a state requirement. As always, it’s going to be best to shop around to try and find the best rates for the policy you need but if you have a DUI, it may not be as reasonable as you’d like. Eventually, the conviction will come off your record and your insurance company will be able to evaluate your rates but in some states, that doesn’t happen for almost 30 years. That’s a long time to pay for any kind of mistake so the best method of avoiding these extravagant is prevention. Don’t drink and drive, period.