When you think about OWI, what comes to mind? Someone who is sloppy drunk and had no business behind the wheel of a car? How about the chronic drunk who drinks all day long only to get behind the wheel to make another beer or liquor run? While these cases do exist, the truth is that they make up a very small portion of the people who are stopped, charged and ultimately convicted of OWI in the country. The majority of those who carry an OWI arrest record are those who had a drink or two during a dinner out with friends, family or clients and made a mistake behind the wheel, which attracted the attention of a police officer who then charged them with OWI, even though this wasn’t the original reason why the driver was pulled over.
So, how does this work exactly?
One of the most common myths out there, besides the myth about what the typical OWI offender looks like, is that you have to meet or exceed the legal limits set forth by the state to be charged with OWI. The truth is that these limits, when exceeded, do serve as a basis for the OWI charge, but if the officer can prove that you are impaired, you don’t have to be anywhere near the BAC limit in order to be charged with OWI.
Another common myth about OWI is that the charges are so commonplace that the penalties levied against those who commit the crime are somewhat lenient, even though the judge and the prosecutors have the legal authority to throw the book at offenders. The truth here is that most OWI offenders, especially the first offense, may not get the harshest penalties, the punishment they do receive is anything but lenient. There are hefty fines to pay on top of expensive legal representation bills. There are also indirect expenses such as lost wages, public transportation costs, bail, and more. In addition, you may have to pay for your drug and alcohol rehab out of pocket if your insurance won’t pay.
Last but not least, many people believe that OWI Arrest Records are private. However, this isn’t true either. The truth here is that not only are OWI arrest records not private, they are public and readily available via a large number of websites that provide access to this type of information for free. All you have to do is a quick browser search of someone’s name and you can have access to their arrest records as well as dispensation of the charge and more.
OWI is a serious offense and many people are arrested and charged without even knowing they were breaking the law. Oftentimes these arrests result in the outlay of thousands of dollars in cash, the loss of a job or business and ostracism from the community.