Understanding the Legal Rules For Your Car or Motorcycle


According to the NHTSA, drunk driving crashes are responsible for the majority of the fatalities reported annually, making DUI incidences a menace to the country. The CDC also reports that 1.8% of California‘s 26 million licensed drivers admitted to driving when intoxicated, making this an ongoing concern. While numerous states will have varying laws for DUIs, some apply across the board, allowing you to get an overview of some legislative measures to be on the lookout for. Below, we discuss the DUI penalties for car owners and motorcycle safety requirements.

Understanding DUI Laws

Since DUI regulations will often be different in every state, offenses will likely attract varying penalties based on your arrest area. If you are arrested for any of the above, the penalties for DUI will depend on two factors. These include the presence of prior records for DUIs and whether anyone is injured due to your DUI. Fortunately, numerous cases are classified as misdemeanor offenses, allowing you to get reduced penalty charges. If, however, you have four or more previous DUIs, your violation may be prosecuted as a felony. DUI incidences that result in injuries also fall under felony offenses.

Based on the underlying cause, some violations can also attract jail time, with others requiring drivers to have an Ignition Interlock Device (IID) installed in their vehicles. To help reduce fatalities on the road, the United States Department of Energy currently offers incentives to purchase electric cars, providing a federal tax credit of up to $7,500 for its citizens.

Factors That Increase Your Penalties

While prior DUI records and the presence of injured parties will take precedence in determining your penalty, additional factors can accelerate your conviction, with examples of these being:

  • Getting a DUI with a minor under 14 in the vehicle. This can also attract a child endangerment charge.
  • Refusal to submit to a chemical test
  • Driving at excessive speeding limits
  • BAC of 0.15% or higher
  • Driving when under the age of 21 at the time of your DUI offense.
  • Causing an accident

Alternatives to DUI Sentencing

Since not all convictions will constitute jail time or prison sentencing, some offenses will come with alternatives such as:

  • Enrolling in sober living residence
  • Electronic monitoring/house arrest
  • Incarceration in a city jail or private jail
  • Community service

Motorcycle Laws

Motorcycle regulations will also vary for each state, with each region requiring riders to abide by stipulated safety equipment and motorcycle requirements. According to a 2011 data report by the Department of Transportation, the country currently has an estimated 8,410,255 motorcycles owned by both commercial organizations and private citizens. This translates to one motorcycle for every 36 people, making motorcycle laws essential for road safety. Below are some regulations to consider before heading out on your journey.

Safety Equipment Regulations

regulations for safety gear such as helmet use will typically fall under four classifications, with the first being a requirement by law. Motorcycle owners and their passengers must use a certified helmet that meets stipulated safety guidelines. The second classification is a requirement by law based on age restrictions. Some regions will require operators and passengers to use helmets up to a certain age, often between 17 and 20. Other states may come with passenger restrictions for riders below the age of 5-8 years.

The third is a requirement by law with conditions. Under this, some states list various conditions for using safety gear. An example could be using helmets that use reflection standards for visibility during rides within the given state. Lastly, some states do not have any requirements for helmets, eye protection, or noise restriction standards. This gives you control over the type of safety protection to use and other add-ons, such as the types of mufflers you prefer for noise modification.

While hiring experienced lawyers to help with your DUI or motorcycle offense will be ideal for getting you the best defense when you are faced with any case, understanding the legal regulations will allow you to avoid any unforeseen emergencies. Make it a point to read through the above DUI penalties and the motorcycle safety requirements for your area of residence and any states you are likely to visit on your journey.