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Criminal Offense of Driving without a Valid Driver's License

It is illegal to drive a vehicle on a street or highway without a valid driver's license. The right to drive an automobile on public roads is a privilege and not a right. The right to operate a motor vehicle is granted by the state, and its use depends upon the motorist complying with the conditions prescribed in granting the license.

Criminal Offense of Hit and Run and Failure to Remain at the Scene

A hit and run car accident is generally defined as a person's failure to stop after a motor vehicle accident. When a person operating a motor vehicle is involved in an accident, the operator is legally required to stop, provide information to the owner of whatever property is damaged, and provide any aid to anyone who may have been injured. Many state statutes require a motorist to render all the aid that reasonably appears to him or her, as an ordinary person, to be necessary. The duty is not excused even if the injured person is unconscious, dead, or believed to be dead.

Enhanced Sentencing for OUI/OWI Offenses

The penalties imposed by states for operating while intoxicated (OWI) and operating under the influence (OUI) follow the same general pattern of penalties imposed by states enforcing laws for driving under the influence (DUI) and/or driving while intoxicated (DWI). Frequently, the sentencing provisions of the OWI/OUI laws impose greater penalties upon offenders who had prior OWI/OUI convictions, a prior related loss of license, or a "high" blood alcohol concentration (BAC). States vary in terms of the high-BAC threshold (which ranges from .15 to .20 percent), and the types, severity, and complexity of sanctions.

Rising Alcohol Defense in DUI/DWI Cases

Drunk driving statutes across the country are not always uniform in how they describe the degree of inebriation that is required for conviction for driving under the influence (DUI) and driving while intoxicated (DWI). However, they do generally provide that it is unlawful to have an excessive blood-alcohol concentration at the driving of driving – not at the time of being tested. The statutes in most states provide provisions for a per se illegal offense when a motorist's blood-alcohol level is at or above 0.08%.

Warrantless Inventory Searches of Impounded Vehicles

Under the Fourth Amendment to the United States Constitution, every search or seizure by a government agent must be reasonable. In general, searches and seizures are unreasonable and invalid unless based on probable cause and executed pursuant to a warrant. However, certain kinds of searches and seizures are valid as exceptions to the probable cause and warrant requirements. One such exception is an inventory search of an impounded vehicle. Court have upheld inventory searches of vehicles lawfully in police custody, including searches of the passenger compartment, glove compartment, trunk, engine compartments, and any containers in the vehicle.

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