Not all DUI (driving under the influence) crimes are created the same; some are more serious than others and some attract even further charges. It all depends on the circumstances of the alleged crime and the laws of the jurisdiction. For example, driving while intoxicated in a designated school zone is likely to earn the perpetrator a school zone DUI. Here are three things you should know about school zone DUIs:
Ignorance Is No Defense
The first thing you should know is that you will not be able to escape school zone DUI charges by claiming that you didn't know you were driving in a school zone. This is one of those cases where the classic phrase "ignorance is no defense" literally applies. It doesn't matter whether the school's sign was broken, the school was out of session, or it was a new school that had just been commissioned. You will be charged with school zone DUI as long as the property in question is a designated school zone.
The Area Doesn't Have To Have a School Per Se
Speaking of definitions, you should know that the definition of school here is broader than usual. That is, the property doesn't have to be an actual school where students learn in order to be in a school zone. A school zone typically includes:
- A property being used for learning
- A location or section of the road where children cross and which has a juvenile crossing sign
- A property leased by a school, such as a separate building away from the main school
- A field where students practice sports, even if the field isn't located on the main school's grounds
This means your risk of being arrested in a school zone is high because of the number of designated school zones.
The Charges May Be Separate From Standard DUI Charges
Lastly, you should also know that you may be charged with two separate DUI crimes if you were arrested for DUI in a school zone. You may be charged with the standard DUI crime as well as a separate crime of DUI in a school zone. In some areas, the second offense (DUI in a school zone) has the effect of doubling the penalties of the first offense (standard DUI offense).
Whether you have been charged with a school zone DUI or ordinary DUI, you are presumed to be innocent until proven guilty. However, the stakes are even higher for school zone DUIs, which means you need to invest in the best defense possible. Reach out to a lawyer, such as Angela L Walker PC, for more information and direction.