The Consequences of a DUI

Individuals who are arrested for drinking and driving under the influence of alcohol have committed a serious offense and require legal representation. It is not the goal of this article to give legal advice to anyone. The information here is only designed to be used for educational purposes and should not be construed in any way as legal advice. Seek the advice of a licensed attorney for any legal issues.

If you or a loved one struggle to avoid driving while under the influence, whether convicted of a DUI or not, this is a threat to your safety as well as others on the road. We advise that you seek treatment for alcohol misuse to avoid tragedy before it happens.

Meaning: DUI vs. DWI

Operating a motor vehicle under the influence of alcohol may be termed with different designations under different circumstances or in different states or jurisdictions, including DUI (driving under the influence), OUI (operating under the influence), or even DWI (driving while intoxicated). These offenses are serious and should not be taken lightly. Free and low-cost alcoholism treatment is available.

Definition: What Is a DUI?

Anyone who is operating a motorized vehicle or a vehicle with any type of drive train can get a DUI-type offense. This includes the use of motorized watercraft, lawnmowers, mopeds, and even non-motorized bicycles. Individuals using skateboards, rollerblades, etc., would not be charged with a DUI offense if they are stopped while they are intoxicated on these conveyances, but could be charged with some other offense, such as public intoxication, depending on the jurisdiction where the offense occurs.

Which of the Following Is True About Drinking and Driving?

There are several general issues to be aware of when an individual is charged with a DUI offense. All of these issues will vary from state to state, jurisdiction to jurisdiction, etc. In order to learn the exact details regarding DUI type offenses in one’s state, consult with a licensed attorney.

It’s Complicated

All of these offenses indicate that the individual has been apprehended by a police officer while operating a vehicle under the influence of drugs or alcohol. The officer only needs to have an inclination that an individual might be intoxicated from their behavior, mild inconsistencies in their driving, their posture while they are driving, or for any number of other reasons that the officer can choose to make an initial stop. Once the officer stops the individual, they can administer tests to confirm if the individual is legally intoxicated.

The determination of whether an individual is legally intoxicated or not can be made by the officer based on various types of field sobriety tests, but the measurement of an individual’s blood alcohol concentration (BAC) via the of the use of a breathalyzer, blood test, or urine analysis is considered the definitive sign that an individual meets the standard for legal intoxication. The standard is almost universally accepted in the United States as a BAC of 0.08 due to federal standards to determine legal intoxication, although there might be some variation in certain jurisdictions. However, individuals displaying a BAC of 0.08 or higher have very little power in debating the issue in a court of law unless their attorney can somehow call into question the method by which the BAC was measured. Thus, the individual’s BAC is considered the definitive standard to determine if an individual is legally intoxicated, and supersedes any and all other measures. Even if an individual passes all the field sobriety tests and fails the BAC measure, they are basically going to be arrested immediately.

However, in many jurisdictions even individuals who test with BAC levels below the limit for establishing legal intoxication may be charged with DUI offenses depending on their behaviors, how they are driving, if they have been in an accident, etc. This is because many judges, state officials, etc. consider any level of alcohol in an individual system to potentially impair an individual’s judgment and driving ability.

If Arrested for a DUI-Type Offense, You Will Spend Time in Jail

If an individual is arrested for a DUI-type offense, the arresting officers have the responsibility to remove the individual from the situation and get them off the road. Typically, this means taking them into the police station, booking them, and then putting them in jail until they post bond.

In many jurisdictions, individuals must also demonstrate a significant drop in their BAC in order for them to be released on their own recognizance after being arrested for a DUI or related offense. The actual amount of time an individual spends in jail is dependent on the situation, jurisdiction, etc.