DUI Frequently Asked Questions

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According to the research literature, "driving under the influence" (DUI) is the most highly committed crime in the United States.

It would therefore appear to make sense that many individuals have some important and relevant questions about DUIs and DUI-related topics.

As a consequence of the pervasiveness of DUI incidents as well as the serious consequences related to DUIs, we are listing some of the most frequently asked questions about driving under the influence.

What is "DUI"?

DUI is an abbreviation for "driving under the influence" of alcohol, any substance, or any chemical that impairs an individual's driving ability. For people who are 21 and older, it is illegal to drive with a blood or breath alcohol content (BAC) of .08 or higher and for people who are under the age of 21, it is illegal to drive with a blood alcohol content (BAC) of .02 of higher. Driving while impaired from alcohol or drugs, or both is illegal in all 50 states.

There's something in this definition that needs to be highlighted. An individual can be charged with DUI if he or she operates a motor vehicle while under the influence of any amount of drugs or alcohol, or a combination of the two, that makes the person unable to safely operate the vehicle that he or she is driving. Regarding alcohol consumption, this means that an adult can actually receive a DUI with a blood alcohol concentration that is substantially less than .08%.

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Why do I need a DUI lawyer?

If you have been charged with DUI you need a DUI lawyer who will aggressively represent your legal rights through the complexities involved in a DUI case. DUI attorneys are able to assist you every step of the way through the criminal process and help you find the answers you need.

Having a DUI defense attorney can make the entire DUI experience far less stressful. In addition, a lawyer can answer your questions, prepare you for the proceedings each and every step of the way, and ensure that if there is a way to help you within the law, he or she will find this way.

Getting stopped by a police officer and being accused of drunk driving can be a extremely stressful and frightening experience. Indeed, many "good" citizens with no criminal record experience these feeling every day due to the fact that they have been arrested for DUI. A DUI attorney will help you understand what has happened to you and what lies ahead regarding the DUI process.

Every state now has stringent DUI penalties in place to help prevent people from drinking and driving. Examples of such penalties include the following:

  • A suspended driver's license.

  • The installation of an ignition interlock device.

  • Vehicle impoundment.

  • Community service.

  • Jail time.

  • Probation.

  • Substantial fines and court fees (sometimes in excess of $5,000 or more).

  • Mandatory alcohol education classes (at your expense).

Even for a first DUI conviction, you could lose your lose your job, experience insurance coverage problems, lose your driver's license, and face possible restrictions on your interstate and international travel. The "positive" news, to the contrary, is that it is probable that you can avoid most or perhaps all of these penalties by hiring a DUI lawyer.

If I am arrested for DUI, can I avoid jail time?

In some states, if your blood alcohol content is .15% or greater, mandatory jail time is required. This also means that if your blood alcohol content was relatively low (.08% for instance), there were no other extenuating circumstances (for example, no traffic fatality resulted from your DUI and/or you didn't have a child under the age of 15 in your vehicle at the time of your DUI arrest), and if this is your first DUI, in many states you will be able to steer clear of serving any jail time. What is more, DUI attorneys are often able to keep the punishment to the absolute minimum that is permitted by the law.

Regarding a DUI arrest, how much time do I have to contact an attorney?

If you were unable to contact a lawyer while you were incarcerated, you should contact a DUI attorney as soon as you can after you are released from jail. Due to the fact that there are some legal procedures that happen relatively quickly after your release from jail, it is important to contact an attorney as soon as possible.

How much do I have to drink to reach a BAC of .08 or higher?

This depends on your metabolism, the amount of alcohol in your drinks, your weight, the amount of drinks you consumed, whether or not you drank on an empty stomach, and the period of time for which you consumed alcohol.

What is a field sobriety test?

Field sobriety tests involve various testing procedures that police officers use at the scene (in the field) to ascertain different levels of impairment.

In most circumstances, police officers will not ask you to undergo any field sobriety tests unless they either suspect DUI for another reason or smell drugs or alcohol near the vehicle or on the person.

Field sobriety tests often include the following tests: a portable breath test, "walk and turn" test, checking a person's pupil dilation, and the "pen to eye" test.

If you take any of these tests, it is highly probable that the police officer will report some sort of "failure." During a suspected DUI incident most police officers will document a person's slurred speech and will also take note of his or her appearance.

Concerning a DUI arrest, why take unnecessary tests and/or talk too much? In a word, there is simply no need to add to the evidence against you by offering additional information or by taking a series of field sobriety tests.

Due to the fact that you are not legally required to take any field sobriety tests, it is almost always in your best interests to politely refuse to take these tests.

What is the best way to beat a drunk-driving charge?

The best way to avoid a DUI arrest is to refrain from drinking when you drive. Call a family member or a friend for a ride, call a taxi, or use a designated driver or don't drink alcohol if you are going to need to drive within the next several hours.

If my blood alcohol content was under .08% will my DUI case be dismissed automatically?

Even if your blood alcohol content was under the legal limit of .08, your DUI may not be dismissed automatically. Why? Because the prosecutor can try to prove that you were driving under the influence based upon other evidence such as your personal appearance, your driving performance, your physical mannerisms, and your field sobriety test results.

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Can I represent myself in court regarding my DUI? What can a DUI lawyer do for me?

Even though it is typically not a good idea, in truth, yes, you can represent yourself regarding your DUI case. "Driving under the influence" and "drunk driving" are extremely complicated charges that entail serious penalties and outcomes. There's a host of complicated sentencing, license, procedural, constitutional, administrative, and evidentiary issues that are best addressed and handled by hiring a DUI lawyer.

Why was I stopped and/or contacted by the police?

There are several diverse reasons why you could have been stopped by the police. Some examples include the following: having tinted windows, weaving in and out of traffic, missing a front license plate, driving erratically, speeding, involvement in a traffic accident, and expired registration tags.

Additionally, an anonymous person may have reported you to the police after seeing you leaving a sporting event, a restaurant, a party, or a bar "under the influence" and getting behind the wheel of your vehicle. In a word, there are more than a few reasons why you were "stopped" by the police.

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