DUI Frequently Asked Questions

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Due to the fact that "driving under the influence" (DUI) is the most routinely committed crime in the United States, it makes sense to conclude that many individuals have more than a few questions about this topic.

As a result of the pervasiveness of DUIs as well as the serious outcomes that are related to DUI-related fatalities, injuries, and accidents, we are listing some of the most frequently asked questions about driving under the influence.

What is "DUI"?

The consequences of driving under the influence (DUI) can be quite extensive, from both a legal and a psychological standpoint.

Considering the excessive number of injuries and deaths that are related to drunk driving throughout the United States, many state lawmakers have become so incensed with this lack of social and personal responsibility that they have been imposing even more stringent penalties on DUI offenders.

DUI is an acronym for "driving under the influence." An individual is guilty of DUI if he or she drives a motor vehicle while under the influence of alcohol or any drug, legal, illegal, over-the-counter, prescription or otherwise, to the extent that his or her mental faculties and/or physiological responses are negatively affected or when his or her blood alcohol concentration level (BAC) is above the legal limit for the state in which he or she is driving.

It is worthy of note that at the time of this writing, the legal limit regarding blood alcohol content (BAC) is .08% in all 50 states in the United States.

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Why do I need a DUI attorney?

If you have been charged with "driving under the influence," it is sensible for you to get advice from a DUI lawyer in your local area as soon as you can. By doing this, you will clearly know what to expect when you appear in court.

By and large, criminal DUI cases tend to move relatively quickly through the court system and unfamiliarity with the procedural requirements and various deadlines could negatively affect your case. Armed with this information in mind, it makes a lot of sense to hire a DUI attorney for your DUI arrest.

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

During the course of a DUI investigation if there are irregularities or evidence that could cause the DUI charge to be thrown out of court, it is quite improbable that the police, court system, or the prosecution will be highly "encouraged" tell you about these circumstances.

In point of fact, in many if not most instances, you may never become aware that an "irregularity" ever took place. A DUI attorney, however, will be able to find such "irregularities" and bring this evidence to the attention of the court and the prosecution. And in some circumstances and based on this "evidence," your DUI lawyer may be able to get your charges substantially reduced or dismissed.

A DUI lawyer will be able to assess your case and determine if there are constitutional violations or other defenses that can weaken the prosecution's case.

Equipped with this information, the DUI lawyer can negotiate with the prosecution for a reduced charge and in some circumstances, even receive a complete dismissal of the charge. Stated simply, without the representation of a DUI lawyer you reduce your chances of getting the best possible results to a considerable extent.

Getting stopped by a police officer and being accused of "drunk driving" or "driving under the influence" can be a frightening and a stressful experience. Many "good" citizens with no criminal record experience these feelings every day due to the fact that they have received a DUI. A DUI lawyer will help you understand what has happened to you and what lies ahead regarding your DUI arrest.

What should I do if my vehicle is stopped and the police officer asks me if I've been drinking?

Even though DUI attorneys in general recommend that you act politely, provide your name, and give various documents like your proof of insurance, vehicle registration, and driver's license to the police officer, you should know that you are not legally mandated to answer any other questions.

Indeed, you have the right to contact an attorney before you answer any questions other than giving your name and providing the documents discussed above and you have the right to remain silent. Also remember, on the other hand, that if you do make up your mind to answer other questions, your answers can be used by your DUI attorney and by the prosecution.

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.

What is implied consent?

Any person who operates a motor vehicle within one of the U.S. states and who is arrested for a "driving under the influence" offense is presumed to have given consent for a test of his or her breath, blood, urine, or other bodily substance for the articulated purpose of determining the individual's blood alcohol content level (BAC). The arresting police officer has the legal authority to decide what type of test the driver must undergo and the power to request more than one type of test.

If I was drinking and driving, I'm guilty of a DUI, right?

Not necessarily. It is not illegal to drink and drive. It is, however against the law to drive while impaired by drugs or alcohol or both, or if you are an adult and your blood alcohol content is above 0.08%.

Having said this, on the other hand, the prosecution must prove these facts (that is, that your blood alcohol content was above .08% and/or that you are an adult and were impaired while driving) beyond a reasonable doubt.

Can the judge impose more than the mandatory minimum jail time for a person who received a DUI?

Yes. The judge can impose up to the maximum jail time allowable for a DUI offense. On the other hand, the judge cannot impose less than the mandatory minimum jail time in a DUI case.

Do I have a right to speak to an attorney if I am arrested for DUI?

Without a doubt, you have a legal right to speak to an attorney if you are arrested for a DUI. While you should cooperate with requests by the police regarding your identification and various documents such as your proof of insurance and your vehicle registration and with any requests for you to take a blood alcohol test or a breath test, you are not required to undergo any field sobriety tests or answer any further questions.

In fact, since anything you say or do during the DUI arrest can be used against you by the prosecution, it is usually a good idea to contact a DUI lawyer as soon as possible about your DUI arrest.

What are some of the terms that are synonymous with DUI?

The following terms are synonymous with the term "DUI" (driving under the influence) in different U.S. states:

  • Driving under the influence of intoxicants (DUII)

  • Driving while intoxicated (DWI)

  • Operating under the influence (OUI)

  • Operating while intoxicated (OWI)

  • Driving while under the influence (DWUI)

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I was arrested for DUI. Why am I being charged with committing two crimes?

In some states, besides getting charged with DUI, "driving under the influence," a person may additionally be charged with a "per se" offense for driving with a blood alcohol content level that is greater than the legal limit. Note: the "per se" legal limit is .08% in all 50 U.S. states. Each of these acts is a violation of the law and each is a crime for which an individual can be convicted.

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