What Constitutes a DUI Offense?
You can be charged with driving under the influence (DUI) for several reasons but the most basic reason is exceeding the national legal limit for blood alcohol content (BAC), which is .08. Besides having a BAC of .08 or above, being in actual physical control of a vehicle, even if it is parked, while intoxicated or under the influence of drugs will earn a DUI. The details of DUI law varies from state to state, but those reasons are two consistent factors of a DUI offense.
In some states, there are increased penalties for offenders who have a BAC above some limit, such as .10 or .16, depending on the state. Other states even have reduced penalties for drivers who have a BAC below .08, but evidence proves that they are still driving under the influence. Most states have zero tolerance policies that enforce a low BAC limit on drivers under the age of 21.
Does Every DUI Offense Become a DUI Arrest?
Normally, a police officer that suspects a driver of driving under the influence will pull that driver over and arrest them. There is a small chance that the offender may be driven home and not arrested and charged with a DUI, but that is up to officer discretion. Once an officer arrests a DUI offender, they are taken to the police department, tests are administered to determine BAC, and the offender is lodged until they are sober.
What May Be Included in a DUI Record
Your DUI records exist as part of your overall criminal records. These records can be accessed by the public, and include your driving record. In addition to any criminal convictions you may have, the records include details including any license suspensions caused by DUI charges, and even if you have refused to take a breathalyzer.
Who Can Search for DUI Records and How
A person’s criminal records are available to anyone who seeks them out. There are two ways to find criminal records, either on the internet or in the local court system. Asking a court or county clerk is one of the fastest ways to find criminal records if you want to search in person. You can also pay investigative agencies to do the research for you. The internet can be the faster option though, since most courts make electronic copies of records available online. The records are searchable through third party websites that do charge for their use, but the fee is generally much smaller than the investigative firms. Searching these websites for DUI records is also faster than searching personally or through the county clerk.
I’ve Just Been Arrested for a DUI. Now What?
At the time of your arrest, the police officer will confiscate your license. Then they fill out the proper forms regarding license suspension or revocation and send it to the DMV. The DMV will review the officer’s report regarding the DUI arrest, the license suspension form, and BAC test results. It will then decide whether or not your license should be suspended or not.
If the DMV does suspend or revoke your license at that time, you have the right to contest the decision through a court hearing within the following 10 days. If the DMV does not suspend your license, then the suspension order is dismissed. The DMV will send you a letter of notification only if they dismiss the suspension order.
Future Consequences of a DUI Offense
A DUI conviction can impact your future in various ways. If you are searching for a job, many employers want their prospective employees to have a clean driving record. When they pursue a background check, a DUI conviction may deter them from hiring you. A DUI conviction will also increase insurance rates, or cause an insurance company to revoke your policy. Courts may view a DUI as a detrimental deciding factor in custody cases. Rental and loan applications may also be denied on the grounds of a prior DUI conviction.
Connect with a Lawyer Today
Since DUI laws are different depending on the state, you should immediately contact a lawyer with any questions you might have. An experienced DUI lawyer can also help lower the severity of your penalties in the short term, and help clear your driving record in the long term. Don’t wait to get representation for your DUI charge.
DUI / DWI facts and statistics
- In 2018 there were 10,511 casualties in car (including motorcycles) traffic crashes in which at least one of the drivers was considered to be DUI or DWI. This makes 29 percent of all traffic casualties for 2018. Source: nhtsa.dot.gov
- 2017 DUI Arrest records Data (all stats): Driving under the influence: 1,017,808. Liquor laws: 234,899. Drunkenness: 376,433. Source: responsibility.org