DUI Frequently Asked Questions


Due to the fact that "driving under the influence" (DUI) is the most commonly committed crime in the United States, it is logical to conclude that many individuals have a lot of questions about this subject matter.

As a consequence of the high occurrence of DUI incidents as well as the severe ramifications that are linked to DUI injuries, accidents, and fatalities, we are providing some of the most frequently asked questions about driving under the influence.

What is "DUI"?

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

There's something in this definition that needs to be emphasized. A person can be charged with DUI if he or she operates a motor vehicle while under the influence of any amount of alcohol or drugs, or a mixture of the two, that makes the individual unable to safely operate the vehicle that he or she is driving.

Regarding alcohol ingestion, this essentially means that an adult can, in "real life," get a DUI with a blood alcohol concentration that is substantially less than .08%.


Why do I need a DUI attorney?

If you have received a ticket for "driving under the influence" or for "drunk driving" it is probably a good idea for you to get advice from a DUI lawyer in your local area as soon as possible. By accomplishing this, you will know exactly what to expect when you appear in court.

Overall, criminal DUI cases move relatively quickly through the court system and unfamiliarity with the procedural requirements and/or the different deadlines could negatively affect your case. Having said this, it seems quite commonsensical for you to hire a DUI lawyer for your DUI legal proceedings.

A DUI attorney will be able to evaluate your case and determine if there are constitutional violations or other defenses that potentially weaken the prosecution's case. Armed with this information, the DUI attorney can negotiate with the prosecution for a reduced charge and in some circumstances, even a complete dismissal of the charge.

In sum, without the representation of a "drunk driving" attorney, you considerably reduce your chances of getting the best possible legal results.

Even if you received a ticket for DUI and did in fact drink and drive in an unsafe manner, a DUI attorney may be able to help minimize your legal difficulties and maximize the opportunities for you to move in a more productive and positive direction after your DUI case.

One of the ways that a DUI criminal defense lawyer can do this is by equalizing the balance of power that exists between the prosecution and the defendant and working toward preserving the constitutional rights that are guaranteed to all criminal defendants.

When I got a DUI the officer took my license but I still need to drive to work. What can I do?

If a person's driver's license was taken away by the arresting officer during a DUI arrest, he or she can apply at any department of motor vehicles field office for a "restricted license" that will allow the person to drive to and from his or her place of employment.

How can I verify my lawyer's credentials?

You can review the "practice areas" of lawyers in the "Martindale-Hubbell" listing of lawyers in the United States. This publication is usually available in county law libraries and in public libraries. Keep in mind, however, that several lawyers only show the date of admission to the state bar and the college and law school they attended. Perhaps the best place to verify the credentials of a DUI lawyer is by going to the following website: www.martindale.com for more information.

Can I appeal my DUI to a circuit court?

Every person in the U.S. who receives a DUI conviction in a district or a municipal court has the legal right to appeal this lower court's conviction to the county circuit court. Be alerted to the fact, however, that in many states there is a closely adhered to 14-day time frame in which the appeal must be filed. If the appeal is not correctly filed within the 14-day time frame, unfortunately, the appeal will be considered "waived," a circumstance that isn't open to re-filing at a later date.

I consumed only 4 or 5 beers and was not "drunk." Can I still be convicted of DUI?

A person can be convicted of DUI if his or her driving was adversely affected in any noticeable manner by the consumption of alcohol. Drinking 4 to 5 beers within a one or two hour time frame can, quite frankly, result in a blood alcohol concentration from .06% to .09%, "depending" on the individual's body weight, how much alcohol was in the beer (some beer contains more alcohol content than others), how quickly the person drank the beer, the person's metabolism rate, and if the individual was drinking on a "full" or on an "empty" stomach.

In conclusion, drinking 4 or 5 beers may be sufficient to violate either the "under the influence" standard or the "per se standard" (.08% in all 50 U.S. states), or both.

I have a commercial driver license. Are there "extra" issues for me if I am arrested for DUI?

Yes, in most states an individual who has a commercial driver's license will be subject to much stricter standards than drivers who do not have a CDL. For example, if the driver with the CDL was driving a "commercial" vehicle at the time of the DUI arrest, an evidentiary blood or breath alcohol test result of .04% is sufficient to convict him or her of DUI.

Furthermore, if the driver with the CDL was driving a "private" vehicle at the time of the DUI arrest, on the other hand, and is subsequently convicted of DUI, in most states, the driver may lose his or her commercial driver's license for one year for a first DUI offense and for "life" for second DUI offense.

What happens to my driver's license if I am an out of state driver and I receive a DUI?

Keep in mind that the District of Columbia and at least 45 states participate in the "Driver's License Compact Act." This means that a DUI conviction in another state will be reported to your home state that, in turn, will typically take action to suspend your driver's license based on the conviction that was determined by the out-of-state court.

As a result, even if you have an out-of-state driver's license, it makes a lot of sense from a legal perspective for you to contact a local DUI lawyer in your state to represent you if you receive a DUI arrest.


I'm simply going To plead guilty to my DUI. Why do I need a DUI attorney?

Concerning a DUI arrest, maybe the biggest mistake a person can make is to automatically plead guilty in court. Without a DUI lawyer to represent an individual, he or she is basically giving up all of his or her rights for legal representation in court and is, in essence, accepting whatever happens.

This can become a big mistake that can negatively affect an individual's future employment opportunities and or his or her ability to get insurance for his or her vehicle, to travel as freely as he or she desires, to own a vehicle, to get a professional license in his or her chosen line of work, to get "good" credit ratings, and many other important issues in life of which he or she may not be immediately aware.

In most states, a DUI conviction will remain on a person's driving record for a minimum of five years. During this time, the person may be quite "handicapped" when experiencing any or all of the "scenarios" given above. In a word, a DUI defense attorney is quite important in providing the legal representation an individual needs in a DUI case.

If my blood alcohol concentration is less than .08, can I still lose my driver's license?

It is possible to lose your driver's license with a blood alcohol content level under .08% but an individual typically loses his or her license as a result of another conviction for DUI or a related offense. For the most part, in order for a your driver's license to be automatically suspended, your blood alcohol concentration must be .08 or more while driving.