DUI Frequently Asked Questions


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

At the time of this writing, the legal limit regarding blood alcohol concentration is .08% in all 50 states.

The adverse outcomes of driving under the influence or drunk driving can be far reaching, both from a psychological as well as from a legal outlook.

With awareness of the substantial number of fatalities and injuries that are related to DUI throughout the United States, many state legislators have expressed indignation about the lack of social and personal accountability and are, as a consequence, mandating more severe penalties on DUI offenders.


Why do I need a DUI lawyer?

Having a DUI attorney plead your case can greatly increase the possibility that you will receive a reduced sentence and stay out of jail.

Today, due to the pressures of numerous entities that are outraged with the personal and social irresponsibility of people who continue to drink while under the influence of alcohol or drugs or both, judges, through the vehicle of stricter fines and more stringent penalties, are sending a clear message that such acts of irresponsibility will not be tolerated.

In this "political" climate, it would appear to make a lot of sense for you to consider hiring a DUI attorney for your "drunk driving" or your "driving under the influence" arrest.

Getting arrested for DUI can elicit feelings of fear, embarrassment, depression, and anger. Individuals from all walks of life have been arrested for DUI.

Keep in mind that the more control you take over in your life now, including educating yourself about current DUI laws, the greater peace of mind you will probably experience after your DUI.

Due to the fact that you are in a vulnerable circumstance, you need to consult with a DUI lawyer you can trust and who will "fight" for your legal rights.

DUI lawyers work within a specialized area of jurisprudence known as DUI criminal law.

DUI attorneys have access to legal techniques, research data, and information of which other lawyers may not be aware.

DUI attorneys understand the "system" and offer you a better chance of retaining your freedom than you would have by representing yourself.

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

Regarding receiving a DUI conviction and getting your driver's license suspended, keep in mind that at least 45 states and the District of Columbia participate in the "Driver's License Compact Act."

What this means is that a "driving under the influence" conviction in another state will be reported to your home state that, in turn, will usually take action to suspend your driver's license based on the conviction that was ruled by the out-of-state court.

As a consequence, even if you have an out-of-state driver's license, it seems logical from a legal standpoint for you to contact a local DUI attorney in your state to represent you if you are arrested for DUI.

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

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

  • Driving while under the influence (DWUI)

  • Driving while intoxicated (DWI)

  • Operating while intoxicated (OWI)

  • Operating under the influence (OUI)

  • Driving under the influence of intoxicants (DUII)

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

An individual can be convicted of DUI if his or her driving was negatively affected in any appreciable manner by the drinking of alcohol.

Drinking 4 to 5 beers over a period of one to two hours could actually result in a blood alcohol content level between .06% and .09% or higher, "depending" on the person's metabolism rate, how quickly the person drank the beer, how much alcohol was in the beer (some beer contains more alcohol content than others), the person's body weight, and if the person was drinking on a "full" or an "empty" stomach.

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

Should I consider representing myself in court for my DUI?

DUI is a criminal offense and there are serious penalties and consequences that are involved.

It is therefore in your best interest to hire someone who knows what he or she is doing, namely, a DUI attorney, rather than representing yourself in your 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%.

An individual, however, typically loses his or her license as a result of a prior DUI conviction 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 you were driving.

I received a DUI. Will I have to take alcohol/drug abuse classes?

In most states, if you are convicted of DUI, you will be required to take drug and/or alcohol abuse classes. The "usual" requirement is 8 hours of "DUI school."

Frequently, the higher your blood alcohol content level (BAC) was at the time of your arrest, the more hours you will be required to attend such a school.

What is more, the higher your BAC, you may also be required to get an alcohol and drug abuse evaluation or perhaps additional counseling or treatment.


If I am arrested for a 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 minor 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.

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

How much alcohol you have to drink in order to reach a blood alcohol content level (BAC) of .08% or greater depends on a number of factors including the following: the period of time for which you consumed alcohol, whether or not you drank on an empty stomach, the amount of drinks you consumed, your weight, the amount of alcohol in your drinks, and your metabolism.