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Common Questions about DUI

Updated on March 20, 2013

Common Questions about DUI

If you have questions about DUI, or driving under the influence, you may be able to find some of the answers you need here.  Of course, each state has their own laws pertaining to the topic, so these are general answers.  To find accurate information for specific states, you should check with that state’s Department of Motor Vehicles or an attorney in that area. 

What is DUI?

 DUI is an acronym for driving under the influence.  If a person is in actual physical control of a motor vehicle and his or her mental faculties are impaired because they have been drinking or using drugs, they are guilty of DUI.  In the case of alcohol consumption, you are considered DUI if your blood alcohol content, or BAC, is over the legal limit, which in all states is .08%.    

Can I Be Charged with DUI Even if the Car Isn’t Moving?

Yes, you can.  If you are sitting behind the wheel and have the keys in the ignition, you may be arrested if you are presumed impaired.  You may ask how that is possible.  When you are seated behind the wheel of a car and have the keys in the ignition, you are in physical control of that vehicle.  If you are confronted by a police officer at that time, they have the right to investigate and make an arrest for DUI. 

DUI Check Point

Must I Take a Breathalyzer?

You do have the right to refuse a breathalyzer, but it is not normally a good idea to do so.  By refusing to take a breathalyzer or a blood or urine test, you have given most states the right to suspend your driver’s license.  The majority of states feel that if you have accepted the privilege and responsibility of obtaining a driver’s license, you have given complied consent to submit to testing for BAC or the presence of drugs in your system.  When you signed your driver’s license, you confirmed that you would comply with testing if required to do so.   

What Happens if I am Convicted of DUI?

Penalties for DUI vary from state to state, but no matter which state you are convicted in, there will be harsh repercussions. Your license will be suspended for a period of time and you will be required to pay fines and court costs. The conviction will remain a part of your permanent record and you will have points placed against your driver’s license. In some states, you will have to attend classes before you can regain your license. Jail time is often given as part of the punishment. Of course, you will have to face consequences from your insurance company as well.

If you have been arrested for DUI, your best option is to contact a lawyer. An arrest is not a conviction and an experienced lawyer may be able to help prevent that from happening. Statistics shows that 50% of drivers accused of DUI are acquitted in the courtroom. Your chances of joining that number are much higher when you have a good attorney on your team. Don’t take chances. See a lawyer as soon as possible.

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