Unfortunately, thousands of cases of DUIs occur within the United States each year. Due to the common and dangerous nature of DUIs, it is essential to understand some common facts, and what you can face if you decide to drive under the influence. DUI stands for driving under the influence, and may include consumption of alcohol, prescribed medication, or various other drugs. Another term, DWI, sands for driving while intoxicated. While DUI and DWI are most commonly used to refer to impaired or drunk driving, other abbreviations are used. Other abbreviations include OUI, meaning operating under the influence, or OWI, operating while intoxicated, or DWAI, driving while ability impaired. In order to provide some clarification if you or a loved one becomes involved in a DUI case, the following frequently asked questions are discussed.
What is a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) percentage?
Someone’s blood alcohol concentration (BAC) is a quantitative measure of how much alcohol is in a person’s system. This measurement may also be referred to as blood alcohol content or blood alcohol level. In many states, law enforcement officers use breathalyzers and/or blood tests, in order to calculate a person’s blood alcohol concentration. Many states do not consider urine tests accurate, although they are used sometimes. Across the U.S., a blood alcohol concentration at or above 0.08% is considered drunk or impaired driving. However, it is essential to remember that alcohol will negatively impact your driving abilities, even before you reach this point. Another important factor is that this percentage may vary, depending on other factors, such as the driver’s age.
How do drugs relate to DUI?
Drugs can impair your ability to drive, whether they are prescribed medications, over-the-counter medications, or illegal drugs. Drugs may make you feel one or a combination of effects, including tremors, nausea, inability to focus, sleepiness, dizziness, fainting, blurred vision, and delayed reaction times. In comparison to blood alcohol level tests, there are not standardized limit for drug impairments currently. This fact does not make drug-impaired driving legal. Drugs and alcohol can impair you mentally, emotionally, and physically, which is detrimental to your driving behaviors, and judgement as a driver. If you drive while impaired by drugs or alcohol, you are risking your life and the lives of others.
What happens if I am arrested for a DUI?
The answer to this question may vary, depending on the state and the situation. Once an officer has pulled you over and confirmed that you are impaired from field sobriety tests and/or chemical tests, your vehicle may be impounded, and you may be taken into custody. If you are taken into custody, custody length varies. Sometimes you may be held until you can get a safe ride or sober up, but more commonly you have to go before a judicial officer. Before being released, you may be asked to pay a bail or bond. Additional actions that may be taken include your license being temporarily suspended, having a trial scheduled, and hiring your own private DUI attorney. If you are unable to hire an attorney, you may be assigned a court-appointed attorney, aka a public defender.
What are common DUI penalties?
DUI penalties depend on various factors, including the state laws, the severity of the offense, and whether you’ve previously been convicted of a DIU. Additional penalties include massive fines, a suspended or revoked license, acquiring points on your license, alcohol and/or drug counseling programs, jail time, and most dangerously negatively impacting the lives of others.
DUIs are serious offenses in the eyes of the law. If you get behind the wheel impaired in any way, whether it be from prescribed medication or liquor, you are risking your life greatly. Your driving abilities will be impaired, you will lack judgement, and thus are putting your life at risk. Additionally, others on the road will now be in danger, including your passengers, pedestrians, and other drivers. In addition to these life-changing impacts, you will be faced with hefty fines, losing your car, losing your drivers license, and essentially jail time. The takeaway message is to never drive impaired. There is never any reason to get behind the wheel impaired. Make other arrangements to get to your destination, including taking a bus, calling a friend for a ride, ordering a ride-sharing service, or walking. The next time you think about getting behind the wheel while impaired in any way, remember how much catastrophic damage you may cause to you, others on the road, and thus how your life could change forever.
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