DUI Frequently Asked Questions

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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.

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What is "DUI"?

Commonly called "drunk driving," "driving under the influence" (DUI) refers to operating a motor vehicle while one's blood alcohol content (BAC) is above the legal limit set by statute, which supposedly is the level at which a person cannot drive safely. Since May, 2007, all the state statutes are consistent and have set this limit at .08% for adults who are at least 21 years old.

An individual can be also be charged with DUI if he or she operates a motor vehicle while under the influence of any amount of drugs or alcohol, or a combination of the two, which makes the individual unable to safely operate the vehicle that he or she is driving. This means that an adult can actually receive a DUI with a blood alcohol concentration that is less than .08%.

Why do I need a DUI Attorney?

DUI lawyers work within a specialized area of jurisprudence known as DUI criminal law. DUI attorneys have access to research data, legal techniques, 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 OR by hiring an attorney who is not proficient in or knowledgeable of DUI law.

A DUI attorney will be able to evaluate your case and determine whether there are constitutional violations or other defenses that potentially weaken the prosecution's case. Employing this information, the DUI attorney can negotiate with the prosecution for a reduced charge and in some circumstances, even get a complete dismissal of the charge. In a word, without the representation of a DUI lawyer, your chances of getting the best possible results are substantially reduced.

The defense of a driving under the influence charge is a highly technical and extremely difficult undertaking. There are many advantages a DUI lawyer can bring to the case. In sum, a DUI lawyer is trained to properly identify and address the unique and highly complex issues found in a drunk driving defense case.

I received a DUI conviction. How long can my license be suspended?

With respect to a DUI, your license can be suspended from 90 days up to 4 years or longer. The length of time for which a license is suspended depends on the following: if a traffic fatality resulted from your DUI, prior offenses, if a child 15 years old or younger was in your vehicle at the time of your DUI arrest, if you refused to submit to a chemical or alcohol test, your blood alcohol level, and so on.

What if I lose my license from a DUI but continue to drive?

If an individual whose license has been suspended or revoked due to "driving under the influence" chooses to drive without a valid driver's license and is pulled over by the police, he or she stands to suffer more severe consequences, including extension of the license suspension or revocation, forfeiture of his or her vehicle, and possible fines and imprisonment. Clearly, it makes much more sense to rely on family, friends, and public transportation for your rides while your license is revoked or suspended.

Do I have to give my name if I call to report a suspected drunk driver?

Just to be "safe," we will say that in "most states," when you place a call to report a suspected drunk driver, you can remain anonymous. We encourage you, however, to call your local police department about this and when you call, please ask if this "anonymous status" also applies to calls you may make to the state highway patrol about a suspected drunk driver.

Is it advisable to discuss my DUI circumstances with co-workers, friends, or family members?

It is usually best if you don't discuss your DUI arrest with anyone other than your lawyer due to the fact that family members, co-workers, and friends may be called as witnesses by the prosecution. In short, in order to protect your reputation and receive the best case scenario in your legal proceedings, speak about your DUI arrest only with your lawyer because in the final analysis, your attorney cannot be called as a witness by the prosecution in a DUI case.

If I was drinking and driving, I'm guilty of a DUI, right?

Not necessarily. It is not illegal to drink and drive. It is, however against the law to drive while impaired by drugs or alcohol or both, or if you are an adult and your blood alcohol content is above 0.08% while you are driving. Having said this, on the other hand, the prosecution must prove these facts (that is, that your blood alcohol content was above .08% and/or that you are an adult and was impaired while driving) beyond a reasonable doubt.

Can I get a copy of the police report regarding my DUI arrest?

Yes, you can get a copy of your DUI arrest police report but keep in mind that it is a misdemeanor to have a police report that has the addresses, telephone numbers, or any other contact information of witnesses. If your police report contains such contact information, then someone other than yourself (usually your lawyer) must first black out the contact information before you receive a copy of your police report.

Will the court hold it against me if I hire a lawyer to represent me on my DUI and plead not guilty?

Absolutely not. In fact, according to the constitution, you have a right to challenge the evidence against you. What is more, most judges are far more comfortable dealing with clients who are represented by a lawyer due to the potential conflicts that can arise when people try to represent themselves in a DUI case.

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What is an Ignition Interlock Device?

An ignition interlock device is a breath analyzer device that is hard-wired into your vehicle's ignition system. An ignition interlock device is roughly the size of a cellular phone. In order to start your vehicle with an ignition interlock device you must breathe into the device for several seconds.

If your breath alcohol level is over the predetermined limit, typically .02, your vehicle will not start. On the other hand, if your breath alcohol level is below the preset limit, then your vehicle will start, and the ignition interlock device will require you to breathe into the device every once in a while you are driving.

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