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DUI: USA DWI-DUI Lawyer Near Me: Driving Under the Influence

Especially for those first time DUI arrestees, the stressful and seemingly unfair process is very troubling. Many with their 1st DUI cases will go online as soon as they are released from jail on bond and look up terms like “drunk calculator” or “blood alcohol calculator.” 

All states have enacted what are called “implied consent laws.” These statutes are ancillary to drunken driving criminal law. They are administrative license revocation or suspension laws that are immediately imposed for drivers who refused to take the post-arrest testing for alcohol breath testing or a blood alcohol content test or for other testing for drugs.

License Suspended

Their objective is to try to judge how much their BAC level would have been if they had taken the officer’s post-arrest testing. CAUTION: For any “refusal to be tested” readers, you may have as little as 5 days after arrest to act to try to protect your right to drive. Call our toll-free number to get connected to a local OWI-DUI lawyer for guidance on what to do next.

These refusal cases (focused on taking away your driving privileges) potentially can stop that person from being allowed to drive long before your criminal case gets to court. So, (if you were written up by the arresting officer as having refused this after-arrest forensic testing) GO HERE IMMEDIATELY to try to get initial, FREE legal advice on how to best protect your driving privileges.

What is the DUI meaning? Driving under the influence is a type of motor vehicle law that represents a criminal law violation. If convicted, traditional DUI penalties like fines, jail time, and other court-ordered conditions will be imposed. 

In almost every state, the highest chance of getting a reduced criminal charge or dismissal  is best for a first offence DUI. Compared to any type of repeat driving while intoxicated (DWI) arrest, the odds are much more favorable.

First Offense DUI

In some states, a highly rated D.U.I. or DWI lawyer near me can get between 7 out of 10, to as much as 9 out of 10 of these cases reduced or handled with a diversion or alternative method of disposition. Be aware that this information pertains to SOME states, if the accused client is willing to have a veteran DUI litigator fight the criminal charges.

The terms “DUI” and “DWI” are our nation’s most common abbreviations for the driving drunk or drugged-driving crimes, but a dozen or more other acronyms are being used in the USA, too. These many other abbreviations are discussed below.

Each state in America and the District of Columbia has unique (but highly similar) statutes controlling drunk driving or drugged driving punishments, and loss of driving privileges. In fact, while more than 30 states use the acronym “DUI,” over a dozen other abbreviations can identify the same general crime in other states. 

DWI defense attorneys are the second most commonly used abbreviation. Yet different states define their law as either “driving while intoxicated) as done in Texas, or “driving while impaired,” as used in North Carolina.  

Depending upon State DWI laws, operating any type of vehicle, such as a boat, airplane, go-cart, farm machinery, a bicycle, or a horse-drawn carriage, electric golf cart, while under the influence of drugs or alcohol may be a crime.

In some states, riding an animal like a horse, mule or cow is the same as driving a car, and will subject that “rider” to facing DUI charges. Local DWI attorneys or a DUI attorney near me from our list of State affiliates can tell you more about your state’s interpretation of the laws mentioned in this article.


Other States’ Abbreviations and the Creation of Other Acronyms

In addition to “driving under the influence,” other states call their state crime “driving while intoxicated” or “driving while impaired” (“DWI” in Texas, New York, and New Jersey and several more jurisdictions), “operating while impaired” (Wisconsin, Indiana, and Iowa, along with Michigan).

Michigan also throws in both OWI and OWAI for “operating while ability impaired” or OWI for some of their acronyms. Maine and two other northeastern states use OUI, for operating under the influence. The OWI meaning is virtually the same as the DUI meaning or D.W.I. meaning, however. 

The State of Ohio alone uses “operating a vehicle under the influence” (OVI). The OVI meaning is identical to OUI meaning, OWI meaning or DUI meaning. 

Oregon has the nation’s only DUII law. Wyoming enacted a DWUI law for their state. 

Other names for this type of offense in criminal law cases include “drinking and driving”, “drunk driving”, “drunken driving”, “impaired driving”, or “operating over the proscribed alcohol limit.” But you also may find an OUIL definition in Rhode Island, Maine, or Massachusetts, or the two states with a DWAI “lesser included” offense (such as laws that exist in Colorado and New York State).

England calls its laws “drink driving.” Canada uses DWI most often when describing DWI cases in that nation.

These many acronyms being used in various states and countries have grown out of the chaos of having to write new statutes for this “new” crime. Since motor vehicle laws have only been in existence on roadways in America for less than 150 years, such laws needed to be implemented to set the various penalties for dangerous behavior on public roadways. 

Plus, for impairing substances, many states prosecute cases including marijuana, noxious vapors, contraband substances like crack cocaine or prescribed medications when taken at too high of a dose. To distinguish alcohol-based intoxicated driving from drug-related impaired driving, many states have adopted DUID or DWID when accusing DUI-drug charges.

More importantly, these serious charges are often not expungable in the future, meaning this conviction can continue to affect a person’s life for many decades. Some of the places the criminal record pops up in a person’s career are merely an embarrassment or inconvenience. With other, your plans can be scuttled due to you not being eligible to participate, travel or qualify for a great job.

The Optional and Voluntary Roadside Tests that all Suspected Impaired Drivers Should Decline

Going back for over a century, police who suspected drunken driving used many random types of “exercises” to try to assess if a driver who smelled of alcohol was too drunk to drive. One was to blow into the officer’s hat, to see how strong the odor might be.

Another trick was for the officer to toss three coins on the ground and ask the person to pick up the coins in the order of their increasing value (e.g., nickel, dime, quarter). No “science” existed for these tests, so (in the early 1970s) NHTSA finally commissioned proposals for creation of some safe and easy roadside evaluations, which were named the “standardized field sobriety test” battery.

In 1984, the first, cursory booklet was printed for police officers to use. The goal was to make better arrest decisions at the roadside as to who was over the legal limit of alcohol, by using the three evaluations:

  1. Horizontal gaze nystagmus (HGN) eye test which is meant to reveal certain “cues” or clues like lack of smooth pursuit, involuntary jerking while tracking a moving stimulus, distinct and sustained nystagmus as maximum deviation and other “signals” from the person’s eyes. Later versions of these N.H.T.S.A. roadside agility and H-G-N eye tests called for adding two VGN (vertical gaze nystagmus) passes, to look for high BAC of certain types of drug impairment. The horizontal gaze nystagmus test is supposed to be the “most scientific” of these hocus-pocus, made-up evaluations.
  2. The walk and turn evaluation, walking heel to toe in an abnormal and scientifically unproven fashion, that many 100% sober individuals simply cannot perform.
  3. The one leg stand test, to see if the person could stand in a very odd position, with arms down to his or her sides, and one foot raised while the person being tested was to stare at the toe of the raised foot and count out loud.
National Highway and Transportation Safety Administration / NHTSA Logo

Why is Hiring a DUI Attorney so Critical?

A trained legal professional with many years of experience can help you navigate through the complex legal process, protecting your rights at every step from investigating the circumstances surrounding your arrest. No ordinary citizen nor even a gifted person (without legal training) will have even a tiny grasp of what to do in a drunk driving prosecution.

So, when charged with a first offense DUI, it’s essential to hire a qualified and experienced criminal defense attorney who specializes in defending drunk driving law (DUI law). Those without funds to hire have an absolute right to court-appointed legal counsel in every state, so lack of money should never be an excuse. Many times, these drunk driving lawyers near me (who are appointed) have extensive, successful histories using their criminal defense skills to find creative solutions to these complex cases.

Any negotiations or plea decisions by defendants should only be made with legal guidance from a skilled DUI defense attorney. Once a conviction is put on your record, that person does not get to come back later and request a “do-over” in a criminal case. Like pouring concrete, once the oozing mass of wet concrete “hardens” it is nearly impossible to get it removed.

Call our toll-free directory number, for immediate assistance in locating an attorney with an average of over 20 years of criminal defense experience in driving while intoxicated cases in your State. Dial 1-888-839-4384, 24 HOURS A DAY.