What is a DUI? What are the DUI Consequences in My State?
What is a DUI-DWI? Driving under the influence (driving while intoxicated) is a serious criminal law violation, and can be the predicate history offense that authorizes prosecution for a felony, if an accident involving a drunk driver results in serious bodily injury or death to any person. While drinking under the influence is a “traffic” offense, aggressive new drunk driving laws across the USA now provide for lengthy jail or prison terms for both repeat offenders and those who injure or kill others while DWI-DUI.
Drunk Driving (DUI) vs. DUI by Being Over the Legal Limit – Two Types of DUI Alcohol
For DUI alcohol cases, an adult (age 21 or over) driver who takes the State breathalyzer test or blood test, and has a blood alcohol content of 0.08 grams percent or more, can face BOTH an impaired driving charge (the driver was too drunk to drive safely) as well as a separate and distinct driving under the influence charge that requires no proof of intoxication or impairment, just that the breath test results or blood test results were “over the limit.” Some states call “drunk driving” driving while impaired (DWI), and driving with an unlawful alcohol level DUI (driving under the influence).
DUI Consequences – DUI Penalties
Even first time DWI-DUI offenders can go to jail, lose their driver’s license and have a lifetime criminal record, by pleading guilty to drunken driving or being convicted of driving while intoxicated after a trial. The following list of common DWI-OWI consequences and DUI penalties are common in most states:
- Towing or impounding of your vehicle upon being arrested.
- Fines and surcharges of up to $10,000 in same states.
- Mandatory installation of an ignition interlock on your vehicle at your own expense (cost: $275 to $400 per month).
- Being placed on probation, with monthly reporting, random alcohol and drug screening, and supervision costs.
- Jail time for misdemeanor DUI and state prison time for felony DUI.
- Loss of driving privileges – This can be total loss, restricted privileges, a “route restricted” permit, or total revocation of your right to drive.
- A requirement to perform many hours of community service. In Georgia, 40 to 480 hours is the range for community service hours.
- Undergo and pay for an alcohol and drug evaluation, to determine if drug treatment or alcohol rehabilitation will be mandated (at your cost).
- DUI School – Almost every OUI-DUI offender must take DUI classes and provide proof of successful completion, to ever be permitted to reinstate the driver license, after a drunken driving conviction.
Is a DUI a Felony? Is a DUI a Misdemeanor?
This question is very difficult to answer. If your arrest is for a first DUI offense and no accident involving serious injury or a death has occurred, your case is likely a misdemeanor DUI. However, a third offense DWI-DUI within 10 years will be charged as a felony DUI-OWI in some states like Louisiana, Florida and Michigan. Other states make a fourth DUI conviction a felony (e.g., Georgia), if the period of time is 10 years or less.
Should I Hire a DUI Lawyer? How Can I Beat the DUI? What Are the Best Defenses in a Drunk Driving Case?
To begin, only fight a DWI-DUI case if you have a skilled, experienced and successful DUI attorney in your corner. Like seeking a surgeon, you do not want anyone but the best for addressing a life-threatening medical issue. Similarly, an inexperienced or inept trial attorney can torpedo your DUI defense, if all the right motions, objections and discovering requests are not utilized. Your DWI-DUI attorney should know the DUI expert witness that you will be employing in your DUI trial case. Call our toll-free number 1-844-832-6384.
DUI Expunction – Can My DUI Arrest be Expunged? Can a DUI Conviction be Erased?
The process for removal of a first offense DUI-DWI from your criminal history is controlled 100% by your State’s laws. Some states allow for “record restriction” of a DUI arrest record when you are acquitted of DUI, while others only permit the criminal record to be cleared when the case is dismissed or evidence of the arrest is suppressed on constitutional violations. In the past decade, certain states (e.g., Mississippi, New Jersey) have passed new DUI expungement or DWI expunction laws.
Be aware that every arrest in the USA, whether for drunk driving or any other traffic violation or criminal charge, creates a federal tracking record at the FBI. This happens every time a mugshot and fingerprints are processed in any State. So, while a DUI arrest or DUI conviction MAY be removed or erased from State records, the impact on federal records at the NCIC is zero, in almost all instances. This is particularly true where a conviction occurred and no deferral or withholding of disposition was used by your State’s DUI first offender laws.
The laws involving DUI/DWI arrests and convictions are complicated. Plus, the facts of each case are specific and unique. This article provides a general, brief introduction to this topic. For more specific and detailed information about what is a DUI-DWI, please contact a DrunkDrivingDefense.com criminal lawyer at 1-844-832-6384 anytime day or night.