DUI - Driving Under The Influence

DUI - Driving Under The Influence

1. What Is DUI?

DUI stands for driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs. And in every state, DUI is a crime. Some states refer to driving under the influence as DWI which stands for driving while intoxicated or OUI which stands for operating under the influence of alcohol or drugs.

While DUI includes the word "driving", in some states a person does not have to be actually driving in order to be guilty of DUI. Rather, some states simply say that a person needs to "control" the vehicle. In other words, in some states, if a person is sitting behind the wheel, even if not driving, the person may be guilty of DUI.

Also, a person does not necessarily have to be driving a car, truck, bus, etc. on a public road. In some states, driving any vehicle such as a lawn mower or golf cart, even if on private property, while under the influence of alcohol or drugs will suffice to make a person guilty of DUI.

With reference to being under the influence of drugs, the drugs can be either illegal drugs, prescription drugs, or over the counter drugs. Basically, any drug will qualify if the person takes it intentionally and it impairs or hinders the person's abilities to drive a vehicle.

2. What Are The Defenses To DUI?

Driving under the influence is actually a crime. And because it is a crime, DUI must be proved beyond a reasonable doubt. In a normal DUI case, the prosecutor will have the arresting officer testify as to what the officer actually saw of a charged person's driving and testify about the situation that lead to the DUI charge. Often, the officer's testimony will also include evidence about a sobriety test given to the person charged with driving under the influence. In case of driving under the influence of alcohol, the prosecutor will also likely have Breathalyzer test results. The best defense to the arresting officer's testimony and the test results is for a DUI defense attorney to create reasonable doubt as to the accuracy of the testimony or tests. If the DUI defense attorney can create reasonable doubt, then the person charged with DUI should win.

There may be other defenses such as entrapment, duress, necessity, or involuntary intoxication. With these defenses, a person is admitting that he or she was driving under the influence, but that he or she had a very good reason. These types of cases are very rare and these defenses are not used very often. If you feel that one of these defenses is applicable to you, be sure to talk with a DUI defense lawyer because you need an expert to present your defense.

3. What Are The Penalties For DUI?

Penalties for driving under the influence vary state to state. In most cases, the penalty is a fine, community service, probation, jail time, or limiting or suspending a person's driver's license. Usually, people found guilty of DUI for the first time receive a fine and community service. Each additional time that a person is found guilty of DUI, the penalties will increase until the person loses his or her drivers license and goes to jail. Since the penalties increase with each DUI charge, it is very important that people charged with driving under the influence talk with a DUI defense lawyer and understand the penalties.

Many states allow first time DUI offenders to participate in pretrial intervention programs which result in minimum penalties. Sometimes, the penalty for driving under the influence can be reduced by attending a driving class.

This is general information only. If you have any questions whatsoever, talk with a DUI defense attorney licensed in your state.


Learn More

How Prosecutors Prove Driving Under The Influence

Is A DUI A Criminal Offense

DUI Penalty


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