DUI (Driving Under the Influence) or DWI (Driving While Intoxicated)
laws are names for the same offenses in different states. We'll
use the term DUI since this is more common than DWI.
DUI laws prohibit a person from driving while impaired by use
of alcohol, illicit drugs, prescription drugs or even over the
counter medication. In the United States this is a kind of criminal
offense. DUI represents that the criminal tries to control a motor
vehicle when he or she is under the influence of alcohol or drugs
DUI laws have been put in place by all U. S. states to try to
deter serious accidents including casualties. DUI accidents are
one of the top causes of accidents and deaths on the U. S. roadways.
When a suspected DUI is pulled over by police there are several
options at the officer's disposal. Depending upon the state, county
or city an officer may have a breathalyzer test available. Another
method to determine DUI is a field sobriety test.
In addition, if the DUI is suspected to be caused by drugs and
not alcohol, then a blood sample may be requested when the suspect
is brought back to the station for processing. Typically a car
will also be searched for illegal drugs which will compound the
sentencing in court.
If there was no accident that occurred because of the DUI, then
the judge may opt for minimal sentence, suspended sentence, order
the driver into rehab or order the driver to take drug and alcohol
If another person was hurt or property was damaged because of
the DUI, then the driver may face more serious criminal and civil
charges. Besides jail time, the driver may face civil charges
from those who have been hurt, their family, or property owners.
A consequence for repeat offenders may be to have one's drivers
license suspended for whatever time frame the judge dictates.
This is to minimize the risk to self or others from another DUI.
This may be a hardship for the driver if they are employed and
need a vehicle to get to work or for their work.
Occasionally, some defenses work in regard to the DUI laws of
some states. For instance, if the driver is right on the edge
of the blood alcohol limit (.08 to .10 in most states) the accuracy
of the equipment can be questioned. If the field sobriety test
is given the defendant could claim a medical condition to account
In addition, some prescription and non-prescription medication
don't interact well with others and if the driver is unaware of
this conflict and no one is injured as a result, the charges may
be dropped. These are just a few examples of the defenses for
the DUI laws in various states.