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DUI Frequently Asked Questions

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Due to the fact that "driving under the influence" (DUI) is the most highly committed crime in the United States, it is logical to conclude that many individuals have more than a few questions about the topic of "driving under the influence".

As a result of the prevalence of DUI incidents as well as the dangerous and at times fatal consequences that are correlated with DUI-related accidents, we are presenting some of the most frequently asked questions about driving under the influence.

What is "DUI"?

Driving a motor vehicle while under the influence of intoxicating alcohol or drugs or both is referred to as DUI.

An individual can 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.

An individual can also be charged with DUI if he or she operates a motor vehicle with a blood alcohol concentration in excess of the statutory limit, which in all 50 states is .08%. An individual's blood alcohol content level can be determined through alcohol testing from your saliva, urine, breath, hair, or from your blood.

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Why do I need a DUI lawyer?

During the course of a DUI investigation if there are irregularities or evidence that could cause the DUI charge to be thrown out of court, it is highly improbable that the court system, the police, or the prosecution will be greatly "motivated" to inform you of these irregularities.

Indeed, in many cases, you may never realize that an "irregularity" ever happened. A DUI attorney, it can be noted, may be able to find such "irregularities" and bring this evidence to the attention of the prosecution and the court.

And at times and based on this "evidence," your DUI lawyer may be able to get your charges considerably reduced or dismissed.

Having a DUI defense lawyer can make the entire DUI experience far less stressful. A reputable DUI attorney can answer your questions, prepare you for the proceedings each and every step of the way, and ensure that if there is a way to help you within the law, he or she will find this way.

DUI lawyers are trained in a specialized area of the law known as DUI criminal law. DUI attorneys have access to research data, information, and legal techniques that other lawyers in different areas of specialization may be unaware.

DUI attorneys understand "the system" and provide you with a better chance to retain your freedom than you would have by representing yourself OR by hiring an attorney who is not knowledgeable about DUI law.

What should I do if my vehicle is stopped by a police officer and he asks if I've been drinking?

While most DUI lawyers recommend that you act politely, give your name, and provide various documents like your driver's license, vehicle registration, and proof of insurance to the police officer, you need to know that you are not legally required to answer any other questions.

In fact, you have the right to remain silent and you have the right to contact an attorney before you answer any questions other than giving your name and providing the documents discussed above. Keep in mind, however, that if you do decide to answer other questions, your answers can be used by the prosecution, as well as by your DUI attorney.

What is a field sobriety test?

Field sobriety tests involve various testing procedures that police officers use at the scene (in the field) to ascertain different levels of impairment. In most circumstances, police officers will not ask you to undergo any field sobriety tests unless they either suspect DUI for another reason or smell drugs or alcohol near the vehicle or on the person.

Field sobriety tests often include the following tests: a portable breath test, "walk and turn" test, checking a person's pupil dilation, and the "pen to eye" test.

If you take any of these tests, it is highly probable that the police officer will report some sort of "failure." During a suspected DUI incident most police officers will document a person's slurred speech and will also take note of his or her appearance.

Why take unnecessary tests and/or talk too much when arrested for DUI? In a word, there is simply no need to add to the evidence against you by offering additional information or by taking a series of field sobriety tests.

Due to the fact that you are not legally required to take any field sobriety tests, it is almost always in your best interests to politely refuse to take these tests.

Is there anyway to avoid a DUI?

It probably sounds unrealistic, superficial, and too "easy," but if you truly want to steer clear of getting arrested for a DUI, then don't drink and drive. Call a friend or family member, designate a driver, call a taxi for a ride, or walk, but no matter what, do not drink and drive.

Does a person with a DUI have the right to challenge his or her license suspension?

Yes, a person has the legal right to challenge his or her license suspension due to a DUI or another traffic violation. In fact, a person can request a hearing concerning the suspension of his or her license by taking his or her notice of revocation to his or her local DMV.

If the person requests a hearing, he or she will be given a temporary driving permit that will allow him or her to drive until the hearing date.

What is the difference between a license revocation and a license suspension?

Essentially, if a person's driver's license has been revoked, he or she is normally ineligible for driving privileges for work, school or any other driving situations.

A suspension, to the contrary, frequently results when a driver has received too many points. In this case, the individual is usually eligible for limited driving privileges for work, medical reasons, and for school.

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

Concerning a DUI, a person's license can be suspended from 90 days up to 4 or more years. The different suspension times depend on whether or not the person refused to submit to a chemical or alcohol test, if a child was in the vehicle at the time of the driver's DUI arrest, whether or not a traffic fatality resulted from the driver's DUI, the blood alcohol level of the driver, and the driver's prior offenses.

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How can an "average citizen" or the general public report a suspected drunk driver?

When you want to report a suspected drunk driver, use extreme safety and call 911 from your cell phone. If after calling 911 you continue to receive a busy signal, please call your local police department or your local sheriff to report a driver that you suspect may be drunk.

Do I have to give my name if I call 911 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.

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