Read these 27 DUI Laws Tips tips to make your life smarter, better, faster and wiser. Each tip is approved by our Editors and created by expert writers so great we call them Gurus. LifeTips is the place to go when you need to know about DUI tips and hundreds of other topics.
Having an open container of alcohol in your car while you're driving is against the law. Depending on the state you reside, and whether or not this is your first offense will determine if the crime is a felony or misdemeanor. If you're stopped by the police for a traffic offense, and the officer sees the container in plain sight, that gives him/her probable cause to ascertain whether or not you're driving under the influence. You can expect the officer to give you a field sobriety test and a Breathalyzer test. If you're not intoxicated in the officer's opinion, you will be cited for the open container and have to pay a fine; the amount of the fine depends upon your past arrest record. If you're a "habitual offender," the fine will be higher. Play it safe - keep the open container out of your reach in the trunk. Better still, don't have any open containers in the car, and don't allow any passengers to do so.
Did you know that some states have a version of the three strikes state law that says a "one strike" repeat violator may be charged a double or greatly increased sentence on a current felony? This includes DUI state law violations that require felony convictions.
Some people mistakenly believe that this "double sentencing" issue applies only to violent offenses. Bottom line, those with violations already on the books should avoid putting themselves in situations where they find three strikes rules applicable.
Wet reckless is lawyer jargon for a lesser conviction allowed when the defendant agrees to plead guilty to a substitute charge for "non-injury" DUI.
This results in a far more lenient sentence of a fine that can go as high as $1,200 in some states, and a period of "informal probation." The punishment is less severe, but wet reckless goes on your record and you are viewed as a DUI offender in the event of future DUI charges.
Some consequences of drunk driving are more obvious than others. Most people are aware that you will have your license suspended for a certain period of time. Many are also aware that a certain amount of jail time may be a consequence of drunk driving (depending on how many offenses you have). What fewer people take into account when thinking of the consequences of drunk driving, however, is the future.
Did you know that on every future job application you fill out you will have to disclose your DUI conviction? An offense like a DUI speaks volumes about your character and many potential employers will take such charges seriously. Think about that.
The following are the penalties as mandated by the State of Ohio DUI laws. There are separate stages involved for repeat offenses:
• Administrative License Suspension (ALS) for a prohibited BAC
• ALS for test refusal = one year license suspension
• Jail - Minimum of three consecutive days or 3-day driver intervention program
• Fine - Minimum $200 and not more than $1,000
• Court License Suspension - 6 months to 3 years
• ALS for one year for a prohibited BAC
• ALS for test refusal = two year license suspension
• Jail - Minimum of 10 consecutive days or five days jail + minimum 18 consecutive days or
• Electronically monitored house arrest combined, not to exceed 6 months
• Fine - Minimum $300 and not more than $1,500
• Discretionary driver's intervention program
• Vehicle immobilization and plates impounded for 90 days
• Court License Suspension - 1 year to 5 years
These are just after two offenses. The penalties get greater the more offenses you have. As you can see, the penalties in State of Ohio DUI laws are severe, so be careful when choosing to drive and when to pass the keys to someone else.
California Vehicle Code 23152 states that a misdemeanor violation of California DUI law is defined as an incident with no personal injury or property damage. This is an excellent example of how vague some DUI laws can be. Could you be charged with a felony California DUI if your car bends a tree in a public park? Or leaves a dent in a telephone pole? Under the strictest interpretation of the law, yes. Can a California DUI lawyer argue against this in court? Yes.
In 2003, Washington State expanded their DUI law to be even tougher on DUI offenders. Washington State DUI law mandates that drivers install ignition interlock devices on their cars if they have repeatedly been convicted of DUI. Furthermore, the penalties increase if you are driving drunk with children in the car.
Washington State DUI law is very strict. If you live in Washington State or will be visiting there, be extra careful with regard to Washington State DUI law. Drive carefully at all times and think twice before getting behind the wheel after a night out.
Did you know that some state DUI laws stipulate that bail forfeiture is equal to a conviction? These laws are spelled out for specific circumstances. If you post bail in a DUI or DWI case, but are required by the court to report, it is absolutely imperative that you show up for all court dates and hearings. Three strikes laws may not apply to your initial charges if they don't meet state criteria, but increased penalties and new charges can result if you ignore court orders to appear.
Did you know that in some cases your lawyer may be able to appear in court on your behalf? This can allow you to legally be in two places at once, for purposes of the hearing or court date. Ask your DUI lawyer or legal counsel in your state if your circumstances allow this. Regardless, you are required to comply with all court orders or requirements to remain in a particular area if such restrictions apply to your case.
If you are looking to expand your knowledge of local DUI law, there are many available resources to help:
• The state that you live in should have a website that gives detailed information about your state's DUI law
• Use your local agencies
• Try contacting your sheriff's department or police station—officers will typically be happy to help
• Contact your local State's or District's Attorney office
Between all of these resources, you can easily learn more about DUI law.
Did you know that many states allow DUI arrests even if your blood alcohol content is below the legal limit? If you find yourself in danger of falling under three strikes because of a DUI or other violation connected with alcohol, it is vital to secure the services of an experienced DUI attorney right away. Your only hope of avoiding conviction and federal jail time under three strikes may be resting on a technicality or point of law only an experienced DUI attorney can argue.
California DUI law and other state DUI laws now feature a a zero-tolerance policy for underage drinking and driving. While some mistakenly believe that you need a 0.08 blood alcohol level to be charged under DUI or DWI law, the rules are much different for minors. In some states, a blood alcohol concentration of 0.02 is enough to be charged if you are underage. Don't risk tangling with DUI state laws.
Arizona state law for DUI is changing often. Recent changes should be taken note of by anyone with a driver's license. Among these changes were:
• An increase in the initial fine for 1st time DUI offenders from $450 to $950
• A DUI conviction when a driver has a blood alcohol content of 0.15 percent or above increases from $700 to $1,700
• A second-time offender will face a $1,250 surcharge on top of the other fines
As you can see, the fees set forth by Arizona state laws for DUI are high and only getting higher. Think of it this way—how much would a cab cost to take home from the bar? I bet it would be less than the $950 fine it would cost if you get behind the wheel after a long night.
*Do the math and make the right choice.
Many people live under the impression that DUI law only covers transportation in a car or truck. What most do not know, however, is that you can be charged with DUI while operating many other types of vehicles, including:
• Golf Carts
Remember, DUI laws extend past cars, trucks, and motorcycles, so be careful no matter how you are traveling. Any mode of transportation can be used as a weapon if operated incorrectly and/or under the influence.
In many cases, those out-of-state residents charged with a violation of state DUI laws may have their DUI or DWI cases represented for them by an in-state lawyer. The lawyer will have to demonstrate that it is "inconvenient" for you to be present based on your residency status in another state. Most lawyers can and do represent such cases without the defendant present.
When it comes to drunk driving law and drinking in general, many people fall under the misconception that the kind of alcohol you consume makes a difference when it comes to drunk driving law. While different types of drinks contain different concentrations of alcohol, or what may be called "proofs", this matters not to the law.
Most hard liquors have a higher alcohol concentration than most wines, and most wines have a higher alcohol concentration than most beers (meaning that it may take "less" hard liquor and wine to become intoxicated). However, when it comes to drunk driving law, the alcohol concentration of a drink is not everything—you also have to consider the size of the drink that you are having. Therefore, a shot glass of hard liquor, which is usually only about 1-1/2 ounces of alcohol, may end up having the same effect as one five-ounce glass of wine or one twelve-ounce beer.
No matter what type of alcohol you consume, you are equally at risk of violating drunk driving law. Be smart, if you are going to drive, don't drink. And if you want to drink, get a designated driver who doesn't have to worry about breaking your state's drunk driving law.
Were you half in the bag or only a quarter in the bag when you got pulled over? While all states have DUI laws, different state DUI laws define ‘drunk' in different parameters. Most people would be surprised to learn how much of a difference there truly is between a .06% blood alcohol level and a .10% blood alcohol level. What does your state DUI law consider drunk?
Once you know your state DUI law, there are legal ways to help you stay off the road if you are beyond the legal limit. Among the most popular is a personal breathalyzer test. These can let you know your BAC at any time. They are small and easy to carry around. If you like to have a good time out of the house, buy one of these from you're a local convenience store and keep it handy. They are fairly inexpensive and could save you from an extremely costly DUI charge.
Advances in science have made it easy to keep yourself from breaking your state DUI law. Take advantage of these advances and party safely.
Changes can occur with any laws or statutes, changes can often occur. Each year, states vote to make changes to their drunk driving laws which will affect every citizen in the state. It is important to keep up with changes to your local drunk driving law. In case you ever find yourself in this terrible situation:
• Know your rights under the law
• Keep up with local drunk driving law through the Internet or your local newspaper
• If you think there have been changes to your state's drunk driving laws but are not sure, contact your legislature
• You can also contact groups such as MADD who track changes in drunk driving law across the country
Stay informed about drunk driving laws and protect your rights!
You may be worried about coming into three strikes law jurisdiction with a Texas DUI or a Vegas DUI offense, but there are other issues that can cause just as much worry. Did you know that most states have an escalating set of fines and other penalties for multiple offenses? Your DUI state laws may impose additional punishment simply for having more than one of any kind of offense, and you will definitely pay more fines for a second or third DUI or DWI. Some states automatically elevate a DUI offense to a felony charge after a specified number of offenses. California state DUI law specifies four offenses; other states may have higher or lower limits for the number of misdemeanors you are "allowed".
The penalties in California state law for DUI vary according to the customs of the local jurisdiction. Generally speaking, a conviction for a first offense may involve a fine, a license suspension or restriction, attendance at a DUI education course for a period of time and probation for perhaps three years. A short jail sentence may or may not be required for a first offense but, for a second offense, it almost certainly will. Additional punishment may involve community service, ignition interlock devices, AA meetings and/or impounding of the vehicle.
*California state law and DUI charges are serious matters. If you are confronted with a DUI in the state of California, you should consult with a local attorney who specializes in DUI cases.
Illinois has a long history behind their present DUI law. Illinois state DUI law started in 1958 when the first amount of blood alcohol content was identified as making on 'under the influence'. At that time, the blood alcohol level was .15%. Today, Illinois state DUI law mandates a blood alcohol level of .08% as making a person 'under the influence'. These are not the only changes that have occurred.
Original Illinois DUI law did not carry nearly as stiff a penalty as current Illinois state DUI law. Today, prison is definitely in the cards for a repeat DUI offender in Illinois—that was not always the case.
*Keep up with the state DUI laws so that you can always know your rights if you are ever stopped.
The scope of DUI law is ever-expanding to include modes of transportation other than a car. For example, in Michigan, being drunk while riding a snowmobile is grounds for a DUI arrest. In most states, DUI law now exists to deal with drinking while boating. In Texas, you can even be arrested for DUI if you are on water skis while intoxicated. Many college towns such as Gainesville, Florida even have laws regarding bicycling while under the influence.
No matter what your mode of transportation, double check your local laws before getting on your skateboard or your jetski. If you have been drinking, you may be subject to arrest under your state's DUI law.
If you are charged with a violation of California DUI law, but live in another state, you may not have your license confiscated by the California police officer. However, most states have some sort of reciprocity agreement by which you may be assessed points against your license or be charged according to the laws of your state.
The out-of-state nature of your case may complicate your defense options. Expect the state Department of Motor Vehicles where you got your license from to impose the appropriate measures.
Have you ever wondered whether drunk driving law was subjective in its application? Beyond the fact that different states have different drunk driving laws, can a drunk driving charge differ based on the officer that pulls you over? Many studies show that it can. Keeping this in mind can help if you are ever charged with a DUI.
Police and other law enforcement officers are trained on how to recognize drunk driving. The previously mentioned studies, however, suggest that sometimes officers see what they are trained to see instead of what is really happening. For example, officers administering field sobriety exercises are trained on what to look for in a drunk person. However, the observations that they associate with drunk driving may be the result of something wholly different. This means that two officers administering the same exercises to the same person may come to entirely different conclusions based on their training.
Are you sure that the officer who pulled you over acted in line with your state's drunk driving law? Consult with an attorney to make sure that you do not become the victim of an officer seeing what he expected instead of what really happened.
Don't be stupid and get a DUI in Arizona. Arizona DUI law has a national reputation as among the Nation's toughest:
• The legal limit for blood alcohol level is .08%
• A blood alcohol concentration of .150% or higher results in additional charges
• A first offense extreme DUI carries a minimum sentence of 30 days in jail
• If it is a 3rd offense or more within a 5 year period charges are more severe
• If there is a child in the car it is considered a felony
Every year the DUI laws in Arizona become more severe, either through judge-made case law, or through legislation promoted by groups such as MADD and prosecutors. If you are driving in Arizona, be aware of the local DUI laws.
Virginia state law for DUI is very specific with regards to the penalties for first time DUI offenders. First offenses are met with a fine ranging from $250 to $2500. In addition to the fine, Virginia state law for DUI also states that you can serve up to 1 whole year for a first DUI offense. If your blood alcohol level is above .15%, you will also be forced to install a mandatory ignition interlock system in your car once your driver license is reinstated.
*These penalties for DUI set by Virginia state law may seem severe, however, DUI offenses are on the rise and the commonwealth must try to prevent more occurrences through its stiffer penalties. Virginia drivers, be smart and don't drive under the Influence!
A DUI arrest may be termed a wobbler, meaning the case may be charged as either a felony or misdemeanor. These cases may require a bail hearing, which means the offender will spend some time in jail before going in for the hearing. Some violations of DUI laws may stipulate no bail is allowed, or a bail that is higher than the offender can afford to pay. In these violations, the best thing the offender can do is contact a good lawyer, patiently do the jail time, and prepare his or her defense.
Attorneys come in all shapes and sizes and with all sorts of specializations. If you are facing prosecution for violation of DUI law, find yourself a qualified DUI lawyer. These specific lawyers have experience with DUI law and will be able to represent you better than another type of lawyer.
If you had a heart problem, you would not go to a podiatrist, but rather to a cardiologist. They are both doctors, but specialization is the key. The same goes for choosing your lawyer. When it comes to DUI law, there are intricacies that are often only known by attorneys with actual DUI trial experience. Make sure that you choose a lawyer with good references and an extensive history of dealing with DUI law. You will be happy you did.