Driving Under the Influence (DUI) Facts

What Is a DUI?

DUI stands for Driving Under the Influence. The term applies to someone operating a vehicle while under the influence of alcohol or drugs. Drugs include illegal substances but can also apply to prescription medications.

Forty-nine states consider a driver legally impaired if their blood alcohol concentration exceeds 0.08%. Only Utah has a lower legal limit of 0.05%. 

If someone operates a commercial vehicle and uses a commercial driver license (CDL), the legal limit is 0.04%.

Getting a DUI can lead to jail time, community service, fines, and a suspension or revocation of a driver’s license. These punishments depend on the location of the DUI and its circumstances.

DUI Facts and FAQs

If you or someone you care about received a DUI, you’ll want to learn more about the charge and what happens next. The following are frequently asked questions regarding DUI:

Quick DUI Facts and Statistics

  • In the United States, in 2021, 13,384 people were killed due to drunk driving. 
  • On average, drunk driving killed someone every 39 minutes in 2021.
  • People driving under the influence caused almost 31% of all United States traffic fatalities in 2021.


Does Getting a DUI Affect Insurance?

Yes. After receiving a DUI, an insurance company will consider the person a higher risk. They’ll raise their insurance premium to protect themselves from insurance claims caused by reckless driving in the future.

Can You Get a DUI on a Bicycle?

Most states consider a bicycle a vehicle, so you can get a DUI while riding a bicycle in those states.

Can You Get a DUI Even If You Weren’t Driving? 

Yes, but this often depends on the arresting officer’s judgment. They can charge a DUI if someone puts the key in the ignition and touches any buttons or foot pedals. Even if the vehicle is not yet moving, it can count as a DUI.

There have also been cases where an officer will charge a DUI if an intoxicated person stands near their vehicle without ever opening the door.

How Long Does a DUI Remain on Your Record?

The record’s history depends on the state, with some states removing the incident from a driving record in as little as five years and others leaving it on the record for life.

What Happens When You Get a DUI?

When an officer suspects someone is driving under the influence, they may ask the driver to take a sobriety test, like walking in a straight line or standing on one leg. The officer may also use a breathalyzer test measuring the concentration of alcohol in the air breathed out. This analysis gives the officer an estimate of the current blood alcohol content.

If an officer has probable cause of a DUI, the driver may be arrested and charged. The driver will then appear in court and have an opportunity to plead their case before sentencing. 

What Is the Punishment for a DUI?

Punishments for a DUI vary based on the state and the conditions of the DUI. Higher fines and/or jail time depend on whether the DUI is considered a felony instead of a misdemeanor. 

The length of a driving license suspension, fines, community service, and jail time for a convicted DUI depend on the state. You can learn more about the standard for each state on the DMV’s website.

A judge will often approve rehab for alcohol and drug abuse instead of jail time. Those in court should ask their legal counsel if this is an option. 

Is a DUI Considered a Felony?

A DUI can become a felony instead of a misdemeanor if the offense was not the driver’s first DUI, if there were children in the vehicle, if anyone was injured or killed, or if the driver had an expired or suspended license.

Addiction Recovery

Some people with repeated DUI incidents struggle because of severe addictions to alcohol and drugs. These addictions are dangerous, but recovery is possible thanks to many addiction recovery organizations like Buena Vista RecoveryA judge may assign court-ordered rehab after a DUI, especially if there have been multiple incidents of driving under the influence. However, anyone who feels they’re under the control of alcohol or drug addiction can come to Buena Vista Recovery for treatment.

Buena Vista Can Help

At Buena Vista Recovery, we provide facilities and staff ready to take care of medical issues, detox, and therapy for those struggling with addictions. 

We exceed expectations to help people recover from addictions. We’ll make travel arrangements so the recovering addict and their loved ones won’t have to worry about transportation. We’ve designed our centers to make people feel comfortable and safe as they work through addiction recovery.

If you or someone you know needs help recovering from alcohol or drug addiction, contact Buena Vista Recovery. Let us help you start your healing journey.

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