Oregon DUI Information    |    Portland DUI Attorney   |   Oregon Criminal Guide


What Happens After

 a Drunk Driving Arrest


Oregon's DUII

Information Authority

503.546.2928

 

434 NW 19th Avenue

Portland, OR  97209

 

 

 

THE CHARGES


DUI | DWI | OVI | OWI | OUI

Aggravated DUI

Aggravated DWI

Extreme DUI

Super Extreme DUI

Per se

Drunk Driving

Drunken Driving

Actual Physical Control

APC

DUAC

DUAL

UBAC

DWUI

DWAI

DUII

 

 

THE DAYS AFTER

 

I just got arrested for a DUI.  What do I need to know?  What do I do next?

 

First, gather your paperwork together.

Second, if your car was towed, determine how to retrieve it (from your paperwork).

Some jurisdictions charge storage fees for each day the car is impounded.

Do NOT show up drunk to get your car; you don't need a second DUI charge.

Third, determine the date, time, and place of your court date(s). 

Do NOT miss any court appearances and don't show up late.

Dress appropriately for court; do not bring your children; don't have alcohol on your breath.

If you have to leave the state in the next month or two notify the court of this fact at your initial appearance.

Fourth, determine if you face a suspension for failing or refusing the breath or blood test and when the suspension begins. 

Do NOT drive on a suspended or revoked license.

Fifth, read your paperwork to determine how to appeal / challenge your administrative (implied consent) license suspension so you don't miss any deadline(s).

Sixth, read the information below for general information on how the arrest and prosecution process works.

Next, click on one of the links below to get information on your state's specific drunk driving laws,

Finally, call a DUI lawyer for legal advice and information specific to your situation.



THE BIG PICTURE

 

There are usually two aspects to a drunk driving arrest:

 

(1) the implied consent suspension or revocation for failing or refusing a chemical test (a breath test; a blood test; and / or a urine test); and

(2) the criminal charge of driving under the influence / driving while intoxicated.

 

These are separate and distinct proceedings.

 

ISSUE ONE:  The Implied Consent / Express Consent / Administrative License Suspension / Administrative License Revocation Proceeding for Failing or Refusing a Chemical Test:  If you refused a breath, blood, or urine test, you likely face some type of license suspension under your state's implied consent law.  Virtually every U.S. state imposes penalties (typically a license suspension or revocation) for refusing a chemical (breath / blood / urine) test.  Additionally, 44 states impose penalties (either a suspension or revocation of your driving privileges) for failing a breath or blood test (typically showing a BAC of 0.08 % or greater). 

 

If you're under 21 years of age, you typically "fail" a breath or blood test with a BAC of as little as 0.01% to 0.02%.  Persons driving a commercial motor vehicle typically fail a breath or blood test with a BAC of 0.04% or more.  For the rest of us, if your test shows .08% or greater then you fail the test.

 

Read your paperwork carefully.  You generally have a right to appeal / challenge any implied consent / administrative license sanction imposed.  This appeal is sometimes referred to as a "DMV Hearing;" a "BMV Hearing;" a "MVD Hearing;" an "ALS Hearing;" or and "ALR Hearing."  Keep in mind that strict deadlines apply.  Speak to an attorney in the state where you were arrested for more information about your right to contest the implied consent suspension / revocation. 

 

 

ISSUE TWO:  The Drunk Driving Criminal Charge:  Separate from any suspension or revocation received for failing or refusing a breath, blood, or urine test is the criminal charge for operating / driving / being in physical control of a vehicle under the influence / impaired / intoxicated.  While laws vary from state to state, typically it is unlawful for any person who:

  • is under the influence of alcohol; or

  • has a concentration of alcohol of 0.08 percent or more in his blood or breath (sometimes known as a per se DUI); or

  • is under the influence of drugs (controlled substance); or

  • is under the influence of a combination of alcohol and drug(s)

to drive or operate or be in actual physical control of a vehicle.  Some states have additional charges such as driving while ability impaired, aggravated DUI's, and extreme DUI's, super extreme DUI's and the like.  In most states, there is some type of additional penalty for a high BAC such as an increased fine or increased jail time.  In nearly every state, a first non-injury DUI / DWI is a misdemeanor crime.  See the links to the right for individual state specific information.

 

Important:  The implied consent / express consent / statutory summary suspension proceeding and the criminal DUI case are completely separate from one another.  Picture two separate boxes:

 

ISSUE ONE ISSUE TWO
‣  Implied Consent aka Administrative License Suspension or Revocation for failing or refusing a chemical (breath / blood / urine) test.
  Every state imposes penalties (a suspension or revocation) for refusing a chemical (usually a breath) test.  Most states also impose a lesser penalty (a shorter suspension / revocation) for failing (BAC 0.08 percent or greater) a breath or blood test.
‣ 
You have the
option of contesting this suspension / revocation by requesting an appeal  or hearing within a short time after your arrest.
  ‣  Criminal charge for DUI / DWI (and any other crimes such as hit and run, speeding, reckless driving).
‣  You must personally appear in court or a bench warrant will be issued for your arrest.
‣  If you are convicted of the charge, you will face penalties such as substance abuse treatment, fines, possible jail time, community service and often another license suspension or revocation.
‣  Your state may offer some time of first offender program or plea agreement that could allow you to avoid a conviction.

 


 

THE SPECIFICS

 

Will my license to drive be revoked / suspended?

 

RELATED TO ISSUE ONE ABOVE:  Your driver license (or your right to drive if you do not have a valid license) may be suspended or revoked for refusing (and often for failing) a chemical (breath / blood / urine) test for alcohol and / or drugs.  Again, you may challenge this revocation / suspension by filing a timely appeal.  Keep in mind though that requesting an appeal will not necessarily overturn the suspension / revocation; rather, it merely provides with a chance to overturn the suspension / revocation.  If you lose your appeal or do not appeal at all, the suspension or revocation takes effect.

 

 

RELATED TO ISSUE TWO ABOVE:  In most states, if you are convicted of the drunk driving charge, you will also typically lose your license (or your right to drive license) for a period of time.  This suspension or revocation is generally separate and distinct from the implied consent / administrative / statutory summary suspension or revocation.  Talk to your attorney for possible suspension and revocation lengths that you may face.

 

 

Also keep in mind that your license can be suspended or revoked for a variety of reasons unrelated to any DWI arrest e.g. excessive tickets, excessive points, convictions for hit and run, drug charges, reckless driving, etc.  In most states, suspensions and revocations run concurrently with each other; however, sometimes a suspension or revocation run consecutively to one another. 

 

What happens if I'm facing other criminal charges along with my drunk driving offense?

 

It is not unusual to face additional charges along with your DWI offense.  Sometimes, the officer will also charge you with whatever traffic infraction led to your being pulled over (speeding, for example).  Other times, you face additional criminal charges.  Examples include:  hit and run (aka hit and skip aka failure to perform the duties of a driver aka failure to render aid) charge for failing to stop and provide information after an accident; vehicular assault for injuring someone in a drunk driving collision; reckless driving for operating the vehicle in a particularly poor or dangerous manner; and driving while your license is suspended or revoked. 

 

Usually, these offenses are misdemeanor crimes unless someone is injured in a hit and run or unless someone is seriously injured or killed (vehicular assault / intoxication assualt / vehicular homicide / manslaughter).  These crimes are generally felonies.

 

What happens if I get caught driving / operating while my license is suspended / revoked?

 

It is illegal to drive on a suspended or revoked license in every state.  If you are on probation for a DUI conviction, you will also violate your probation by driving on a suspended or revoked license.  Penalties for a driving / operating while your license is suspended / revoked charge vary from state to state but generally include fines, possible jail time, and an often an additional license suspension / revocation.

 

I really need to drive.  Will I be able to get a restricted / occupational / conditional / probationary license or permit?

 

Most states offer some type of occupational type license that allows individuals to drive for limited purposes while serving a DUI / DWI related suspension or revocation and / or an implied consent suspension or revocation.  There is often a significant waiting period before you may be eligible for a restricted license.  Also, you may have to install an ignition interlock device and / or file an SR-22 before qualifying.  Your lawyer can explain whether and when you may be eligible for this type of license.

 

A restricted license of this type generally only allows for driving to and from work, to treatment, and often not much else.  No state issues restricted / occupational licenses that allow operation of a commercial vehicle.

 

What is meant by the terms DUI, DWI, OWI, OVI, DAI, OVUII, DWAI, OUI, OUIL, DWUI, UBAL, DUII etc.?  What's the difference?

 

These terms are all acronyms that refer to the offense commonly known as "drunk driving."  Different states have different names for the crime.  Typically those acronyms are based on the following abbreviations:

 

DRUNK DRIVING ACRONYMS
A ABILITY / ACTUAL / ALCOHOL
B BLOOD / BREATH
C CONTROL / CONTENT / CONCENTRATION
D DRIVING / DRUGS
I IMPAIRED / INFLUENCE / INTOXICATED / INTOXICATING / INTOXICANT
L LEVEL / LIQUOR
O OPERATING
M MOTOR
N NARCOTICS
P PHYSICAL
R REVOKED / REVOCATION
S SUSPENDED / SUSPENSION
U UNDER / UNLAWFUL
V VEHICLE / VISIBLY
W WHILE

 

In Arkansas, Delaware, Minnesota, Louisiana, New Jersey, New York, New Mexico, North Carolina and Texas the charge is known as driving while intoxicated / impaired (DWI). 

 

Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, California, Connecticut, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Illinois, Montana, Kansas, South Carolina, Washington and most other states use the term driving under the influence (DUI). 

 

Oregon uses the term driving under the influence of an intoxicant (DUII).

 

Wyoming uses the term driving while under the influence (DWUI). 

 

Some states refer to "operating" instead of driving and use terms such as OWI (Wisconsin, Iowa, Michigan) or OVI (Ohio) or OUI (Maine / Massachusetts).  

 

Some states have a two-tier drunk driving system.  For example in New York State, the standard charge is a DWI but they also have a lesser type charge called driving while ability impaired (DWAI).  The DWAI offense is usually seen when law enforcement believes you to be impaired by alcohol or drugs but your BAC is something less than 0.08 percent.  Colorado is another two-tier state with the primary charge being DUI and DWAI as the lesser type offense.  Maryland is similar but it uses the term DUI for the standard charge and driving while impaired (DWI) for the lesser type offense.

 

Other states, such as Arizona, have a different charge for high BAC (blood / breath alcohol content) DUI's.  Arizona uses the term Extreme DUI for a BAC of 0.15% or greater and Super Extreme DUI for a BAC of 0.20% or more.  Some states use the term "high tier" to refer to an elevated blood alcohol content.

 

In some states (Oklahoma, Arizona, Illinois, Mississippi, Kentucky, Idaho, New York) the term "Aggravated DUI" or "Aggravated DWI" is used.  This might refer to a DWI / DUI with a suspended license, with a child in the car, or with prior DWI / DUI convictions.

 

In some states proof of driving or operating a vehicle is not required.  If you're in actual physical control (APC) a vehicle while under the influence you can be prosecuted.  Arizona, Oklahoma, and Washington State are among those with actual physical control statutes.

 

Other acronyms sometimes related to drunk driving arrests include:  FST-field sobriety tests; IID-ignition interlock device; HGN-horizontal gaze nystagmus; DL-driver license; DWS-driving while suspended; DWLS-driving while license suspended; DWR-driving while revoked; DWLR-driving while license revoked; BAC-Blood / Breath Alcohol Content.

 

I refused the breath test.  That means I can beat the charges because they don't have any evidence to use against me.  Right?

 

Not necessarily.  Often times, the state has ample evidence to convict even if a suspect refuses a breath or blood test.  Depending on the circumstances, the state may be able to present a number of the following pieces of evidence:

  • Bad driving;

  • Odor of alcohol;

  • Poor dexterity;

  • Inability to follow instructions;

  • Poor coordination;

  • Poor performance on field sobriety tests (e.g. walk and turn; one leg stand; HGN);

  • Admissions to feeling the effects of alcohol or drugs (e.g. rating yourself on a scale of one to ten);

  • Falling asleep, urinating (or worse), etc.

Additionally, the prosecution can often use the test refusal itself as evidence that a suspect is trying to hide their impairment. 

 

I took / refused to take field sobriety tests.  How will this effect my case?

 

Field sobriety tests (commonly referred to as FST's) are tests generally performed at the traffic stop that are designed to assist an officer in his or her determination of a person's impairment if any.  Unlike a breath or blood test refusal, drivers generally do not face any type of suspension or revocation for refusing FST's.  Sometimes the refusal to perform these tests can be used against you at a trial.  Likewise, if you take the tests, your performance may be used against you at trial.

 

The most commonly used "standardized" field sobriety tests are the horizontal gaze nystagmus (HGN); the nine step walk and turn; and the one leg stand.

 

Is a DUI a misdemeanor or felony offense?

 

In nearly every state, a first-time, standard drunk driving offense is a misdemeanor crime.  [In a small number of jurisdictions (Wisconsin and New Jersey), a first DUI / DWI arrest is not a crime; rather it is a traffic violation / offense.] 

 

In many states, a drunk driving offense can become a felony if certain aggravating factors are present.  These include:  multiple prior DUI convictions; injuries to others; or having a child in the car.  In Oregon, for example, if you have two or more prior DUI convictions in the past 10 years the third or greater DUII is a felony.  In Texas, if you have a child under 15 in your car, even a first DWI is a felony.  Talk to your attorney for more information about the level of offense you face.

 

What goes on at my first court appearance?

 

Your first court appearance is commonly called an arraignment or an initial appearance.  At your arraignment you receive formal notice of charge or charges against you.  This document is commonly called a complaint; an information; a citation; or an indictment.  At the arraignment, you may apply for a court appointed attorney if you cannot afford to hire your own DWI lawyer.  A second court date will then be scheduled for you.

 

What type of penalties might I face if I am convicted of a DWI offense?

 

Upon conviction of an DWI offense, a defendant can receive a variety of penalties including probation; alcohol treatment / education; attendance at a victims impact panel class; fines; jail time; and a license suspension or revocation.  Additionally, in order to reinstate your license, you may have to install an ignition interlock device (IID) in your vehicle for some time; maintain an SR-22 or FR-44; pay a fee; and / or show proof of treatment completion.

 

What is a SCRAM / TAD device?

 

A Secure Continuous Remote Alcohol Monitoring (SCRAM) device is an ankle bracelet that periodically measures a person's BAC through perspiration (trans-dermal).  A competing product working in a similar manner is known as TAD (Tansdermal Alcohol Detection).

 

Courts are increasingly ordering the wearing of the devices as a condition of probation.  As you might expect, the devices are more commonly used for offenders with multiple drunk driving convictions.

Will my defense attorney be able to plea bargain / negotiate my DWI / DUI offense down to another (lesser) offense?

Possibly.  Plea bargaining and charge reduction are two areas that any experienced DUI attorney would discuss with the prosecutor on the client's behalf.  Several states like New Mexico and Oregon have anti-plea bargaining laws that prohibit reducing or changing a DUI / DWI offense to another charge. 

While many states allow plea bargaining this does not mean that the prosecutor will agree to lower or reduce the charge in every instance.  Your best chance to get a reduction is with a low BAC and no prior offenses and no collision and no child passenger(s).

Will a DUI conviction go on "my driving record?"

Typically, yes.  A DUI conviction will go on your driving record for some period of time.  The implied consent suspension or revocation will usually appear on your driving record as well.  Talk to your attorney about your state's individual procedures. 

Just how much jail / prison time will I have to do if I am convicted of a DUI offense?

Most persons convicted of a DUI are placed on probation with a variety of conditions including some custody (jail) time.  The amount of incarceration (jail or prison) received will depend on a number of factors, including (but not limited to) the following:

  • your prior driving record especially your DUI history (including any convictions in other states);

  • your level of impairment / intoxication / blood alcohol content (high BAC's and sometimes refusals can generate greater penalties);

  • whether there was an accident / collision involved;

  • whether there was injury to another person in any collision;

  • which court your case is in;

  • what judge you are sentenced by;

  • whether there was a passenger in your car (especially a child passenger);

  • whether the judge feels you have accepted responsibility for your actions.

In some states, you will face minimal or no jail time for a first DUI offense.  However, a second offense within the past five to ten years will result in at least some jail in most every state.

 

Will an out of state drunk driving conviction be counted against me for a DWI I received in a new state?

 

Typically, yes.  Assuming that the prosecutor identifies your prior out of state drunk driving conviction, it will generally count against you as if it had occurred in the state where you're now charged.  Your lawyer may be able to argue that the prior conviction is not similar enough to be treated as a prior conviction.

 

How old do my prior DUI's have to be before they stop counting against me as "prior convictions."

 

It varies from state to state.  Some states count prior drunk driving convictions no matter how old.  Other states enhance penalties for subsequent convictions that are within five, seven, ten, or fifteen years of a prior drunk driving offense.  Your attorney will let you know what you can expect if you have prior drunk driving convictions.

 

I am licensed to drive in a state other than the state where I received my DUI / DWI offense.  Will my license be suspended?

The state that you're charged in only has the authority to suspend / revoke your right to drive in that state.  However, 45 states and the District of Columbia have adopted an agreement known as the "Driver License Compact."  Those states will report a DUI conviction to the home state of the driver (assuming the home state has also adopted the Compact).  [Wisconsin, Tennessee, Georgia, Massachusetts, and Michigan are non-compact states.]  The home state will then generally take action to suspend your license.  Keep in mind that even if your state is not a compact state, the state may still learn of the conviction and suspend or revoke your license.

The relevant portions of Articles III and IV of the compact are set forth below:

Article III

The licensing authority of a party state shall report each conviction of a person from another party state occurring within its jurisdiction to the licensing authority of the home state of the licensee. Such report shall clearly identify the person convicted; describe the violation specifying the section of the statute, code or ordinance violated; identify the court in which action was taken; indicate whether a plea of guilty or not guilty was entered, or the conviction was a result of the forfeiture of bail, bond or other security; and shall include any special findings made in connection therewith.

Article IV

Effect of Conviction

(a) The licensing authority in the home state, for the purposes of suspension, revocation or limitation of the license to operate a motor vehicle, shall give the same effect to the conduct reported, pursuant to Article III of this Compact, as it would if such conduct had occurred in the home state, in the case of convictions for:

(1) Manslaughter or negligent homicide resulting from the operation of a motor vehicle;

(2) Driving a motor vehicle while under the influence of intoxicating liquor or a narcotic drug, or under the influence of any other drug to a degree which renders the driver incapable of safely driving a motor vehicle;

(3) Any felony in the commission of which a motor vehicle is used;

(4) Failure to stop and render aid in the event of a motor vehicle accident resulting in the death or personal injury of another.


EXAMPLE:  You live in and are licensed to drive in Arizona.  After a wedding in California you are arrested for a DUI.  If you are convicted of the drunk driving charge, California will suspend your right to drive in California for a specified period of time.  California will also notify Arizona, and then Arizona will notify you that they are suspending your license for a specified period of time.

 

Are there other concerns if I live in state other than the state where I was arrested for my drunk driving charge?

 

If this is your second DUI conviction you will be subject to the Interstate Compact for Adult Offender Supervision.  Once convicted, you will have to go through certain steps to return to your home state.  You will be allowed to return however.  If you are on probation for a second or greater DUI and you want to move out of state you will also have to go through the rules outlined in the Compact.  Speak to your lawyer for more information.

 

Will I have to install an Ignition Interlock Device on my car?

 

An ignition interlock device (IID) also known as a breath alcohol ignition interlock device (BAIID) is a breath alcohol measurement device that is connected to a motor vehicle ignition.  In order to start the motor vehicle, a driver must blow a breath sample into the device which then measures alcohol concentration.  If the alcohol concentration exceeds the startup set point on the interlock device (e.g. 0.02 percent), the motor vehicle will not start.  The devices also often require you to periodically provide a breath sample while driving (sometimes known as a rolling re-test).

 

Many states require the installation of an ignition interlock device during the period of time for any occupational / hardship license and / or for a specified period of time after you're eligible for reinstatement of your drivers license.  An increasing number of states require an IID for a first DUI conviction:  Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, Colorado, Hawaii, Illinois, Louisiana, Nebraska, New Mexico, New York, Oregon, Utah, and Washington.  California has a pilot program that requires an IID for first time convictions in four counties.  Some states imposes the requirement only for high BAC's or for second or greater convictions.

 

Currently, Alabama, South Dakota, and Vermont have no ignition interlock laws. 

 

Talk to your lawyer about whether this requirement applies to your situation.

 

What happens if I was already on probation when I got arrested for a new DWI offense?

Committing a new offense while you're on probation for a previous crime creates two problems.  First, you face the new DWI charge.  Second, you face a probation violation hearing for failing to obey all laws (a standard condition of any probation).  The most serious scenario is when you receive a new DWI offense when you're already on probation for a previous DWI.  When this happens, its in your best interest to speak to a criminal defense attorney as soon as possible, because you face revocation of your probation and substantial jail time.

I was also arrested for a Hit and Run offense.  What can I expect from that charge?

Leaving the scene of an accident without providing / exchanging information is unlawful in every state.  The offense has a variety of names:  hit and run; hit - skip; failure to perform the duties of a driver; leaving the scene of an accident; failure to stop at the scene of an accident.

Often times, the offense is a misdemeanor if only property is damaged.  The offense is usually a felony if someone is killed or at least seriously injured.  In some states, any injury in a hit and run results in a felony offense.

Penalties include possible jail times, fines, and usually a license suspension or revocation of varying lengths.  A hit and run conviction will result in a suspension of a CDL for at least one year (and possibly for life).

I'm not a United States citizen.  Will a DWI conviction result in my removal from this country?

Probably not.  Typical, run of the mill DWI offenses (no priors; no injury; no child in car) are not considered crimes of moral turpitude or aggravated felonies resulting in removal.  However, it is important to consult an experienced immigration lawyer about your situation just as you should consult with an experienced criminal defense lawyer about your pending DUI / DWI charge. 

Keep two points in mind.  First, it is very important to answer honestly all questions about prior arrests / convictions on immigration and Visa applications and other forms.  Lying on these documents is often considered more serious than any drunk driving conviction.  Second, non-citizens (aliens) must take extra care not to drive on a suspended or revoked license.

I am seeking to enter the United States as a foreign national.  Will a drunk driving conviction result in a denial of my entry?

Not necessarily.  A single drunk driving conviction is not a statutory bar to admission to the United States.  Sometimes, a DUI  conviction may require further investigation to determine whether the applicant has a physical or mental disorder and demonstrates behavior associated with the disorder that may pose, or has posed, a threat to the property, safety, or welfare of the alien or others.  Typically, consular officers will refer applicants to panel physicians in two circumstances:  (1) an applicant has a single drunk driving arrest or conviction within the last three years; or (2) two or more drunk driving arrests or convictions in any time period.  Multiple DUI convictions can result in being barred from admission to the USA.

Drug crimes often do result in denial of admission to the United States as do crimes of moral turpitude.  Crimes of moral turpitude generally involve fraud, larceny, or the intent to harm persons or thing.

What will a DUI conviction do to my ability to enter Canada?

Having a DUI conviction generally makes you criminally inadmissible to Canada for at least five (and sometimes 10) years from the time your sentence was completed.  You will also likely be denied entry while your charge is pending

If your drunk driving charge is dismissed or reduced to a non-DUI charge, you may be able to travel freely to Canada.

The following information is from the US State Department's website:

Anyone with a criminal record (including misdemeanors such as a DWI) may be barred from entering Canada and must obtain a special waiver well in advance of any planned travel. To determine whether you may be inadmissible and how to overcome this finding, please refer to the Canadian citizenship and immigration website.

For further information on entry requirements, travelers may contact the Canadian Embassy at 501 Pennsylvania Avenue NW, Washington D.C. 20001; (202) 682-1740; or the Canadian consulates in Atlanta, Boston, Buffalo, Chicago, Dallas, Detroit, Los Angeles, Miami, Minneapolis, New York, San Juan or Seattle.

Consult Canada's Citizen and Immigration website to learn more.  Plan ahead.  Being denied entry at the border will ruin your trip.

What happens if I'm charged with a DUI on federal property?

Driving under the influence is prohibited on federal land (such as a federal military base) just as it is on state land.  If the offense occurs in a National Park, then 36 CFR 4.23 applies.  That regulation provides in part:

(a) Operating or being in actual physical control of a motor vehicle is prohibited while:

(1) Under the influence of alcohol, or a drug, or drugs, or any combination thereof, to a degree that renders the operator incapable of safe operation; or

(2) The alcohol concentration in the operator's blood or breath is 0.08 [percent or more.]

If the offense took place on federal property other than a National Park then the Assimilative Crimes Act applies.  The Assimilative Crimes Act incorporates a state's criminal laws and provides for their enforcement on federal property. The Act provides that:

Whoever within or upon any [federal property], is guilty of any act or omission which, although not made punishable by any enactment of Congress, would be punishable if committed or omitted within the jurisdiction of the State . . . in which such place is situated, by the laws thereof in force at the time of such act or omission, shall be guilty of a like offense and subject to a like punishment.

18 U.S.C. sec. 13(a).  These offenses are prosecuted in federal court. 

Federal law also has an implied consent component that can result in a suspension of driving privileges on federal land.  See 18 USC § 3118; 32 CFR 634.8.

Will my insurance company cover me for the accident that I got in even though I was arrested for DWI?

Yes.  While your insurance company may drop you later, they will cover your accident no matter how drunk you were.

What will a DUI do to my ability obtain / maintain car insurance?

If your insurance company finds out about your DUI one of two things typically happen.  Either your insurer will raise your insurance rates or your insurance carrier may cancel your policy or simply choose not to renew your coverage. 

Your insurance company absolutely will learn of your drunk driving conviction if you have to file an SR-22 or an FR-44 (Virginia / Florida).

Can my insurance company really drop me if I get convicted of a drunk driving offense?

Yes; however, you should be able to find insurance elsewhere albeit at a higher rate. 

What is an SR-22 / FR-44 / Certificate of Financial Responsibility?

Many states require the filing of an SR-22 or an FR-44 following a drunk driving conviction.

An SR-22 is a form from a licensed insurance company certifying that you have purchased liability insurance that meets the State's minimum required coverage limits.  The SR-22 provides proof to your state's DMV that you are insured.  If you cancel your insurance or your insurance company cancels your policy before your suspension period is over, the company must notify the DMV that the certificate is canceled.  The SR-22 requirement must be maintained for a specified time period (often three years).  Your DUI attorney will explain more about this requirement.

An FR-44 is similar to an SR-22 but it generally requires drivers to purchase coverage that is at least twice the minimum required liability coverage limits for other drivers.  Virginia and Florida require an FR-44 filing following a DUI conviction.

Keep in mind that you should almost always have significantly more coverage than your minimum state requirements. 

Will the DMV / BMV or the court notify my insurance company that I got a DUI?

Typically no.  If your insurance company requests a copy of your driving record, your state motor vehicle department will supply it of course.  However, motor vehicle departments and courts generally do not affirmatively notify insurance companies about drunk driving offenses on their own initiative.

How might my insurance company find out about my DUI charge?

As noted above, if you have to file an SR-22 or an FR-44 your insurance company will learn about your conviction.  Insurance companies also order your driving record when you first sign up for service and periodically thereafter.  Also, your insurance company may ask you about your ticket history (often in the last three years) if you contact the company to report a claim or to add or delete coverage.  If your insurance company asks you whether you have gotten a DWI etc., you must answer truthfully.  If you lie, you can expect the company to later deny coverage when you really need it.

I live in area away from where my arrest took place.  Will I be able to transfer my case to another court?

No.  Your case is prosecuted in the city or county where you were arrested.

Will I be able to transfer my probation closer to where I live if I am convicted of my DUI?

Possibly.  Probations are often transferred to the area where the probationer resides.  You will need permission from the probation department and / or court.  If this is a second DUI conviction you will need to go through the Interstate Compact and also get permission from the state that you wish to move to.

Are there special concerns for licensed pilots who get a DUI offense?

 

Yes.  The FAA has special reporting requirements for certain Motor Vehicle Actions.  A Motor Vehicle Action is any alcohol or drug related administrative action taken against your driver's license including suspensions, revocations, cancellations, or denials of a license to operate a motor vehicle (implied / express consent suspensions and revocations).  A Motor Vehicle Action also includes a conviction for any alcohol / drug related motor vehicle offense (DUI type convictions).  Learn more about reporting requirements here.  Once your report your suspension / conviction, the FAA will likely contact you to request further information such as police reports, court documents, and a treatment synopsis.

 

Are there special concerns for license professionals that receive a DWI?

 

Sometimes.  Many states require licensed professionals to self-report misdemeanor and felony convictions including drunk driving offenses.  Sometimes mere arrests must be reported.  Sometimes you must report arrests / convictions immediately and sometimes only upon license application / renewal.  Always call your supervising board and ask if and when you're required to report an arrest or conviction.  BE SURE TO TRUTHFULLY AND COMPLETELY DISCOSE ALL REQUIRED INFORMATION TO YOUR LICENSING BOARD.  The failure to disclose is often a more serious violation that the underlying arrest / conviction itself.

 

These requirements often apply to the following occupations:

  • health professionals (doctors, physicians, dentists, nurses);

  • teachers;

  • law enforcement officials (police, corrections, court personnel).

Contact your state licensing authority for specific information.  Your attorney may also be able to advise you.

 

I have a commercial driver license (CDL).  What effect will a DWI conviction have on my CDL

 

CDL drivers are govern by federal law.  Federal law also has an implied consent component:

 

"Any person who holds a CLP or CDL or is required to hold a CLP or CDL is considered to have consented to such testing as is required by any State . . . .  Consent is implied by driving a commercial motor vehicle."  49 CFR § 383.72.

 

DWI related incidents can result in result in a suspension to a CDL in a number of ways.  Refer to the tables below:

 

DWI INCIDENT NOT IN A COMMERCIAL VEHILCE CDL SUSPENSION LENGTH
Breath / Blood / Urine Test Refusal 1 year
First DWI conviction 1 year
Breath / Blood / Urine Test Refusal - (2nd Incident)₁ lifetime
Second DWI conviction₁ lifetime
Note 1:  Suspension lengths are increased if any of the following has occurred prior to the current DWI arrest:  a DWI conviction; a suspension under implied consent law; or a conviction for failure to perform the duties of a driver (hit and run).  See 49 CFR § 383.51(b) for more information.

Note :  Hardship / occupational permits are NOT available to drive commercial vehicles in any state.

 

DWI INCIDENT WHILE DRIVING A COMMERCIAL VEHICLE CDL SUSPENSION LENGTH
Breath / Blood / Urine Test Refusal 1 years
Breath / Blood / Urine Test Refusal while Transporting Hazardous Materials 3 years
Breath / Blood / Urine Test Refusal - (2nd Incident)₁ lifetime
Breath / Blood Test Failure₂ 1 year
Breath / Blood Test Failure₂ while Transporting Hazardous Materials 3 years
Breath / Blood Test Failure₂  - (2nd Incident)₁ lifetime
DWI conviction 1 year
Second DWI conviction₁ lifetime
Note 1:  Suspension lengths are increased if any of the following has occurred prior to the current DWI arrest:  a DWI-type conviction; a suspension under implied consent law; or a conviction for failure to perform the duties of a driver (hit and run).  See 49 CFR § 383.51(b) for more information.

Note 2:  You fail a breath or blood test while driving a commercial vehicle if your BAC registers 0.04% or greater.

Note 3:  Hardship / occupational permits are NOT available to drive commercial vehicles in any state.

Note 4:  Under some circumstances, a driver can apply for reinstatement of their CDL 10 years after a lifetime suspensions.

I missed my appearance in court.  What do I do now?

Failing to appear (FTA) for court is to be avoided.  When you miss a court appearance, bad things happen.  At a minimum, the court typically issues a warrant for your arrest (known as a bench warrant).  Sometimes, failing to appear on a traffic related crime / offense will result in an indefinite suspension of your drivers license (until the FTA is cleared).

Sometimes, failing to appear / bail jumping is a new crime itself often referred to as "failure to appear."  Talk to your attorney as soon as possible.  Your only option may be to turn yourself in on the outstanding warrant.  A new court date will then be scheduled.

I failed to appear on my DWI charge, and I live in another state.  Will I be extradited back to the charging state?

While the law allows a state to extradite a person on a misdemeanor charge, often states decline to extradite persons on misdemeanor warrants due to the cost involved.  Most states will extradite persons wanted for a felony DWI offense.

A FEW REASONS TO AVOID MISSING A COURT APPEARANCE
1.  When you fail to appear for a DUI charge the court will issue a (bench) warrant for your arrest.  When there is a warrant for your arrest, you're subject to arrest at any time.  While you may not be extradited from another state on a misdemeanor charge, you still face the possibility of arrest at any time.

2.  You may lose a significant amount of money.  If you posted bail / bond following your arrest it will be forfeited if you fail to appear for court.

3.  You can lose your social security benefits.  Having a warrant on a felony DUI offense can result in certain government benefits being suspended indefinitely.

4.  It makes you look guilty.  If you later want to take your case to trial, the prosecutor will argue that you failed to show up for court because you were in fact guilty.

5.  You may face an additional criminal charge.  In many states, failing to appear for court can result in another criminal charge which can result in additional jail time.

6.  Your license may be suspended indefinitely.  Many states suspend or revoke your license if you have a warrant on a traffic crime such as a DWI.  You will not be able to get licensed in a second state if your license is suspended in the warrant state.

7.  You're just postponing the inevitable.  Your case does not go away when you fail to appear.  The statute of limitations does not run.  The warrant will remain outstanding indefinitely. 

My suspension / revocation is nearly up.  How do I go about getting my license reinstated?

Contact your state DMV to determine what you need to do to complete your reinstatement.  Nearly every state requires some sort of reinstatement fee.  Many states require you to install an ignition interlock device for some period of time.  Some states also require the filing of an SR-22 or FR-44.  If you were revoked (as opposed to suspended) you may also have to re-take a driving test.

Can I represent myself in court on my DWI or other criminal charge(s)?

Yes.  You have a constitutional right to represent yourself on any criminal charge no matter how serious including a DWI charge.  Keep in mind that DWI defense is a complex legal area as shown by the information in this website.  If you cannot afford to hire your own attorney, you definitely should apply for court appointed counsel (a public defender) to represent you. 

Keep in mind that the court or the prosecutor cannot give you legal advice.  An attorney can be helpful in a number of ways including:

  • Understanding the consequences of a conviction;

  • Assessing the strength of the prosecutor's case against you;

  • Knowing what motions, if any, to file;

  • Obtaining discovery (police reports / videos) from the prosecutor;

  • Preparing for trial;

  • Deciding on a jury trial versus a court trial;

  • Conducting a trial including selecting a jury, presenting evidence, and questioning witnesses;

  • Handling sentencing and suspension or revocation issues.

You have no right to a court appointed attorney at any implied consent / administrative appeal proceeding.  Therefore, you have to hire your own attorney if you want a lawyer to handle that proceeding.  Otherwise you have to represent yourself in the administrative proceeding.

SHORT ANSWERS TO RANDOM DRUNK DRIVING QUESTIONS
Q.  I got an OWI in Michigan but have a Massachusetts license.  Can both states charge me?
A.  No.  You will face criminal charge(s) only in Michigan (where the crime happened).  However, if you're convicted of the OWI, Massachusetts likely will be notified and Massachusetts will suspend your license for some period of time.

Q.  I have a Florida driver license and I got a DWI in North Carolina.  Where do I request my DMV Hearing.
A.  In North Carolina.

Q.  What do you do if you're denied a court appointed attorney after a DUI arrest?
A.  You can sometimes appeal the denial.  Usually, however, you must choose between representing yourself and hiring your own lawyer.

Q.  Is a hit and run worse that a DWI?
A.  It depends on what you mean by "worse."  In most states, if someone is killed or injured in a hit and run the charge is a felony.  A DWI is usually a misdemeanor.  A hit and run involving only property damage is usually just a misdemeanor as well.  On the other hand, DWI charges often have longer license suspensions and other mandatory penalties that hit and run charges don't have. 

Q.  Can I get a CDL in Oregon after two DUII's?
A.  Probably not.  Two DUII convictions results in a lifetime CDL suspension / revocation.  However, in some incidents you can apply for a CDL after 10 years.

Q.  I got a first time DUI in Kansas and I live in Ohio.  What should I do?
A.  Speak with a Kansas lawyer.  Kansas has a diversion program for first time offenders.  It may be in your best interest to enterKS DUI diversion.  You should be able to complete the program requirements in Ohio.

Q.  Is there a way to keep a CDL after getting a DUI?
A.  It is very difficult.  First, you must successfully appeal / challenge any suspension received for failing or refusing a breath test.  Then, you must avoid a conviction on the criminal charge itself.  In the unlikely event that both of these things happen, your CDL should not be suspended.  Remember, a first DUI conviction (or a first refusal of a breath test) usually results in a one year CDL suspension.  A second DUI conviction (or a breath test refusal with a prior DUI incident) usually results in a permanent loss of your CDL.  See 49 CFR § 383.51(b).

Q.  I got a DWI out of state.  Do they use my state's penalties?
A.  No. They use the penalties of the state where the incident took place.  However, if notified of the conviction, your state will suspend or revoke your right to drive for a periord pursuant to your state's laws.

Q.  If I have a pending DWI case in one state, can I move to another state?
A.  Yes.  But you may need permission of the court to travel / move out of state.

Q.  Can the police use video from a bar to convict you of a DUI?
A.  Yes.

Q.  If I got a DUI in Indiana will California find out?
A.  If you're licensed to drive in California and your get convicted of a DUI in Indiana, Indiana will notify California.

Q.  Do I need to tell my probation officer that I've been arrested?
A.  Generally, yes.  A standared condition of probation is a requirement that you inform your probation officer of any police contact within 24 hours (including arrests). 

Q.  Can you go to jail for not paying your DUI fines in Illinois?
A.  Yes.  Pay at least something every month.  If you need to try to borrow the money to pay your fines.

Q.  What is a bench warrant for a DWI?
A.  A bench warrant is a warrant issued for the arrest of a defendant when the defendant fails to appear for court on a criminal charge (in this case for a DWI).

Q.  Can I enter a bar following a DUI arrest?
A.  Yes, unless entry is prohibited by a release agreement or order of the court.

Q.  Will Washington extradite back to Oregon on a misdemeanor?
A.  No.  Oregon will not pay for or otherwise request extradition for soley a misdemeanor charge.

Q.  What is the penalty in Wisconsin for an extreme DUI?
A.  Wisconsin does not have extreme DUI charges.  Arizona uses that term.  Consult the Wisconsin OWI website for more information about Wisconsin penalties.

Q.  My license is permanently revoked.  Will any state give me a license?
A.  Your best hope may be Colorado.  Colorado has perhaps the most lenient approach to licensing drivers who have out of state holds on their licenses.  You generally have to establish residency in Colorado before you may seek a Colorado driver license.  Contact an attorney in Colorado for more information.

Q.  Can you lose your license twice from the same DUI incident?
A.   Yes.  You can lose your license in the implied consent proceeding for failing or refusing a breath test; and, you can lose your license for a DUI conviction. 

Q.  Can I go to a bar following a DUI arrest?
A.  You may unless your release agreement / conditions of release prohibit entry into bars and taverns.

Q.  Can you be charged with a DWI if you're arrested in your own home?
A.  Yes.  The state generally must prove that you drove or were in physical control of a vehicle while your were under the influence of alcohol.  They must meet this burden regardless of whether you were stopped in your vehicle or not.

Q.  I have a warrant for my arrest.  Can I travel out of the country?
A.  Probably yes but its not advisable, because when you return to this county they may detain you at your point of entry.  If the warrant is extraditable they will then ship you back to the jurisdiction that issued the warrant.

Q.  I have a 22 year old DUI charge.  Can they still prosecute me?
A.  Assuming the charge was issued within the statute of limitations the answer is yes.  However, if the arresting officer is no longer around (retired / deceased / etc.) then the State likely will not be able to prove the case against you.  If you have already been convicted and you have a 22 year old probation violation, the state can still proceed.

Q.  Can I travel to Mexico if I'm on probation for a DUII in Oregon?
A.  Yes, if you first receive permission from your probation officer (if you're on formal probation) or the court (if your on bench probation or enhanced bench probation).

Q.  I have seven DUI's, can I stay out of jail?
A.  Probably only if you're found not guilty at trial; otherwise, you face a lengthy jail or even a prison sentence.

Q.  Can a drunk passenger receive a DWI?
A.  Generally not.  If you're not driving or otherwise actually controlling a vehicle you typically cannot be prosecuted for a DWI.

Q.  Will my insurance rates go up after an OUI?
A.  Most likely they will if your insurance company learns of the conviction.

Q.  Does Iowa report OWI's to other states?
A.  Yes, if you are convicted of the OWI Iowa will report the conviction to the state where you hold your drivers license.

Q.  I got a DWI ticket but I'm about to move out of state.  What should I do?
A.  Hire a lawyer.  Your lawyer may be able to get some or even all of your appearances waived.  Your lawyer may also be able to expedite your case to resolve it before you move.

Q.  I received a DWI.  Why I am I receiving mail from lawyers?
A.  Many DWI lawyers make regular requests for arrest records.  They then send letters (direct mail) to the arrested persons offering their services.  In most states, arrest records are "public records" available for a fee to anyone who requests them.  Sometime treatment providers also use this method to send direct mail.

Q.  What happens on a first DUI arrest while on parole?
A.  When this happens you face a parole violation (for failure to obey all laws) and, of course, the new DUI charge.  You face possible penalties for both the PV and the new charge.

Q.  When do I report to jail after a DUI conviction?
A.  Some courts give you a TSI or turn-self-in date; other courts take you into custody to serve your sentence at the time of sentencing.  Your lawyer should tell you what to expect as far as jail goes.

Q.  Can I get a DUI for being high?
A.  It is illegal to drive under the influence of alcohol or a controlled substance (marijuana, cocaine, methamphetamine; heroin, prescription drugs) in every state.  Some states also make it illegal to drive with certain illegal drugs in your system.  The bottom line is that if you're high while operating a vehicle you can be charged with some type of DUI offense.

Q.  My license is suspended in Ohio.  Can I get a license in South Carolina?
A.  Probably not.  When you apply for a license in South Carolina, the SC DMV will run your record nationwide and will not license you if they see you are suspended in another state.

Q.  Do prior DUI's in Virginia count against me with a North Carolina DWI?
A.  Yes.  Assuming that NC prosecutor finds / identifies your prior convictions, those convictions will be held against you even though they occurred in another state.

Q.  Does an OUI count as a DUI in Arizona?
A.  Yes.  See the answer above.

Q.  What happens if you get a speeding ticket when you're on probation for DUI in Oklahoma?
A.  Usually minor infractions such as speeding will have little to no negative effect on your probation.  However committing a new criminal offense like a driving while suspended will result in a probation violation hearing (and possibly jail time). 

Q.  What does .08 mean?
A.  This number refers to the blood / breath alcohol content (BAC) in your body.  It is measured as a percent.  It is pronounced "point oh eight."  In every state in America, you're presumed to be under the influence of alcohol if your BAC is .08% or greater.

Q.  Is a DWI with a child in the car a felony in New York State?
A.  If you're charged with a DWI and have a child 15 years of age or younger, you will be charged with a felony offense under legislation known as Leandra's law.

Q.  Will Illinois extradite me to California if I have a warrant in my California DUI case?
A.  Its up to California if they will request and pay for extradition.  Almost certainly they will not seek extradition if your charge is a misdemeanor DUI. 

Q.  How did the prosecutor miss my DWI conviction in another state?
A.  Who knows?  Sometimes prosecutors miss prior convictions.  Just be thankful.

Q.  What happens if you're a passenger in a car that gets stopped for DUI?
A.  Probably nothing.  It is no crime to be a passenger in a vehicle where the driver is under the influence.  In some areas though an intoxicated passenger may be taken to detox (a detoxification facility) until sober.

Q.  Can you get an OUI with a .07% BAC in Michigan?
A.  Yes.  In Michigan the charge is referred to as an OWI.  At .08% BAC the law presumes you're under the influence or intoxicated, but some persons show signs of intoxication at less that .08% and can face a OWI.  In New York and Colorado you would typically face a DWAI charge with a .07% BAC.

Q.  Will my license be suspended for refusing field sobriety tests (FST's)?
A.  Generally not.  Virtually every state suspends or revokes your license for refusing a breath test but not for refusing field sobriety tests.  You also generally face a suspension or revocation if you're convicted of the drunk driving charge.

Q.  What happens to my drivers license if I fail to appear for court on my DUI charge?
A.  In addition to issuing a warrant for your arrest for failure to appear, the state DMV will likely suspend your right to drive until the warrant is cleared. 

Q.  Will an outstanding warrant on my DWI case affect my social security benefits?
A.  Having an outstanding warrant for your arrest on an open criminal case can cause you to lose, at least temporarily, SSI and other social benefits.  However, this generally only applies to warrants in felony cases.  Misdemeanor drunk driving offenses are generally not effected.  Still, it is best to avoid any warrant for your arrest. 

Q.  Is jail time mandatory after a second DUI offense?
A.  While it varies from state to state, most jurisdictions will impose some amount of jail for a second drunk driving conviction at least if your prior conviction was within the past 10 years or so.  Some states don't "count" older convictions.

Q.  What laws apply when you're arrested for a DUI in a state other than your own?
A.  The laws of the state where you're arrested apply (not your home state).  However, if you're convicted of an out of state DUI, that state will likely notify your home state.  Then your home state will usually suspend or revoke your license for a period of time authorized by the laws of your home state.

Q.  I had an accident along with my DUI arrest.  Do I need to file an accident report?
A.  Many states require persons to file an accident report following a collision (whether or not you're arrested for a crime).  Usually such a report is required if someone is injured or if property damage reaches a certain monetary threshold (such as $1500).  If you fail to file a report often your license is suspended.  Contact your state DMV / BMV to determine your state's requirements.

Q.  Will a DWI affect my teaching certificate?
A.  Probably not if the charge is a misdemeanor, but you should call your licensing agency to make sure.  Some licensing boards will be concerned if you're still on probation for the DUI charge.  The board may also be concerned if you have multiple convictions as this can show a pattern that could put students at risk.  Keep in mind that some states require licensed professionals to report arrests or convictions (especially at license renewal).  Never lie on your application / renewal.  Lying is almost always considered worse than the omitted / false information.  Also, make sure you don't miss court, and make sure you follow through on any probation obligations like treatment. 

Q.  I can't pay my fine for my drunk driving conviction.  What should I do?
A.  Write to the court and let them know you're in financial distress.  Also make some payment every month no matter how small.  Most courts will try to work with you if you make an effort.  If you just ignore the payments, the court may eventually issue a probation violation warrant for your arrest.

Q.  What happens if you get an OWI and lose the ticket?
A.  It is imperative that you find out when your first court date is scheduled.  Call the arresting officer and call the court.  Keep calling until you find out when and where you are scheduled to appear in court.  If you miss a court date a warrant will be issued for your arrest.

Q.  Will a drunk driving conviction keep me from becoming a lawyer (admitted to the state bar)?
A.  Probably not.  First, drunk driving charges are usually misdemeanor crimes which are much less serious than felony crimes.  [A felony DUI is much more serious and will be a problem.]  Second, the crime of DUI does not involve dishonesty or "moral turpitude" which the state bar will take very seriously.  Please make sure you successfully complete probation.  If you don't comply with the court orders (probation), the bar will be extremely concerned about your fitness to become a lawyer.

Q.  Will my lawyer be able to go to my arraignment (first court appearance) without me present?
A.  Maybe.  Some courts allow a retained lawyer to appear on behalf of the client at the first court appearance.  Talk to an experienced DUI attorney well before your first appearance to see what courts in your jurisdiction allow.

Q.  Does my Canadian DUI count against me in the U.S.?
A.  Yes, if the prosecutor knows about your prior conviction it will be counted against you as a prior unless your attorney can successfully argue that it is too dissimilar to a United States DUI.  A Canadian DUI will not prevent you from entering the United States.

Q.  Can you beat a DWI in North Carolina with a BAC of .23 percent?
A.  Anything is possible.  However the higher your BAC the stronger the evidence that you're under the influence of alcohol.  A BAC that high is almost three times the legal limit so beating the charge at trial will be difficult at best.  If your lawyer can get your breath test suppressed (thrown out) somehow your odds of winning will increase.

Q.  What happens when the officer fails to show up for my ALS / DMV hearing?
A.  Usually, you will win by default and your suspension or revocation will be overturned.  Sometimes the officer is entitled to a set over if he has an official duty conflict such as court; sick time; vacation; or training.

Q.  Does an OWI as a minor count as a prior conviction for an adult offense?
A.  Usually it does.  However, if your conviction as a minor (person under 21) was based on having only a small amount of alcohol in your system (as opposed to being .08% or higher) then your attorney may be able to successfully argue that it should not count as a prior conviction.

Q.  If I have two DUI's in one state and I get a DUI in another state will it count as a first conviction?
A.  No.  It will count as a third conviction so long as the prosecutor / court knows about your prior convictions. 

Q.  Is a DUAC in South Carolina a misdemeanor or a felony?
A.  A misdemeanor unless the offense resulted in great bodily injury or death. 

Q.  Do I need to reinstate my license after a DUI in Georgia?
A.  Whenever your license is suspended or revoked, action must be taken before your license is reinstated.  Sometimes all you have to do is pay a fee.  Other times, you may have to file an SR-22 or FR-44; install an ignition interlock device; demonstrate proof of treatment completion; or retake a driving test.  Contact your state DMV to learn what requirements you must meet.

Q.  If my DUI is reduced to a reckless driving charge will my ALS (administrative license suspension) be dropped?
A.  No.  The ALS / implied consent suspension or revocation is distinct from your criminal charge for DUI.  You will, however, avoid the additional suspension / revocation that comes with a DUI conviction if your charge is reduced to a non-DUI offense.

Q.  How do I find out if any OWI was issued against me in Michigan?
A.  Call the court and the prosecutor's office in the Michigan county or city in which the incident occurred.  Either organization should be able to tell you if a case was filed against you.

Q.  Will I have to retake my drivers test following a DWI conviction?
A.  If your license is revoked you may have to retake your drivers exam.  It varies from state to state.  Contact your state DMV for the answer.

Q.  What happens if I get a second DWAI?
A.  Two states have the charge of DWAI--New York and Colorado.  The offense is essentially a lesser crime of DUI / DWI.  To find out what penalties you face if you're convicted of a second DWAI consult either the Colorado DUI Guide or the New York DWI Guide

Q.  I've heard that some police officer "run" license plates.  What does this mean?
A.  Police officers have computer terminals in their vehicles.  Some officers run hundreds of plates each day.  This means that they enter the license plate in their computer and look to see if the registered owner has a drivers license that is suspended or revoked.  If the registered owner does not have a valid license (because, for example, they are suspended for a DUI conviction or breath test failure / refusal), the officer will find a reason to pull the driver over.  Therefore, if you're suspended or revoked and driving a car that is registered to you, your odds of getting pulled over (and arrested for driving while suspended) are significantly higher if officers in your jurisdiction have a practice of "running plates."

Q.  If my NY DWI is pled down to a DWAI will my insurance go up?
A.  In all likelihood, yes.  If your insurance company finds out that you have a DWAI conviction they will likely treat it similar to a DWI conviction and raise your rates based upon the fact that they consider you to be a greater risk.

Q.  When will I have to do my jail time?
A.  In some courts you're taken into custody at the time of sentencing.  At other times, the judge will allow you a turn self in date sometime after your sentence.  Your lawyer can tell you what to expect in advance of sentencing.

Q.  What is worse an OWI or a DUI?
A.  Neither, the charges refer to the same crime. 

Q.  What is worse a DUI or a DWAI?
A.  DWAI is an offense found in Colorado and New York State.  In both states it is a lesser offense of the main drunk driving offense.  In Colorado, the main offense is a DUI; in New York, the main offense is a DWI.  DWAI crimes are often seen if your BAC is .06% or .07%.

Q.  I failed to appear for my DUII in Oregon.  Will there be a warrant for me throughout the United States?
A.  No, so long as your Oregon DUII is a misdemeanor.  Oregon does not extradite persons from out of state for misdemeanor warrants.  Oregon will suspend your license indefinitely for failing to appear in court on a traffic offense.

Q.  Can my mental illness disorder(s) get my DUI dismissed?
A.  Generally not.  Drunk driving offenses are typically strict liability crimes.  This means that your mental state is not relevant to your guilt or innocence.  Significant mental health problems may convince the judge to impose lesser penalties at sentencing however.

Q.  If I got a DUI in Miami will my license be suspended right away?
A.  No.  Your implied consent suspension for failing or refusing the breath or blood test does not start until at least the 10th date following your arrest.  Read your paperwork carefully.  If you request an administrative hearing on your suspension, your temporary permit may be extended beyond 10 days.  Keep in mind that you also face another suspension if you're convicted of the DUI criminal charge.

Q.  What is the first court date on my DUI ticket called?
A.  Typically, this appearance is referred to as an "arraignment" or as an "initial appearance."

Q.  What happens if my BAC is under .08 % in a California DUI arrest?
A.  While it may seem unfair, you can face a DUI arrest even if you're breath / blood alcohol is below .08%.  Sometimes this happens when an officer believes that you're also impaired by drugs (controlled substances) instead of or in addition to alcohol.  Other times, a person is charged with a DUI with a low BAC when they are effected by alcohol at a lower concentration than more serious drinkers.  It is up to the prosecutor to decide whether to formally charge someone who has been arrested for a DUI.  Some prosecutors will charge DUI's when a BAC is .07% or .06%.  Rarely, will someone face a formal DUI charge if their BAC is .05% or below absent a separate allegation of drug consumption.  Remember, you will not face an implied consent license suspension or revocation unless with a BAC under .08% unless you are under 21 years of age or driving a commercial motor vehicle. 

Q.  Are charges dropped if the prosecutor decides not to extradite me back?
A.  No.  The charges and the warrant remain outstanding indefinitely. 

Q.  I'm facing a probation violation on my DWI charge.  What should I do?
A.  First, contact a lawyer right away.  If you cannot afford to hire your own attorney, apply for a court appointed lawyer when you go to court the first time.  Second, try to address any deficiencies in your probation.  If the allegation is that you haven't paid your fines and fees, make as large a payment as possible.  If the allegation is that you haven't completed your community service, crank out as much community service as possible before you go to your hearing.  If the allegation is that you haven't completed your substance abuse treatment, get re-enrolled in treatment as soon as possible.  Bring proof of anything positive that you've done to court when you go.

Q.  What type of sentence might I expect for a fifth felony DUII in Oregon?
A.  A third or greater DUII in the past 10 years in Oregon is a felony crime.  A prison sentence is likely with a range of 13 to 60 months.  While a number of factors may effect the judge's decision, a sentence in the range of 20 to 30 months would be expected.

Q.  What is worse an OVI / DUI  in Ohio or a physical control charge?
A.  The penalties for an OVI / DUI are generally more sever than those for a physical control charge in Ohio.  Consult the Ohio DUI Guide for more details.

Q.  I was convicted of a DWI.  Can an attorney help me get my license back?
A.  Probably not.  Once you've served your suspension or revocation, you should contact your state motor vehicles department to find out your state's requirements for reinstatement.  You may have to do one or more of the following:  pay a fee; file an SR-22 or FR-44; install an ignition interlock device; re-take the drivers test; and show proof of treatment completion.  Usually a lawyer cannot help with these requirements.  Remember, you may also be eligible for a hardship / probationary type license for limited purposes prior to your eligibility for reinstatement.

Q.  If my Pennsylvania license is suspended for a DUI can I go into a bar?
A.  It depends.  Having a suspended or revoked driver license does not limit your entry into bars, taverns, or liquor stores.  However, if you're still on probation for the DUI offense, one of the conditions of your probation may be not to enter premises where the primary revenue is derived from alcohol sales (bars and taverns).  Once your probation is up (expired) any restriction would be lifted.

Q.  Is it my responsibility to report a DWI to my insurance company in North Carolina?
A.  No.  You have not duty to affirmatively report a DWI arrest or conviction to your insurance company.  However, you must honestly answer any question put to you by your insurance company, so if they ask you must tell the truth.  

Q.  Can you travel to Mexico after an OWI?
A.  Mexico will not bar your entry.  You may travel freely so long as you have permission from the court (or probation department if you're on probation). 

Q.  What happens in Kentucky for failure to complete your probation?
A.  Failing to complete your probation obligations will usually result in a warrant for your arrest for a probation violation.  Failing to complete your probation obligations may also result in a suspension of your license until your obligations are met.

Q.  What does the term OUI mean on a criminal background check?
A.  OUI or operating under the influence is a term used for DUI-type offenses in Maine and Massachusetts.

Q.  Why would I want a reckless driving charge instead of a DUI?
A.  A non-DUI charge such as reckless driving almost always comes with lesser penalties than a DUI including a shorter (or no) license suspension or revocation. 

Q.  If you were convicted of a DUI charge in Michigan, can you be charged again in Florida?
A.  Not if it was the same incident.  You can only be charged in the jurisdiction where the incident occurred, and you can only be convicted of a crime one time (unless a conviction is reversed on appeal).  If the Florida DUI is a separate incident, then you can also be charged in Florida.

Q.  Can I lose custody of my children if I am charged with a DUI?
A.  Its possible but unlikely.  If you had a child in the car at the time, of course, the court will be much more concerned.  Make sure you comply with any treatment obligations especially treatment.

Q.  Do I have to keep FR-44 insurance if I move out of Florida following a DUI conviction?
A.  If you fail to maintain your FR-44 through the period required by Florida law (typically three years), then Florida will either suspend your license (or right to drive in Florida) or deny your request for reinstatement.

Q.  Will they suspend my drivers license if I have a warrant for my arrest on my DWI charge?
A.  Many states do suspend your license for failing to appear on a traffic crime offense including drunk driving charges.  If this happens you won't be able to get a license in another state until you clear the warrant-based suspension.

Q.  Will my prior DWI I got in Texas effect the DUI I just got in Florida?
A.  It will if you were convicted of the DWI in Texas.  If you were found not guilty or it was otherwise dismissed, then it should not count against you.  Keep in mind that sometimes courts and prosecutors do not find out-of-state DWI's so you might get lucky even if you were convicted. 

Q.  If you get a DUI in one state and then get a DWI in another state is that considered two offenses?
A.  Yes.

Q.  What happens if I don't do my community service following a second DUI in New Jersey?
A.  If you don't successfully complete the terms of your probation, including community service, you will face a probation violation hearing.  You ultimately could have your probation revoked and go to jail for a substantial period of time.  You should try to catch up on your community service right away.

Q.  What happens if I have a DWI conviction but don't put an ignition interlock device in my car?
A.  Assuming that your state requires the installation of an ignition interlock device (IID) you could have several potential problems.  First, your license may stay suspended for failing to install the IID.  Second, if installation of an IID is a condition of probation, you may face a probation violation hearing.  Third, it may be a separate offense if you operate a vehicle without an IID installed.

Q.  What happens to your car after a DWI?
A.  It depends on the jurisdiction.  If your car is legally parked at the time of your arrest, some agencies will leave it there.  Other places tow the car.  You should have been given paperwork telling you how to retrieve your vehicle if it was towed.

Q.  If you leave the scene of an accident will there be a bench warrant out for you?
A.  If you're the driver of a motor vehicle and you're involved in a collision you must remain at the scene to exchange information; to leave information; and / or to render aid depending on the circumstances.  The failure to do so is a crime in every state.  The offense, commonly referred to as hit and run or hit and skip, is a crime in every state.  Usually it is a misdemeanor offense if the collision involves only property damage; it is a felony typically if someone is injured or killed.  If the police "solve" the crime they will attempt to arrest you.  If they are unable to find you, the prosecutor may go ahead and issue a case against you and seek a warrant for your arrest from the court.

Q.  Can you lose your license for the same DUI twice?
A.  Yes.  You can loose your license for refusing (and in many states failing) a breath test and you can lose your license if you're convicted of a DUI / DWI charge.  These are separate suspensions / revocations.

Q.  Can a passenger get a DUI in Colorado?
A.  No.  Colorado DUI laws apply only to drivers not passengers.

Q.  Should I get a lawyer to obtain an occupational / hardship license?
A.  In most states you do not need an attorney to obtain a occupational type license.

Q.  If you win an ALS hearing what happens to your drivers license?
A.  Winning your ALS appeal means you face not implied consent license suspension / revocation.  You will however still face the DUI / DWI / OWI charge.  If you're convicted of the drunk driving criminal charge your license will be suspended for that conviction.

Q.  Do I need to install an ignition interlock device on my car if I'm convicted of a third DWI in New York?
A.  Yes.  Even a first DWI conviction requires a driver to install an ignition interlock device for a minimum of six months.  A longer period is required for repeat offenders.

Q.  Will a physician lose his medical license for a DUI?
A.  Generally not without other aggravating factors.  The medical board may require you to undergo a strict monitoring program.  Make sure you follow up on all treatment requirements.

Q.  If I have an attorney to represent me, do I have to appear in court if I reside out of state?
A.  It depends.  Some jurisdictions will let you appear through retained counsel for misdemeanor offenses (at least for some court appearances).  Your attorney should be able to advise you about what the court will permit where you face charges.

Q.  Does a DUI with a vehicular assault usually result in jail time?
A.  Yes, and the amount of time is often determined by your prior DUI history and the severity of the injuries.

THE FINE PRINT

 

Criminal defense websites, including this one, provide general information about DUI charges but do not provide legal advice or create an attorney / client relationship.  General information cannot replace experienced legal advice specific to your charge, case, problem, or situation.  Consult licensed attorneys for advice about any specific problem DUI charge that you have.  Attorneys are governed by the Rules of Professional Conduct in their State or Commonwealth.  This website may be considered an advertisement for services under these Rules.  Information contained in this website is believed to be accurate but is not warranted or guaranteed in any way.  No attorney associated with duiattorney.pro is specialized or certified in any way. 

 

Alabama DUI   Alaska DUI   Arizona DUI   Arkansas DWI   California DUI   Colorado DUI   Connecticut DUI   Delaware DUI   Florida DUI   Georgia DUI   Hawaii DUI   Idaho DUI   Illinois DUI   Indiana DUI   Iowa OWI   Kansas DUI   Kentucky DUI   Louisiana DWI   Maine OUI   Maryland DUI   Massachusetts OUI   Michigan OWI   Minnesota DWI   Missouri DWI   Montana DUI   Nebraska DWI   Nevada DUI   New Jersey DWI   New Mexico DWI   New York DWI   North Carolina DWI   North Dakota DUI   Ohio DUI   Oklahoma DUI   Oregon DUII   Pennsylvania DUI   Rhode Island DUI   South Carolina DUI   South Dakota DUI   Tennessee DUI   Texas DWI  Utah DUI   Vermont DUI   Virginia DUI   Washington State DUI   Washington D.C. DWI   West Virginia DUI   Wisconsin OWI   Wyoming DWUI

 

.05% .06% .07% .08% .09% .10% .11% .12% .13% .14% .15% .16% .17% .18% .19% .20% .21% .22% .23% .24% .25% .26% .27% .28% .29% .30%.  First Offense, Second Offence, Third Offense, Fourth Offence, Fifth Offense, Sixth Aggravated DUI, Super Extreme DUI Offense, Felony.  All content:  Copyright 2013, 2012, 2011, 2010 by David N Lesh.  Mr. Lesh is an Oregon attorney and does not accept cases in any state other than the State of Oregon.

 

Portland Oregon Child Care