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Helpful Resources and Articles

Driving under the influence (DUI) is a serious offense that can have significant consequences for those convicted. Not only can a DUI result in hefty fines and legal penalties, but it can also lead to long-term consequences such as a criminal record, increased insurance rates, and even job loss. Whether you've been charged with driving while impaired or have been injured due to someone else's negligent drunk driving, these resources have been curated to help you resolve your case.

I Think I Need a Lawyer

If you’ve been charged with a DUI, you may be wondering if you need to hire a DUI attorney. While it’s possible to represent yourself in court, it’s generally not recommended. A DUI attorney can help you navigate the legal system and ensure that your rights are protected. They can also help you understand the potential consequences of a DUI conviction and work to mitigate them. If you've been injured in a drunk driving accident, you may want to hire a DUI attorney to file a personal injury lawsuit on your behalf. These resources aim to help both defendants and injured parties resolve their cases.

DUI Cases and Lawsuits

If you are charged with DUI, it’s important to understand what consequences you might face, how penalties can differ depending on the severity of your charge, and how an experienced DUI attorney can help reduce your penalties. If you've been injured in a drunk driving accident, it's important to understand the costs, timelines, and other factors that may affect your DUI lawsuit.

DUI Laws and Regulations by State

Here’s a close look at DUI laws state by state as well as penalties for violating these laws, how much you can sue someone for after a drunk driving accident, and resources for individuals injured by impaired drivers.

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Frequently Asked Questions

  • What does a DUI charge involve?

    DUI, or driving under the influence, is a criminal charge applied to someone who is suspected of operating their vehicle while under the influence of an intoxicant, such as drugs and/or alcohol. Every state in the U.S. has a law on the books that bans driving while intoxicated; however, the specific criteria may differ from jurisdiction to jurisdiction. In some states, a driver with blood alcohol content (BAC) in excess of 0.08% can be brought up on DUI charges while other states set a higher threshold or increase the severity of charges in accordance with the level of intoxication. In some cases, DUI is determined not via testing but by behavior; drivers who are intoxicated to the point of impairment and who cannot safely operate their vehicle may be arrested on suspicion of DUI.

  • What's the difference between DUI, DWI, and OVI?

    The terms driving under the influence (DUI), driving while impaired (DWI), and operating a vehicle under the influence (OVI) are all legal phrases that refer to the crime of operating a vehicle while impaired by drugs (illegal or prescription), alcohol, or both. These terms are largely interchangeable though some states use only one acronym in their statutes for the sake of clarity. There are also other acronyms occasionally substituted for DUI, such as DWAI (driving while ability impaired), OWI (operating while intoxicated), OUI (operating under the influence), and DUII-CS (driving under the influence of intoxicants: controlled substances).

  • How long does a DUI stay on your record?

    In addition to the more immediate penalties that come with a DUI conviction, this costly mistake can have other consequences. DUIs stay on your driving record for years with the exact length of time differing from state to state — the California Department of Motor Vehicles, for instance, tracks DUIs for 10 years and may use that information to determine things like license eligibility. In Alabama, DUIs stay on the record for five years while in Alaska they're permanent. In states that use point systems to track driving infractions, DUI points may stay on the record far longer than the DUI itself.

  • How much does a DUI lawyer cost?

    The cost of a DUI lawyer depends largely on three things: geographic area, the lawyer's experience, and whether the case is settled quickly with a plea or ends up going to trial. Attorneys may charge a flat rate, more commonly used for simple cases that are likely to wrap up quickly, or they may charge by the hour, which can add up quickly if the case requires a lot of pretrial preparations and court time. Ultimately, a DUI lawyer could cost as little as $700 or bill in excess of $4,000.

  • How do I choose a DUI attorney?

    Finding the right DUI lawyer is crucial, especially when it comes to preventing a suspended license and minimizing fees and other penalties. To choose the right one:

    • Look for attorneys experienced in DUI case law
    • Ask for referrals from family and friends
    • Check the internet for reviews, keeping in mind that no two DUI cases are exactly alike
    • Meet with prospective lawyers (many offer free consultations) to hear their perspective on the case and see whether their personality feels like a good fit
    • Ask whether the lawyer will be the primary representative or if the case could be passed to an associate and how many clients the lawyer/firm represents at one time
    • Discuss billing options — the difference between an hourly rate and flat fee can be considerable
  • What happens when you get a DUI?

    Individuals detained on suspicion of a DUI are typically taken to jail, their vehicles impounded, and either held on bail or processed and released pending a court date. That initial court appearance is a chance to enter a plea; it's a good idea to retain legal representation prior to this hearing so they have an opportunity to argue for reduced charges or even dismissal.

    Drunk driving charges are often enough to warrant a suspended license pending the outcome of the case. A DUI conviction could mean losing that license entirely as well as paying fines, court costs, and DMV fees and paying for treatment or other intervention programs as instructed by the court — perhaps even completing jail time. These penalties tend to be less severe for first-time offenders and increase significantly thereafter.

  • Can I contest a DUI without a lawyer?

    While it's possible to contest a DUI without a lawyer present, case law is complex, and navigating those laws can be tricky. A DUI lawyer can't guarantee a positive outcome, but they are in a far better position to make crucial moves, such as challenging the legality of the original traffic stop, questioning the officer-led sobriety tests, and introducing evidence that could lead to an exoneration. In short, it's tempting to save money by going it alone, but the consequences could be costly. Before deciding against a lawyer, take advantage of a free consultation and weigh their recommendations. If budget is a factor, there are court-appointed public defenders who may take on the case.

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