DUI - Driving Under the Influence

Dealing with a DUI

Criminal charges are never easy to deal with. The hardest of charges to face, however, are those that can have a detrimental affect on your social standing. DUI is at the top of this list. A DUI charge can hurt a person's work, family, and personal life in ways few other offenses can. It is important to deal with a DUI charge properly:

• Remember that if you were lucky enough to not harm anyone with your recklessness, you were lucky
• Keep in mind that you survived and life must move forward and make the necessary changes in your life style
• Get support from friends, family, and available resources to deal with it the right way

What Do Police Look For in DUI Stops?

When being pulled over as part of a DUI sweep, it is important to remember a few things:

1. Don't panic! A drunk driving sweep does not mean an automatic felony DUI charge. The police have probably stopped dozens of people before you, and dozens more will be stopped once you have driven away. Acting too nervous or worried only arouses the suspicions of the officer.

2. In most cases, a single drink does not put you in violation of the law. See the above rule.

3. Be polite and act normally. The officer isn't interested in you personally; he or she has a job to do. Rude, obnoxious, or otherwise unusual behavior can be considered telltale signs of illegal activity including driving under the influence of drugs.

4. Officers hear every kind of excuse and explanation in the world. Save time by simply complying with what the authorities want you to do, but never hesitate to ask for a blood test instead of a breath test.

Following these simple steps will help speed your time through the DUI checkpoint and get you on your way home.

Get Help Before You Get a DUI

Many DUI accidents could have been prevented. Too many drunken driving accidents are caused by drivers who are regular abusers of alcohol or suffer from alcoholism. For those that wait too long, the wake up call could come in the form of a DUI. A charge of DUI on your record can change your life forever. If you are lucky, the wake up call will only hit you and wonn't involve you hitting someone else.

*If you have a problem, there are plenty of resources available today that can help you with your problem before it consumes you. Do not let a DUI or other alcohol-related problem affect your life. Get help before it is too late.

OUIL? Oh, You Need Help

If you live in Michigan and have been charged with OUIL, there are some things you should know before you face the charges. Mainly, OUIL is no longer a crime unto itself. In fact, Michigan legislature recently passed law incorporating OUIL into other DUI and DWI laws (his meant a stiffening of penalties and no more distinction between OUIL and other drunken operating offenses).

It is more important than ever to consult with an attorney about your charges. With the change came new penalties and requirements under the law. If your officer was unfamiliar with the changes, errors may have been made during your arrest. A good lawyer can listen to your circumstances and ensure that this change in the law will not put you into additional peril when you get to court.

Blood Test vs. Breath Test

If you are given the choice between a breath test and a blood test during a DUI stop, there are two important things to keep in mind. First and foremost, chemical test refusal is tantamount to pleading guilty on the spot. The second thing you should seriously consider is asking for a blood test instead of a breath test. This DUI test is very helpful in many cases, because the evidence can be retested at a later date in case of a botched initial test.

A breathalyzer test cannot be re-accomplished later. If you get a false positive for a driving under the influence, you are basically stuck with those results unless a competent DUI lawyer can contest the evidence of the breath test. If you are being wrongly accused of illegal behavior under the local drunk driving law, the blood test may be your best friend.

Driving Under the Influence

It doesn't take a felony DUI situation with excessively elevated blood alcohol content, high speed, and other factors to create a dangerous situation for the driver and passengers. Here are some basic drunk driving facts. For starters, the biggest myth about drinking and driving is that you can "learn to drive drunk". Alcohol impairs your ability to handle surprises. Even at low speeds, a sudden roadblock, detour, or even a deer can cause you to lose control of the car.

Another extremely dangerous situation involves highway hypnosis. If you are subject to this syndrome, alcohol only aggravates the problem. Driving on the highway after too many drinks can set you up for a drunk driving accident caused by nothing more than a simple case of wandering attention during the long drive. The alcohol relaxes mind and body, and the repetition of the landscape and highway features often lulls even sober drivers into distraction. You are far more susceptible to highway hypnosis after alcohol consumption.

It is always better to take a taxi or get a hotel room than risk dealing with these problems, which can arise at far lower levels of alcohol consumption than most people realize.

Is a DUII Different than a DUI?

The different names of charges for drunk driving in different areas causes many people confusion. You may have seen various different acronyms such as:

• DUI (Driving Under the Influence)
• DWI (Driving While Intoxicated)
• OUI (Operating Under the Influence)
• DUII (Driving Under the Influence of an Intoxicant)

As you can see, these acronyms (as well as many others) are more or less synonymous. So, don't be confused over names and, don't be confused over consequences—whatever they're called, these charges are serious.

DWI Field Exercises

If you have ever been pulled over on suspicion of drunken driving, you have faced the dreaded DWI field sobriety exercises. For those that have never had to go through them, here is what you need to know that not all states have the same DWI exercises. Most are standard, however, and often times consist of the following exercises:

• touching ones nose with an extended fingertip
• slowly walking a straight line placing one foot directly in front of the other
• counting a set of numbers backwards
• reciting the alphabet

There are other exercises that certain localities use. They may sound easy, but are sure to be more difficult to someone under the influence. These exercises are used for a reason: If you are guilty of a DWI, these video-taped exercises can be very damaging if failed.

Keeping Your License After a DWI

After being charged with a DWI, most drivers suffer serious consequences. The most common of which is a license suspension or revocation. If you have been charged with DWI, there are ways for you to avoid this penalty.

• Speak with a DWI attorney—the right attorney can give you the best possible results at the end of your ordeal
• Use the state-offered classes and rehabilitation programs—oftentimes the court will cut you slack if you do

A DWI does not have to mean the end of your driving days!

Convicted of DWAI? Don't Make the Same Mistake Twice

In Colorado, driving under the influence is often classified as DWAI (driving while ability impaired). If you have been convicted of DWAI in Colorado, don't worry, it is not the end of the world. That is, unless you make the same mistake again.

Colorado actually has fairly lenient penalties for a first time DWAI offender. There is no mandatory jail time, there are minimal fines, and there is little community service. However, these penalties will increase dramatically should you break the DWAI law again.

As opposed to 1st time offenders, second time DWAI offenders face a mandatory 5 days in jail, a $1,000 fine, and an indefinite license revocation. As you can see, the penalties for repeat DWAI are no picnic. If you already have a DWAI on your record, do whatever you can to avoid the harsh penalties associated with recidivism and DWAI.

Drunk Driving in Maine - OUI

In the state of Maine, a drunk driving case is referred to as OUI (Operating Under the Influence). Operating under the influence is a serious crime in the State of Maine. In Maine, an OUI arrest can result in two separate charges:

• A court case that may result in fines, rehabilitation programs, license revocation, and possible jail time
• The Maine Bureau of Motor Vehicles files separate charges to suspend a person's license after an OUI

Being charged with OUI in Maine can forever change a person's life. Do whatever you can to drive safely and never operate a vehicle under the influence of drugs or alcohol.

DUI Tests Unfair to Women?

Scientific studies on DUI and women have concluded that breathalyzer tests may be harder on women than men. Studies show women registering as being above the legal limit of .08 on a breath test even when the actual blood alcohol levels were well within the legal range. Even though no drunk driving occurs, the breath test says "guilty!"

While it may seem an unfair part of life, women should be particularly careful with regards to driving under the influence in light of these scientific studies. Don't be unfairly charged. If you are pulled over as part of a DUI sweep, request a blood test rather than risk being inaccurately measured because of your gender.

DUI Tests and Birth Control

Women and DUI breath tests are being called an unfair combination, according to some DUI lawyers. Some legal experts point to studies that indicate oral contraceptives can give false positives for .08 or higher blood alcohol content.

The reason? Oral contraception elevates the level of certain substances the breathalyzer detects, which can lead to the false reading.
These contraceptives can also be responsible for a faster "spike" in blood alcohol content, which the driver is unaware of, which will cause a "legitimate" higher reading. Either way, women get a raw deal when it comes to the breath test. Unfortunately, you may not be able to rely on this as a defense in court until legal precedents are established to provide guidance in this gray area.

Drunk driving laws currently make no distinction for men and women, nor do they provide separate tests based on gender. If you are unsure whether you should get behind the wheel in light of information such as this, it is best to call a taxi instead.

Driving While Intoxicated

The definition of DWI or DUI is not limited to alcohol and illegal drugs. Any substance that can affect your judgment falls under the law.

If you are stopped under suspicion of driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol, the officer may ask you to participate in a chemical test. Some drivers may confuse this with a field sobriety test and try to refuse. What these drivers don't realize is that chemical test refusal will be used against them in court as proof that the driver was conscious of his or her illegal actions. In a drunk driving stop, never refuse the chemical test. You may have the option to request an impartial tester or go to the station house to be tested instead of "in the field". These options depend greatly on the drunk driving laws of state you are in, but if the option is there, exercise it and give yourself the best possible chance at having a test administered by a fully trained technician.

The Felony DUI

A felony DUI charge comes in several ways. A fourth DUI charge is automatically a felony. If excessive speed and very high blood alcohol content were involved, you may find the drunk driving case being charged as a felony, and the same goes of there was personal injury or property damage as a result of the DUI.

A felony DUI is a very serious thing, but the good news is depending on your circumstances, you may be able to later request a reduction of your charge to a misdemeanor. You will need to enlist your lawyer's help to do this, and you may be required to wait until after sentencing before applying for such reduction. You may be required to plead guilty or no contest to the charges. A not guilty plea should only be entered if you are dedicated to fighting the felony DUI charges.

What Leads to a DUI Arrest?

There are many indicators that may lead a police officer to make a DUI arrest. The drunk driving facts of life include extreme suspicion of the following:

1. Incoherent speech
2. Slurred speech and slow replies to questions
3. Speaking too loudly
4. Difficulty handing license and insurance paperwork
5. An inability to give the same answers to repeated questions

Remember that fatigue often makes people appear as though they are intoxicated. If you are driving home after a long night, you may be pulled over for erratic driving behavior that appears to be driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol. In these situations, it is very important to explain to the officer that you are coming home from work, being a designated driver, or whatever situation applies.

Wait until you are asked before volunteering the information, but be sure to let the officer know you are simply tired. A cooperative attitude and honest answers will go a long way towards an officer's willingness to let you off with a warning to get some sleep.

Victim of a Drunken Driver?

Consider this true drunk driving story. A couple walks out of a restaurant to find that their car has been sideswiped by someone driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol. The couple looked further down the street to see five more cars that had also been smashed by the driver in this felony DUI incident.

What should the couple have done next? Police were already on the scene assessing the crime. The couple reported their information and left the scene once released by the investigating officer. While this may have been enough to satisfy the law, it might not satisfy a court should the victims decide to bring a lawsuit against the driver, or attempt to make an insurance claim based on the incident.

In drunk driving accident situations like these, it is best to remain on the scene to see if anyone actually witnessed the crime. Getting a list of fellow victims, eyewitness accounts, and even photographs of the entire scene where possible can go a long way to speeding up a lawsuit or insurance claim. You may feel the need to get away from the scene quickly and assess the damage to your property, but any future legal action is benefited only by the amount of information you are able to gather the night of the incident. Take careful notes and get all the data you can before going home.

Debunking a Major Myth About DUI Charges

There are many half-truths, urban legends, and falsehoods about DUI charges. Some people wrongly think chemical test refusal will get them out of a DUI stop. Others believe such nonsense as sucking on loose change can help beat a breathalyzer test during a police stop under suspicion of driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol.

The number one myth about drunk driving arrests? The idea that any lawyer can represent someone accused in a drunk driving accident or DUI stop.

A DUI legal expert is your best defense against a DUI charge. If you believe you have been falsely or inaccurately accused, why try your luck with a lawyer who has no proven track record in such cases? You need an expert defender.