Drunk Driving Statistics to Note

iStock_000016224486_MediumDrinking and driving has long been a problem in the United States, and it is an especially serious concern for younger adults and teenagers. People who do not take the issue seriously may be quite surprised by the statistics. Below are numbers and facts provided by MADD (Mothers Against Drunk Driving) and have been updated to include some of the most recent numbers available. You may be surprised to learn some of this information, but hopefully, it will open the eyes of many people who do not take the concern very seriously.

• Anywhere between 50 and 75% of people who have been convicted of a DUI continue to drive even though their license has been suspended.
• The average drunk driver who is convicted of a DUI has driven drunk around 80 times before they are caught and arrested the very first time.
• 23.4 percent of the drunk drivers who are caught are between the ages of 21 and 25.
• About 28 people die from drunk driving collisions every single day in the United States. That means almost everyone knows someone who has died from a drunk driving accident.
• About every two minutes in the United States, someone is injured as a result of a drunk driver.
• The averages state that two out of every three people will be involved in a drunk driving accident in one way or another (driver, passenger, in another vehicle).
• In one year, more than 29 million people admitted that they have driven drunk.
• In one year, about 10,000 people or more will be killed in drunk driving accidents. If you average that out, it is more than one per hour.
• 36% of drunk driving fatal accidents occur at night.
• 31% of drunk driving crashes that result in a fatality occur on the weekend.
• Over 200 children are killed in a year due to drunk driving accidents.
• On average, a person can metabolize alcoholic beverages at a rate of about one drink per hour.
• It is estimated that about 300,000 people drive drunk each day and about 4,000 or less are arrested.
• About a third of all drunk driving convictions are for repeat offenders.

In addition to these statistics, it is important to note that the only way to sober up is to wait. Time will allow the alcohol to metabolize. Coffee or water will not.

Driving under the influence is a serious concern that results in thousands of deaths every year.


How to Beat a DUI

Judge Holding DocumentsDepending on the state where you live, it is possible to beat a DUI. There are, of course, a number of factors that can affect this, so it is a good idea to consider everything before you deal with the situation. However, if you have been charged with driving under the influence, don’t immediately assume you will be convicted. Here are a few different ways that it could be possible to beat a DUI.

No Probable Cause

The officer has to have a probable cause for stopping you in the first place. This could include speeding, driving recklessly, or even something as simple as a headlight out. However, if the officer had no cause at all to pull you over, then technically, they cannot. This can be a way to get your case dismissed.

Faulty Breath Tests

Another reason why a DUI charge could be dismissed is the breathalyzer itself. These breath tests often have problems including the presence of acid reflux disease, improper use of the test by the officer, and malfunction of the instrument itself. If the breath test was faulty and you were not showing any signs of intoxication, then you could get your case dismissed as well.

Problem with Mouth Alcohol

There are actually reasons why you may have something called mouth alcohol. This is alcohol that could be in your mouth for other reasons besides drinking. The breath test is supposed to get air deep from your lung tissues by this doesn’t always happen. Some things that could interfere could include:

• Presence of dental work that traps alcohol from foods that contain it
• Burping right before or during the breath test
• Conditions such as GERD and chronic heartburn

When the breath test actually captures the mouth alcohol levels instead of the deep lung air, it could give a false reading, and that could result in a faulty enough decision that your case could be thrown out.

Medical Diets

Some people have to eat certain diets such as when they have diabetes. This type of diet can actually cause a false positive on a breath test. Once again, this can be a reason for you to get out of a DUI.

If you have been charged with a DUI, it is a good idea to get an attorney. That’s because you may be able to get out of the charges without a conviction.


Understanding Drunk Driving Facts

Gavel, Alcoholic Drink & Car Keys on a Gradated Background - Drinking and Driving Concept.There’s a lot of myths that surround drinking and driving. When people believe the myths, they could make a very serious mistake that results in arrest, loss of license, jail time, or worse. It would be a serious mistake not to get the facts before you get behind the wheel. So, whether you have driven drunk and you knew it or you drove and you thought for certain you were just fine, consider these drunk driving facts and you may rethink the decisions you make whenever you get behind the wheel.

• Your actual level of impairment has absolutely nothing to do with what type of alcohol you drank. You can get just as drunk from beer as you can from hard liquor. It all has to do with how much alcohol you consume within an hour.
• You cannot sober up by drinking coffee or water. This will have no effect on your blood alcohol content. The only thing that will allow you to sober up is time.
• You cannot sober up by taking a cold shower. While this may make you more aware for a period of time, it will not lower your BAC. Again, the only thing that works is time.
• Every state in the United States has the same policy for drivers under the age of 21. If you blow any number besides zeros on a breathalyzer and you are under the age of 21, you will be charged with DUI. The .08 limit does not apply to anyone under this age.
• About one third of all fatalities during traffic accidents are due to drunk driving.
• The averages state that about one person is killed in the United States every single hour. The number may be closer to every 40 minutes.
• Vital organs in your body have high water contents and water is the most affected by alcohol. This means organs like the brain will suffer the most effects and that means more impairment.
• Studies show that if your blood alcohol is .08, you are much more likely to be in a fatal accident. One study indicates that number is 11 times.

When you consider these facts, it will shed some light on what it actually means to drink and drive. The drunk driving facts are simple. If you get behind the wheel, you are putting yourself and others at risk. Additionally, there is little you can do to get the alcohol out of your system but wait.


Understanding DUI Expungement

wooden gavel on books, on brown backgroundIf you have been convicted of a DUI in the past, then expungement is possible in most states. However, if you live in Texas or Mississippi, then this will not be an option. There are times when a DUI on your record could keep you from doing things like getting a job, finding a place to live, etc. As a result, this can lead to a hardship. If you live in a state that allows for expungement, then this is a possibility to consider, but there are things you must keep in mind.

The actual requirements for this will depend on the state where you live, but there are some general rules you can expect that will be required.

For your DUI to be eligible for expungement, it had to involve probation. This can include deferred sentencing, straight probation, and community service. If you were convicted of a DUI and you spent any amount of time in a state prison as a part of your punishment, then you will not be eligible for expungement.

The next rule is that you will have to have met all of the requirements as a part of your probation. If your probation was revoked, then you will not qualify to have your record expunged of the DUI.

Finally, if you have any criminal issues that are pending court or anything else, then you cannot petition for DUI expungement. This includes even if you have a criminal case against you that has nothing at all to do with the DUI.

If you have checked with your state’s laws about this and you meet all of the requirements, then you will need to petition the court to have your record expunged. There are several steps to this, including:

• You will need to file a petition for expungement.
• You will need to pay court filing fees.
• You will need to send a notice to the prosecutor’s office indicating what you are trying to do.
• You will have to wait a certain amount of time. This will give the prosecutor’s office time to file an answer.
• You will need to request a final hearing after the time period. A judge has to be the one making the ruling.
• At the final hearing, you will have to present your case to the judge and give very good reason why the record should be expunged. It is best to have an attorney for this.

DUI expungement is not available in every state, and getting your record wiped will take a long and detailed process. However, if you can get your expungement, it may be worth the work.


Understanding the DUI Definition

iStock_000003866965_MediumThe actual legal DUI definition can vary from one state to another, but there are certain rules that are in place no matter what. For example, since 2007, every state has had the same BAC (blood alcohol content) limit for DUI charges. It is .08 and this is true no matter where you live. Additionally, the vast majority of states have a high limit rule as well and the charges will be more serious if the driver’s BAC is over .15. However, that doesn’t apply in the same way in all states.

No matter the case, if you are caught drinking and driving and your BAC is over .08, then you will be charged with driving under the influence. Additionally, in many states, the DUI charges can apply if your BAC is under .08 and you are acting impaired or intoxicated.

There are also two main levels according to the DUI definition: misdemeanor and felony. A misdemeanor offense will have lower penalties, usually resulting in probation, community service, and possible classes. The actual requirements will vary by state though. Felony DUIs are much harsher and can result, depending on the state, for such reasons as:

• Repeat offenses
• DUIs that result in bodily harm to someone else
• DUIs with children in the car
• DUI while driving a school bus or in a school zone

It is often up to the discretion of the prosecuting attorney to choose whether or not to pursue a felony DUI. For example, if the driver is under the influence and is involved in a collision that was not his or her fault and they did nothing else wrong, they will likely only be charged with a misdemeanor. However, if a driver is intoxicated, hits another car and leads to injury of someone else, then they will likely be charged with felony DUI.

Finally, one other variation to the DUI definition is worth noting if you are a teenager or you have teenaged children. In the vast majority of states, if the driver is under the age of 21 and they blow any number on a breathalyzer, even if it is under .08, then they will be charged with DUI.

No matter what state you live in, if you drink and drive, then you can be charged with driving under the influence. The actual DUI definition may vary somewhat from one state to another, but certain rules remain the same, like the legal blood alcohol limit. The actual penalties for DUI can vary dramatically, ranging from jail time to community service and ranging from a short license suspension to a suspension that lasts a year or more. The actual punishment for a DUI will also depend greatly on the discretion of the judge who is presiding over the case.

The DUI definition is actually quite simple when you strip away the legal jargon. If you drive under the influence and you are caught, then you will be charged, so this is something you should keep in mind each time you get behind the wheel.


What Are the Consequences of a Hit and Run?

iStock_000009876524_MediumAnytime someone has been in a vehicle accident, their adrenaline will rise and the wrong response could happen as well. For example, some people make a massive mistake of leaving the scene of an accident. There are quite a few reasons why a person may do this, and they may especially be prone to running away if they were driving intoxicated.

A hit and run is whenever a driver is involved in an accident and then leaves the scene. This can be a collision between two vehicles or an incident in which the driver inadvertently hits a pedestrian. No matter the case, whether you actually did something wrong or not, if you flee the scene, then you have automatically broken the law and the penalties become very severe.

Of course, hit and run penalties will vary from one state to another, but there are some things you need to remember.

• Even if you didn’t cause the accident and even if you were not at fault in any way, if you flee the scene of the accident, then you will be in trouble and you will likely be arrested for a hit and run.
• Hit and run accidents, for the most part, must occur on a highway or public road. However, some states have adopted hit and run laws for parking lots as well.
• Depending on circumstances, the hit and run will be considered either a misdemeanor or felony. If you were drunk driving, then you will be charged with a felony.
• In most states, even a misdemeanor hit and run can result in one year in jail and thousands of dollars in fines. Obviously, a felony hit and run will come with much higher penalties.
• If you caused the accident and ran away, then you can be sued by the person in the other vehicle, the pedestrian, or surviving family members. You could find yourself instructed to pay fines for lost wages, property damage, medical bills, and much more.
• If you were at fault for the accident and you are sued civilly, then you can expect any damage costs to be tripled. This is something called treble damages.

A hit and run is a very serious matter. It can cause terrible repercussions that may affect the rest of your life. Even if you have been drinking, it is always best to stay at the scene of an accident. While you may face penalties for this, it won’t be as bad as if you ran away from the scene.


What Are the Consequences of Underage DUI?

iStock_000005370860_LargeAs you may already know, a DUI in any state is a consequence of driving with a blood alcohol content of .08. What you may not know is that the laws change drastically if the driver is under the age of 21.

There is no legal limit for blood alcohol levels in drivers under the age of 21 in the vast majority of states. In a select few areas, the legal limit is .02. However, most cases have something called a zero tolerance policy. This means that, no matter the case, if anyone under the age of 21 is caught with any amount of alcohol in their system, they will be arrested and charged with a DUI.

In other words, it is not safe for anyone under the legal drinking age to have any amount of alcohol. Even the smallest drink will result in DUI if the driver is caught by the police. While there are some crimes that will not show up when a child becomes an adult, this is not the case with DUI.

Even underage individuals who are caught and convicted of driving under the influence will have this on their police record from now on (unless they do manage to get it expunged, which is not even an option in all states). An underage driver could be charged with a misdemeanor or felony DUI depending on the circumstances and this can mean a lot of different things, such as:

• Between $7,000 and $20,000 in various fines
• Community service
• Suspension of the driver’s license based on state limits
• Counseling
• Installation of an ignition interlock
• DUI driver’s courses
• Possible jail time

If the DUI was not the first offense or if the action resulted in injury or death to someone else, then this will result in a felony. Felonies can affect the rest of the driver’s life, meaning they will have a hard time getting a job and even finding a place to live.

While it is possible for some people to beat a DUI, it is much harder for an underage driver. Generally, the courts are extremely strict on someone who has been drinking and driving when they are under the age of 21. That’s because it is an attempt to ensure they don’t commit the crime again. So, anyone underage should avoid drinking alcohol in any amount and getting behind the wheel.


What Is a Felony DUI?

iStock_000020290007_LargeMost people associate a DUI with a misdemeanor, and in many cases, that is accurate. The vast majority of first offenses, as long as they do not involve any other complications, will be tried as misdemeanors. That still means penalties such as a suspended license, fines, and possibly jail time. However, a misdemeanor will not keep you from getting a job or a rental property. A felony will do those things. Potential employers and renters are completely within their rights to ask about previous felonies, which will appear on background checks.

So, what is a felony DUI? In certain cases, a driving under the influence charge can be raised from a misdemeanor to a felony. In some cases, it is required and in others, it is up to the discretion of the prosecutor. However, understanding the things that could constitute as a felony DUI will help you avoid serious trouble in the future.

Some of the reasons why a DUI could become a felony include:

• If this is not your first offense. Generally, in the case of multiple DUI convictions, any subsequent one will be listed as a felony and you will be charged as so.
• If you have children in your car and you are caught with a DUI, this almost always immediately constitutes as a felony. The actual age of the child and the age limit can vary from one state to another.
• If your BAC is very high, many states list this as a felony DUI. For quite a few states, the extra high number is .15.
• If you are caught with a DUI and you have an accident that lead to bodily harm to another person, this will most likely result in a felony charge. This could include vehicle collisions, hitting a pedestrian, and most definitely a hit and run.

These are all incidents referred to as aggravated DUI and they usually result in a felony charge. In addition to this being on your record and effecting your life, it can also result in a harsher punishment. For example, a misdemeanor DUI may result in some jail time, but not much. A felony DUI could mean more than a year in a state prison, and that is a whole different ballgame than spending a few days in jail.

A felony DUI can be a serious conviction, and for that reason, it is something to be avoided at all costs.


What Is the Jail Time for DUI?

Drunk DrivingOf course, if you are arrested for a DUI, then one of the first things you may worry about would be whether or not you are going to end up spending time in jail. Obviously, that is a good question and certainly a big concern.

Keep in mind that every state has different laws and whether or not you are sentenced to time in jail can depend largely on where you live. However, there are some parameters that will have a serious impact on your punishment for the DUI.

If it is your first time being charged with DUI and nothing else was involved (you were simply stopped by the police or you were caught in a DUI traffic stop), then you probably will not get jail time. Instead, you can expect your license to be suspended and you probably will have to deal with some probation, community service, and possibly, drug and alcohol class, etc. Your DUI will be considered a misdemeanor. While it will still be on your arrest record, it will not be nearly as bad as a felony.

However, if you are involved in an aggravated DUI, then your chances of being sent to jail go up extensively. Aggravated DUI includes such situations as the following:

• Multiple DUI convictions. If you get convicted of a DUI several times, then you will most likely end up with a felony and that means time in a state prison.
• A DUI that involves injury to someone else. If you are in an accident, and it is your fault, and you were driving under the influence, you are going to receive a felony DUI charge and that means time in jail.
• A DUI that involves a very high BAC. In most states, a BAC over .15 will equate to aggravated DUI and that means a felony.

Other situations that can lead to jail time include driving drunk with children in the car, driving in a school zone while intoxicated, and other offenses at the same time as your DUI charge. Of course, if you flee from an accident, then your hit and run charges will definitely result in time in jail.

Whether or not you will receive a jail time sentencing will depend greatly on where you live. However, if you are convicted of aggravated DUI, then you can expect this in your sentencing. Depending on whether you are charged with a misdemeanor or a felony will decide whether you end up with time in a local jail or a state prison.


What You Need to Know about Your DUI Records

Handcuffs and FolderWhen you have been charged and convicted of a DUI/DWI, then this will lead to a criminal record. Depending on where you live and the actual facts surrounding the DUI, it can affect your criminal record in different ways.

To begin with, it depends on whether or not you are charged with a felony DUI. A misdemeanor will show up on your criminal record, but it will not have the same impact on your life. For example, people do not have to give you a job or rent you a place if you have any felony convictions. However, if you only have a misdemeanor, they will not be able to use this against you. Generally, a first time DUI will be listed as a misdemeanor as long as nothing else happened. However, any subsequent charges will likely equate to a felony and that will be on your record forever.

Even a misdemeanor DUI will be on your record forever most of the time. People assume that it goes away after a time period, kind of like negative things on your credit report. However, that isn’t the case. There are only certain times when a DUI will not be on your record. They include:

• The judge expunges your record. This is only done in certain circumstances. For example, if it has been a very long time since you got the DUI and you have not broken any laws since then, you could petition the court for epxungement.
• The court seals your records or signs a non-disclosure for your DUI records. If you are having difficulty getting a job or with credit bureaus because of your DUI conviction, in some circumstances, then you can petition the court to create a non-disclosure. In this case, the record will still be there, but people cannot see it when they do a background check.

Not all states even allow these two things. For example, the state of Texas does not allow either one. If you live in a state that doesn’t allow these options, then your DUI will be on your record for the rest of your life. Additionally, the probation you receive will be on your record as well.

If you are convicted of a DUI, then this is not something that goes away any time soon. There is no quick fix, and you may be able to get the record removed later, but for the most part, it is something you will have to live with.