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What is a DUI?

A DUI, also known as DWI in certain states, is a criminal charge for drunk driving. DUI stands for “driving under the influence” and refers mainly to the influence of alcohol, but it can also refer to other drugs, such as cannabis or opioids. 

DWI stands for “driving while intoxicated” and refers to intoxication from the same set of substances covered in a DUI. Furthermore, anyone operating a motorized vehicle of any kind can be charged for this offense, including the use of motorized watercraft, lawnmowers, and non-motorized bicycles.

DUI and DWI parameters differ from state-to-state. Penalties and consequences are also different, depending on which state you are in when you commit this violation. 

How Long Does a DUI Stay on Your Record?

The length of time that a DUI or DWI will stay on your record depends on state laws, but it will most likely stay on for years to life. Even though it will remain on record for this long, it will not technically “come off” of your driving record. 

What really happens is that each state sets a specific period after which a prior conviction for driving under the influence or driving while intoxicated is not considered if a subsequent case were to occur. 

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Consequences of a DUI on Your Record

Aside from the immediate consequences, such as fines and jail time, there are longer-term consequences of having a DUI on your record. These include:

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  • License suspension
  • Restrictions on driving privileges
  • Travel restrictions to other countries (including Canada)
  • Higher car insurance rates
  • Lengthy probation
  • Possibility of court-ordered alcohol education programs
  • Possible requirement to complete a formal alcohol or substance use disorder evaluation
  • Possible court-ordered substance use disorder treatment
  • Criminal record 

A first DUI arrest is usually treated as a misdemeanor, but subsequent DUI convictions will likely result in felony charges and are treated as serious criminal offenses. 

In some instances, usually due to a prior DUI offense, this can be charged as a felony offense. The consequences of a felony DUI charge may result in losing the right to vote. However, this varies by state; not all felons lose this right. You may also lose the right to sit on a jury, own a firearm, and a DUI will create difficulties finding employment. 

Does a DUI in One State Show Up in Another State?

In short, yes. If someone is charged with a DUI and convicted outside of their home state, the DUI will follow the individual home. Most states participate in the Driver’s License Compact Nonresident Violator Compact to share information about driving records and history. This is independent of a Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) background check. 

If someone is charged with a DUI in their home state, and then decides to move to another state, their license will still be suspended in their new area of residence. The offender

cannot obtain a new license until the suspension period is satisfied from the state of conviction. 

Legal help may be needed in expunging previous DUI criminal convictions. Throughout the United States, numerous law firms and law offices focus solely on DUI laws and fight to avoid DUI convictions.

A DUI defense attorney or DUI lawyer can provide everything from legal advice to criminal defense for new DUI charges. DUI lawyers are also helpful in seeking the expungement of DUI cases. 

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Resources

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National Institute of Health. “Current Environment: Alcohol, Driving, and Drinking and Driving.” NIH. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK500051/

United States Department of Justice. “Alcohol-Related Offenses.” USDJ. https://www.ojp.gov/taxonomy/term/1191

Bureau of Transportation Statistics. “Drunk Driving by the Numbers.” BTS. https://www.bts.gov/archive/publications/by_the_numbers/drunk_driving/index

“PENAL CODE CHAPTER 49. INTOXICATION AND ALCOHOLIC BEVERAGE OFFENSES.” Statutes.Capitol.Texas.Gov, statutes.capitol.texas.gov/Docs/PE/htm/PE.49.htm.

Brown, David. “DUI and DWI Overview.” www.Nolo.Com, Nolo, 10 Oct. 2011, www.nolo.com/legal-encyclopedia/dui-dwi-overview-30316.html.

Cavaiola, Alan A., et al. “Characteristics of DUI Recidivists: A 12-Year Follow-up Study of First Time DUI Offenders.” Addictive Behaviors, Pergamon, 28 July 2006, www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0306460306002127.

DG;, Fors SW;Rojek. “The Effect of Victim Impact Panels on DUI/DWI Rearrest Rates: a Twelve-Month Follow-Up.” Journal of Studies on Alcohol, U.S. National Library of Medicine, pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/10463808/.

Nochajski, Thomas H., and Paul R. Stasiewicz. “Relapse to Driving under the Influence (DUI): A Review.” Clinical Psychology Review, Pergamon, 20 Dec. 2005, www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S027273580500142X.

Raymund E. Narag, Sheila Royo Maxwell. “A Phenomenological Approach to Assessing a DUI/DWI Program - Raymund E. Narag, Sheila Royo Maxwell, Byung Lee, 2013.” SAGE Journals, journals.sagepub.com/doi/10.1177/0306624X11431685.

Spiehler, Vina, et al. “CUT-OFF CONCENTRATIONS FOR DRUGS OF ABUSE IN SALIVA FOR ...” Forensic Science, Problems of Forensic Sciences, 16 May 2000, www.forensicscience.pl/pfs/42_spiehler.pdf.

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