DUI As a Criminal Offense

Getting charged with DUI Implications is a serious event that can have lifelong consequences. You may be faced with a new vocabulary of acronyms and terms, not to mention a potential loss of income, since DUI convictions typically show up on background checks.

In all states, it is illegal to operate a vehicle while impaired by alcohol or drugs (including prescription medications). Experienced lawyers can often help clients avoid jail time and other penalties.


In the United States, DUI is a criminal offense. This is because driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs can cause deadly accidents that injure people and cause property damage. In most cases, DUI offenders face both criminal and civil consequences if they are convicted of the crime. They may also be required to attend alcohol abuse education classes or Victim Impact Panels that show the real-life effects of drunk driving on victims and their families.

Felony charges are more serious than misdemeanor convictions and can lead to years behind bars. In addition, a felony conviction can make it hard to find a job and harder to get professional licenses or own a firearm.

Felony charges are typically reserved for habitual offenders who have multiple DUI convictions or for serious DUI accidents that result in injury or death. However, any DUI charge can be elevated to a felony if certain aggravating factors are present. For example, if a drunk driver causes a fatal accident, they will be charged with vehicular manslaughter or homicide, both of which are felonies. Similarly, if a person has two prior DUI convictions within the previous five years, they may be charged with aggravated DUI. Various jurisdictions use different terms to refer to the same offense, including impaired driving, drunk driving, DWI, and OWI.


As a misdemeanor, a DUI shows up on criminal arrest records and can affect your ability to get jobs or rent homes. This is because most employers run a background check before hiring people. Whether or not a DUI prevents someone from getting a job will depend on how much relevance it has to the position and how serious the offense was.

A DUI is considered a crime when the person operating the vehicle has a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of.08 or higher. A first-time DUI is a misdemeanor in most states, and the penalties include fines, license suspension, and possible jail time. A second DUI within ten years is typically a felony in most states.

BAC and other factors, such as how many people were in the vehicle at the time of the offense or whether a child was present, are used to determine how serious a DUI is. DUIs also show up on motor vehicle record checks, which are usually run when people apply for new jobs or a driver’s license. Having a DUI on your record can prevent you from being hired or renting an apartment, and it may also increase the price of your car insurance. People with DUIs on their records often end up needing special, high-cost SR-22 insurance for several years after a conviction.


A DUI conviction can result in fines, jail time and license suspensions. It will also show up on standard criminal background checks. It may also require the driver to use an alcohol monitoring device while driving. DUI checkpoints are sometimes set up during high-intoxication times, such as New Year’s Eve and other holiday celebrations. Police officers at these checkpoints can be specially trained to recognize drivers who are under the influence of alcohol or drugs, as well as those who have committed other traffic violations.

Generally speaking, violent crimes carry stiffer penalties than non-violent offenses. However, this is not always the case. The line between violent and non-violent crimes is often based on subjective criteria that may be influenced by racial bias.

Violent crimes are those that involve the use of force or the threat of force. They include assault (even simple assault without physical contact), robbery, murder and many other serious crimes. Non-violent crimes are those that do not cause or threaten to cause bodily harm, such as larceny, burglary, theft, drug possession and many other minor offenses. They are punished less severely but still carry harsh penalties that can affect a person’s job, future and family. Some of these are restitution to the victim, probation, steep fines and loss of professional licenses.