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Criminal Law F.A.Q.

Driving Under the Influence

What to expect when charged with a DUI:

Driving Under the Influence (DUI) is the most serious charge one may encounter in the District and Municipal Court systems. The penalty for a person convicted of DUI is very harsh. However, a competent and experienced trial lawyer can minimize the impact, and often reduce the charges. The DUI statute may be proven on two (2) alternative grounds: 1) The person was driving with a blood alcohol level (BAC) of .08 or above within two hours of driving; or 2) The person was “under the influence” of alcohol or drugs at the time of driving.

As a result, a person who is operating a vehicle with a BAC of below .08 may be charged with a DUI if he or she appears under the influence of alcohol or drugs.

In addition to DUI, the Prosecuting Attorney’s Office may choose to charge an individual with other crimes related to drugs and/or alcohol and motor vehicle use. For example, an individual may be charged with being in physical control of a vehicle while under the influence. This typically occurs where an individual is behind the wheel of a vehicle while intoxicated, regardless of whether the vehicle’s engine is running. Other charges may include Negligent Driving 1st Degree, which does not require a level of intoxication, but rather consumption of alcohol while operating a vehicle in a negligent manner. If the driver is under the age of 21, he or she may be charged with a DUI if their breath test is above .02 within two (2) hours of driving. However, the prosecuting attorney may choose to charge them with a full DUI, which has greater consequences, if their breath test is above .08.


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