You had a drink or two, sat behind the wheel, and thought that your impaired driving abilities won’t lead to adverse consequences, as usual. You did not cause an accident, but you were caught driving drunk and got charged with a DUI.
Your troubles with the law have just begun.
What Does A DUI Mean?
DUI is an abbreviation for “Driving Under the Influence”. You have committed a DUI if you have driven under the influence of:
- The combination of alcohol and drugs
DUI is most commonly associated with drunk driving. Having alcohol in your blood, though, may not be enough to be driving under influence. Most of the US states require a minimum amount of alcohol in your blood (blood alcohol concentration – BAC) of 0.08%. There are also a few states with zero tolerance laws, i.e. they do not allow driving with any alcohol in the blood at all.
DUI BAC Levels Chart by US State
How Many Drinks Per BAC Level For A DUI?
It can vary based on the tolerance level of the person, and the height and weight or build of the person as well.
Examples of BAC Levels…
- Full grown tall/large 200+ pound man = 4+ drinks to equal a .08 BAC level
- Small petite woman = 2+ drinks to equal a .08 BAC level
Who Is Most Likely to Get a DUI?
Anyone who drinks alcohol or takes drugs and takes control over the wheel (or handles, such as a motorcycle) is under the risk of committing a DUI. However, statistics show that some people are more represented among DUI drivers than others.
A few examples:
- Men are 2x more likely to commit a DUI than women
- Young drivers aged between 21 and 24 make one-third (1/3) of all DUI offenses in the US
These statistics do not exclude anyone from the risk of committing DUI, however.
Drivers with a BAC level above .08 resulted in 62% of the DUI deaths in 2016.
Are DUI and DWI the Same Thing?
DUI and DWI are the two most common abbreviations used to described driving under the influence of intoxicating substances that impair driving abilities.
DUI means “driving under the influence.” DWI means “driving while intoxicated”. In general, both terms describe the same thing – impaired driving due to alcohol or drugs.
However, each term meaning may differ from state to state. In some states, both terms have exactly the same meaning. In others, DUI means driving under the influence of alcohol, while DWI means driving under the influence of drugs. Therefore, DUI and DWI are basically the same thing, although there may be some small differences from state to state.
How Does a DUI Affect Your Life?
The life after being convicted for a DUI is not the same anymore. It will affect your life immediately, but some of the consequences may be long-lasting. The most likely consequences include:
- Going to jail for a few days to several months
- Paying monetary fines
- Having an ignition interlock device installed on your car
- Suspension of your driving license, usually between 6 and 24 months
- Having to attend DUI classes
- Having a criminal record
- An obligation to possess a more expensive car insurance
- Denial to visit certain countries
- Possible difficulties to find a job immediately after DUI jail time
Will One DUI Ruin My Life?
One DUI may ruin your life, but it doesn’t have to. How you will go on with your life after a DUI depends on two things:
- The specific circumstances of your case and
- How hard you fight to mitigate the risks the DUI charges bring.
Having an experienced DUI lawyer by your side can make a big difference. DUI lawyers are specialized in this kind of procedures and know all the ins and outs. They know what needs to be said and done in order to get you away with the minimum consequences over your life.
Does a DUI Affect Your Credit Score?
It is highly unlikely that a DUI conviction will affect your credit score. The conviction is part of your criminal record held at the Department of Justice and does not appear on the credit report.
Financial institutions do not make background checks, hence they don’t look at clients’ criminal records.
A DUI may affect your credit score only indirectly. Examples may include, but are not limited to:
- Not paying your DUI fines on time
- You cannot find a job immediately after DUI jail time
- Your income decreases due to DUI jail time
- You have unemployment time due to DUI jail time
The bottom line – a DUI conviction will not affect your credit score directly but may lead to life circumstances that may affect it.
Will Enterprise Rent a Car to Someone with a DUI?
The laws do not restrict rent-a-car companies on whether to serve customers with a DUI in their records. Companies are free to choose their own approach, hence there is no straightforward answer to this question.
Most of them will rent you a vehicle as long as you have a valid driving license. Others may require a clean record for the last 12 – 48 months.
Does a DUI Affect Buying a Car?
Generally speaking, car dealers do not care how bad a driver is when selling cars. They sell to both good and bad drivers, even to DUI drivers. When buying a car, you’ll be asked to provide a document for identification. If your driving license has been suspended, you may provide an ID or a passport and easily get through in the buying process.
The problems may arise when you need to start using the car. You’ll need car insurance, which might be two to three times more expensive for DUI drivers compared to drivers who have never been caught driving drunk. A hefty insurance policy may, in fact, be a prohibiting factor for individuals who cannot afford to pay such car insurance.
Having A DUI On Your Record Is One of The Worst Things You Can Have On It
We cannot stress enough that life after DUI is not the same anymore. Having a DUI on your record is one of the worst possible things you can have on it.
Once you have it on your criminal record, you will likely face problems your entire life. That’s why you owe to yourself to fight DUI charges and do everything you can to have them dismissed. Hire whatever lawyer you can afford or make a deal with, try your best to accept nothing less than a dismissal or diversion.
An experienced DUI lawyer can make the difference between jail time, hefty fines, a suspended driving license, and the freedom you had before the DUI.