Driving under the influence, or DUI, is a charge you may face if you operate a vehicle after having consumed alcohol or used other drugs. Each state has its own laws regarding drunk driving, so the charges for driving under the influence vary from state to state. Additionally, many states refer to drunk driving by different names, including DWI (driving while intoxicated or driving while impaired), OUI (operating under the influence), OWI (operating while intoxicated), and OMVI (operating a motor vehicle while intoxicated).
Once you have been charged with DUI, you will need to develop your defense and present it in court. A DUI case consists of two parts: the criminal case, which goes to the Superior Court, and the civil case, which is handled by the DMV (Driver Safety Division). Both parts are different and separate, as each affects your record and driving privileges differently.
In both situations, however, the consequences you face after a DUI conviction can be long-term and costly. You could be fined, do jail time, get a suspended license, or have to take mandatory drug and alcohol education classes. There are also sanctions that are more long-lasting, such as an ignition interlock device installed in your car.
Additionally, the possible penalties depend on the nature of your DUI (for example whether this is your first offense), and they may be enhanced due to aggravating circumstances. These include factors such as speeding, having a minor in your car, or possessing an open bottle of alcohol in your vehicle. DUI or DWI may also be classified as a felony if someone is killed or injured due to drunk driving, or if it is a 3rd or 4th offense.
If you are charged with DUI, you will want to vigorously defend yourself to avoid stiff penalties. Most lawyers recommend that you contact legal counsel to have the best possible chance of fighting a DUI.