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What is a DUI?

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Quick Answer

A DUI is a crime committed by a driver of an automobile who is operating that motor vehicle while under the influence of drugs or alcohol, according to FindLaw. DUI is an acronym for driving while under the influence. In some states, the acronym is DWI.

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Full Answer

Whatever each state calls the crime, DUI laws and regulations make it a crime for a person to operate a truck, car, motorcycle or commercial vehicle if his ability to safely operate said vehicle is impaired by the effects of drugs, alcohol and even medications such as over-the counter antihistamines and prescription medications, states FindLaw. A driver of a car is deemed to be intoxicated if he is at a level that is above the state-set DUI standards, such as his blood-alcohol concentration.

If an individual is convicted of DUI, he may face a number of different criminal penalties including jail time, probation, fines and community service. Some state laws have minimum penalties for individuals convicted of DUI for the first time, but those penalties increase with each conviction thereafter. Circumstances that come into play when establishing those penalties are whether there was a child in the vehicle at the time the offense was committed, or if the driver was in a car accident that led to the arrest, according to FindLaw.

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