What Are DUI Laws?


Quick Answer

Driving under the influence laws, or DUI laws, refer to state statutes that outline criteria and penalties for the criminal offense of operating a vehicle under the influence of alcohol, according to DrivingLaws.org from Nolo. Driving while intoxicated, or DWI, and operating under the influence, or OUI, also denote DUI laws depending on the jurisdiction.

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Full Answer

The Governors Highway Safety Association, or GHSA, indicates that every state defines driving a motor vehicle with a blood-alcohol concentration of 0.08 percent, or above, as a crime. Penalties vary widely, but 42 states suspend or limit a motorist's driving privileges on a first conviction, as of October 2014. Twenty states allow disabling interlocks that test a convicted driver's breath before engine ignition. Dr. David Hanson, sociology professor at The State University of New York at Potsdam, explains that offenders with multiple convictions may forfeit vehicles driven while intoxicated in 30 states.

DUI laws incorporate some aspect of open containers in vehicles and repeat offenses, according to GHSA. States that do not comply with minimum federal standards have Department of Transportation funds withheld. Some states have alcohol exclusion laws that deny insurance payments to treat the injuries of impaired drivers. Nolo explains that DUI is often confused with the term "drunk driving." The phrase is not defined by law, plus motorists do not have to be drunk to be arrested for DUI crimes.

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