There is a lot of misinformation surrounding DUIs and DWIs. It is important for every driver to know how the law handles these crimes, what the requirements for driving legally are, and what their rights are. A common question is whether a DUI is only applicable for alcohol or if other substances can lead to an arrest. After reading this guide, you will know everything you need to know about DUIs.
Driving Under the Influence
While “DUI” is the more common term, if you are arrested for driving drunk then you may be charged with a DWI instead, which stands for “driving while intoxicated.” Depending on which state you live in, DUIs and DWIs may be combined, or they may be separate to differentiate between irresponsible alcohol and irresponsible use of other drugs.
This does indeed mean that you can be arrested for driving while under the influence of drugs other than alcohol. Every state requires all drivers to have a clear mind and full control while driving, and driving in an impaired state is a very serious charge. If a substance affects your mind, you should never use it prior to driving.
Now that you know that it is illegal to drive while any kind of substance affects your mind, you might be wondering where the limit is. How does the law determine whether or not an individual is affected enough to be unable to drive? Legally, there are two limitations. It is illegal for adults to drive with a blood alcohol content of 0.08% and for minors to drive with a blood alcohol content of 0.00%.
Many people are aware of this limit, but fewer people realize there is a second limitation which is far more subjective. It is also illegal to drive “while impaired.” This is a distinction that the arresting officer must make in the moment. The individual officer must assess your physical abilities and determine whether or not it is safe for you to be driving. It is possible to be arrested and charged with a DUI, even if your blood alcohol content is lower than the legal limit. It simply requires the arresting officer to decide you are too impaired to drive safely.
So rather than wondering about blood alcohol content, it might be safer to think about it in terms of how an officer might perceive you. Always err on the safe side when it comes to drinking and driving, and hire a DUI attorney the moment you are accused.