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How is a DUI Determined?

How is a DUI Determined?

The easiest way to avoid getting a DUI conviction is of course, to stay sober or not drive if you’ve been indulging. But many drivers may not be aware of exactly how DUI is determined. Portrayals of DUI incidents in television and movies are not always accurate, and it’s important that drivers have accurate information for their state. 

There are a few different ways how a DUI is determined, and conviction laws vary by state. Here are some common methods in which a DUI is determined: 

  • Following a traffic stop — if pulled over for a traffic stop, drivers may have to submit to a field sobriety or breathalyzer test if the law enforcement official suspects they are not sober. These tests are standardized by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. These tests usually require drivers to exit their vehicle and perform simple tests involving balance, following directions, and clear vision. Most will also require a breathalyzer to measure the alcohol content as well. Chemical tests measure blood alcohol content, and most states have a limit of .08 percent for DUI. Utah is the exception, with a limit of .05 percent. 
  • Following an accident —if driving under the influence results in a crash, chemical tests may be performed on-site or during treatment to determine if alcohol or drugs were a factor. 

Testing is used by law enforcement to determine if there is probable cause for an arrest. If a driver fails to complete simple tasks in the field sobriety test,  over the legal limit typically results in a conviction, and requirements after this point vary by state. In many states, an ignition interlock device is required for convicted drivers, especially if they want to regain driving privileges. 

Many states have programs wherein drivers convicted of DUI can obtain a restricted license if they install an IID and agree to limit driving to approved locations like work and treatment. These can help convicted drivers who need a vehicle for work, or those who drive for work. Typically, CDL licenses are not included in this program, however. Anyone who drives a commercial vehicle may not be able to continue that career path if convicted of a DUI. But the restricted license does allow drivers to drive standard vehicles on behalf of their employer. For example, salespeople who drive company cars are able to do this if approved for their restricted license in many states.

What are Next Steps for DUI Offenders after a Conviction?

Requirements vary by state after a drunk driving conviction. Be sure to review your state’s requirements by visiting our State Requirements page. But there are some standard next steps every driver can take to help. 

  1. Contact a state specialist — If you’re unsure about what to do, our state specialists can help. They can review the next steps in your state, and discuss requirements for an ignition interlock device, or car breathalyzer based on your specific needs. 
  2. Engage an attorney — if you have been convicted of DUI, an attorney is a good investment. Intoxalock works with many lawyers who can help you through the legal process. Check your state page or ask your state specialist. 
  3. Explore treatment options — many judges and states may require treatment as part of your DUI penalty process. Additionally, some states may require you to complete DUI school courses as part of your license reinstatement process. 
  4. Install an IID —   Many states require installation of an ignition interlock device on the first offense, and others require it on repeat offenses. To understand your state’s specific requirements, visit our State Requirements page, or call us at (833) 623-0200.  

Remember, Intoxalock has the most locations with 3,500+ service centers nationwide, so we offer a convenient solution for your interlock needs.

Want to learn more about our Intoxalock ignition interlock device? Visit our Breathalyzer Device Page, or learn about ignition interlock devices in our IID Ultimate Guide.

Need an Ignition Interlock Device?

If you’re in need of an IID, Intoxalock is here to help. We want you to be able to get back on the road and earn your license back, safely. Intoxalock offers convenience, because we have many locations with trained technicians.

Call us at (833) 623-0200 or complete the form to get a free quote. 


Category: Drunk Driving

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