DUI Records

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According to a report by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration approximately 41% of all traffic deaths in the U.S. were alcohol related in 2006.  Drunk driving is a major issue in our society, and many states have, and will continue to invest a lot in cracking down on drunk drivers.  Further statistics show that in 2006, 1.46 million drivers were arrested for driving under the influence of alcohol or other drugs.  As such, drunk-driving cases could compose a major portion of the court records in your state.

In the United States, every state has a statute, or law, that makes it a crime to drive with a blood alcohol level of .08% or higher. Depending on the state, these drunk-driving crimes are called DUIs (driving under the influence), DWIs (driving while intoxicated), OWIs (operating while impaired), or OVIs (operating a vehicle under the influence).  However, DUI is the most commonly used term.

Most drunk driving offenses fall within the criminal category of misdemeanor, which means they are punishable by less than one year in jail or a limited fine.   However, if there is an injury or death related to the drunk driving, then the DUI can become a felony offense.  A felony DUI offense is when a serious injury or property damage occurs as a result of the drunk driving.  If someone is killed as a result of the drunk driving, the person responsible could be charged with felony crimes called vehicular manslaughter or vehicular homicide.  Felonies are punishable by at least one year in prison and/or fines of at least $1,000 (depending on the state).    A DUI can also become a felony crime if the offender has had several prior DUI convictions within a certain time period.

If the offender has a BAC of .08% or higher, there is a presumption of guilt.  However, even if your BAC is below .08%, you could still be charged with a drunk driving offense.  Some states have created lesser charges for drivers with a BAC of between .05% and .08%.  While the pentalites may not be as severe, if convicted, this could still lead to fines or a court ordered requirement to enter an alcohol related program.

Criminal records regarding drunk-driving offenses are generally public records.  These records can likely be accessed through whichever court handles criminal cases, which will vary by state.   Some states have separate courts that strictly hear criminal cases, while in other states, the courts of general jurisdictions, such as a circuit court, will hear drunk-driving cases.   To find information about drunk-driving laws in your state, or find court records related to drunk-driving offenses, visit CourtReference.com.

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