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All states have a blood alcohol concentration level, or BAC of .08 as the legal limit before a person is considered to be driving under the influence. If a person is stopped by an officer on suspicion of driving drunk and registers a BAC at or above the legal limit of .08 when the officer administers the initial breathalyzer test, that person will be arrested and charged with driving under the influence.

Certain states, like Colorado, have an added BAC level for lesser offenses. It is referred to as DWAI or “Driving While Ability Impaired”. In states that impose this lesser charge the legal limit is typically at or above .05 up to the .08 limit where the charge is DUI.

Currently 42 states impose a mandatory driver’s license suspension or revocation period following a first DUI/DWI offense. The majority of these states have some sort of restricted license available to the offender during the suspension period so they may drive to and from work, school, appointments and such. All states impose a suspension or revocation period for any subsequent offense.

The number of states that have an ignition interlock law for first time offenders continues to grow every year. The majority of states also have ignition interlock laws for first time offenders who had a high BAC above .15 percent.

As a DUI or DWI offender there are some general things that are going to happen when you are stopped. First you will be arrested and taken to jail; the police are not going to let you drive. Second your vehicle is more than likely going to be towed and impounded.

The amount of time you spend in jail can vary from a few hours for those that cooperate with officers, to longer periods of time for DUI offenders with Aggravating circumstances or those that were disorderly.

The biggest impact to most DUI offenders is the suspension or revocation of their driver’s license. Currently there are 41 states and Washington DC that will immediately take an offender's driver’s license upon failing or refusing a chemical test.

In many states the offender will be able to restore their driving privilege during the suspension or revocation period. In most states where an offender can apply for a “hardship” or "restricted" type of license during the suspension period, this hardship or restricted license will limit a person’s driving privileges to necessary driving such as to and from work or school.


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This website contains general information regarding drunk driving. The information contained herein is provided for informational purposes only and is not intended to be legal advice. The information provided on this website may not always be current and is not construed as such. The information on this website is provided without any representations or warranties, express or implied. No lawyer-client, solicitor-client, or attorney-client relationship shall be created through the use of this website. You should not rely on the information on this website as an alternative to legal advice from a practicing attorney.