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Keeping Your License After a DUI: What You Need to Know in 2024

The process for losing a driver’s license after a Driving Under the Influence, or “DUI,” arrest varies by state, and the immediate loss of a license depends on the specific laws in the area where the offense occurred.
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C.L. Mike Schmidt Published by C.L. Mike Schmidt

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What is a DUI?

DUI stands for "Driving Under the Influence," which refers to the crime of operating a vehicle while impaired by drugs or alcohol. The specific terms used for a DUI can vary by jurisdiction; in some places, for example, the offense is known as DWI (Driving While Intoxicated) or OUI (Operating Under the Influence).

The impairment in a DUI is usually caused by the consumption of alcohol, illegal drugs, or prescription medications that affect a person's ability to drive safely. The level of impairment needed to be charged with a DUI is usually defined by blood alcohol concentration (BAC). The legal BAC limit varies by state, but it is most commonly 0.08%.

Administrative Suspension vs. Court Suspension for DUI

In most jurisdictions, there are 2 separate processes for prosecuting a DUI: administrative and criminal.

1. Administrative License Suspension/Revocation:

  • Immediacy: In certain states, there is an administrative process separate from the criminal case that allows for the immediate suspension or revocation of a driver's license when an individual is arrested for a DUI.
  • Duration: The duration of the administrative suspension or revocation can vary, and it may be subject to administrative hearings or automatic actions by the DMV or another similar agency.
  • Conditions: Administrative suspensions or revocations typically depend on factors including failing a breathalyzer test or refusing to take one.

2. Criminal Case Outcome:

  • Court Proceedings: Following the individual's arrest for a DUI, there are criminal court proceedings that determine the potential charges and subsequent penalties.
  • License Suspension or Revocation: If convicted of a DUI in the criminal court, a separate license suspension or revocation may be levied as part of the criminal penalty. The duration and conditions can vary based on factors including prior offenses and seriousness of the DUI.

3. Ignition Interlock Device (IID):

  • Certain states may require the installation of an Ignition Interlock Device (IID) on the vehicle for the offender's license to be reinstated. IIDs require the driver to pass a breathalyzer test prior to starting the vehicle.

Also Read: Can You Go to Mexico with a DUI?

Were You Arrested for a DUI?

If you are being charged with a DUI, you should research the specific laws of the jurisdiction where your arrest took place to understand the specific procedures and consequences. Additionally, people facing DUI charges are encouraged to seek legal advice from a knowledgeable attorney who is experienced in DUI cases. An attorney can provide guidance on the legal process, defenses, and steps to take to minimize the affect on your driving privileges.

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