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DUI Penalties FAQs

Since your DUI, you’ve probably had a lot of questions about what to expect next. DUI penalties carry serious consequences that can impact your life for years to come. Below are some of the most common questions and answers for first-time DUI offenders. It’s important to also consult with your attorney to get answers that are specific to your DUI case.
 

Where can I find out about DUI laws for my state?

While the legal limit for intoxication is .08 across the country, each state has different laws regarding how DUIs are prosecuted and punished. Select your state from the dropdown menu below to find more information about your state's laws.

What does BAC mean?

BAC stands for “blood alcohol concentration” or “blood alcohol content” and is the level of alcohol in your bloodstream. Your BAC was likely taken through either a breathalyzer test or a blood/urine test and will be used in court as evidence in your DUI case. All 50 states, as well as the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico, have passed .08 as the legal limit of intoxication.

How much will getting a DUI cost?

Because laws vary in each state, it’s impossible to give an exact amount of how much a DUI costs. It has been widely reported, however, that the national average is around $10,000. To get a better idea of how much a DUI costs in your state, use our state-by-state cost calculator.

Can my DUI case be dismissed because the police officer did not read me the Miranda warning?

No, your case will not be dismissed solely on an officer not reading you your Miranda rights. For DUIs, there are two conditions that must be met BEFORE an officer can read you your rights. The first condition is that the officer arrests you. The second is that the officer continues to question you after your arrest.
 
Miranda rights inform you that you don't have to answer any questions an officer asks you post arrest. If the officer is not asking you any further questions, Miranda rights are not needed.
 
If an officer has questioned you after your arrest and did not read you your Miranda rights, your attorney can move to strike any evidence that may have been gathered by your answers.

Will I be able to get insurance again after my DUI?

Some insurers will provide coverage to first-time DUI offenders, but the selection is limited, and their rates will generally be significantly higher than you would expect to pay for ordinary auto insurance. You can find out which companies offer coverage for drivers who require an SR-22 by visiting insurer websites or calling them directly.
 
With your rates likely to be much higher, you will be tempted to sacrifice quality service and select less coverage than you normally would. This could result in even more problems for you down the road. Find an insurer that will give you the affordable and high-quality coverage that you deserve.
 
You can search for insurance in your area on our Auto Insurance page. Once you buy a policy, the insurer typically will file the SR-22 with your state licensing authority on your behalf, although you may be responsible for any associated filing fees.

How is a DUI different for someone who is under the age of 21?

Obviously it is illegal for anyone under the age of 21 to buy or possess alcohol, let alone drink and drive. While the legal limit for intoxication is .08%, there is a “zero tolerance” policy for underage DUI offenders.
 
People who are cited for underage DUI typically get charged with two crimes: Underage drinking and DUI. Other charges like minor in possession of alcohol, soliciting alcohol from an adult and distributing alcohol to minors can also be added.
 
Sentencing for underage DUI is typically more severe than a DUI by someone of legal age. Fines, drug/alcohol classes, community service, jail time and revocation of driving privileges are common.

What happens if I receive a DUI in a state other than where I live?

Most states have agreements in which they share traffic violation convictions that occur outside the state of residence. This can be for a minor offense like a speeding ticket or a major offense like a DUI. Check with your attorney to see if your state, or the state in which you received your DUI, has these reciprocal agreements.

How long will a DUI stay on my driving record?

Depending on what state you live in, a DUI may stay on your record anywhere from ten years up to forever. Contact your local DMV to find out how long your state keeps DUIs on driving records. You can also ask the DMV about how to expunge DUIs from your record after a certain period of time.

Can I be convicted of a DUI if I wasn't physically driving the vehicle?

Yes, technically you can. If you were behind the wheel of the car, with the keys in the ignition, the police can charge you with DUI. You do not have to be driving the vehicle; you merely have to be in physical control of it. Many people have been stopped by police in the parking lot of establishments and arrested for DUI, without even leaving their parking space.