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Ten Hard Facts about first offense DUIs

A first DUI offense is complicated. There are no generalities about what your process or sentence will be - even if you know someone who has received a DUI, that doesn't mean your experience will be the same. That's because laws and penalties for DUIs vary from state to state, and circumstances like the severity of the offense can and will impact how your DUI is handled. Below are ten truths about DUIs. For information on what to do about your DUI, visit the Next Steps section.

In 2013, there were 10,076 crash fatalities that involved a driver with a blood alcohol content (BAC) of .08 or higher. This accounted for nearly 1/3 of all crash fatalities in the United States.

Of the 1,149 traffic deaths among children ages 0 to 14 years in 2013, 200 (17%) involved an alcohol-impaired driver. Of the 200 child passengers ages 14 and younger who died in alcohol-impaired driving crashes in 2013, over half (121) were riding in the vehicle with the alcohol-impaired driver.

DUIs apply to more than just alcohol.

Any substance that alters your brain and nervous system or impairs your judgment can get you arrested for DUI. This includes illegal substances like marijuana, as well as prescription medication.

Only time will sober you up.

Quick fixes like sucking on a penny, swishing mouthwash, a cold shower or a cup of coffee will do nothing to impact your BAC. The only way to get sober after drinking is to allow your body to process the alcohol you’ve consumed, generally at an average of one drink per hour.

Even one drink can impare your driving.

A BAC level as low as .02 can impact your driving and increase the likelihood of an accident. Beginning at .05 BAC level, your chances of an auto accident increase significantly.

Every two minutes, one person is injured in an alcohol-related crash.

A recent annual report shows that approximately 254,000 people suffered injuries from alcohol-related collisions.

An estimated 20-25% of U.S. drivers admit to driving after drinking within the past year.

Of those people, 5% believe they were legally impaired at the time. When you break that down by the 208 million registered drivers, there are 2.6 million drunk drivers on the road every year.

All 50 states have some sort of ignition interlock law.

Twenty one states: Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Illinois, Kansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Nebraska, New Hampshire, New Mexico, New York, Oregon, Tennessee, Utah, Virginia, Washington, and West Virginia have mandatory ignition interlock provisions for all offenses.

Nearly three-fourths of drivers convicted of DUIs are either frequent heavy drinkers or alcoholics.

If you have a DUI, it’s time to take a hard look at your alcohol consumption and ask yourself if you have a problem. If the answer is yes, this is the perfect opportunity to get help. Learn more about Alcoholics Anonymous and see if it’s right for you.

The average BAC level of a person convicted of DUI is .16.

The legal blood alcohol content limit is currently .08 in all 50 states, as well as the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico. Drivers with a BAC of at least .15 account for more than half of all the alcohol-related traffic deaths.

Over 1.5 million people are arrested each year for driving under the influence.

An arrest for DUI is a terrible mistake, but if it is only a one-time incident it can serve as a useful wake-up call. Vow never to drive again after even one drink, and use your experience to educate friends and family on the repercussions of drunk driving. Read stories of other DUI offenders and learn about their experience.