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What is a DUI Arrest?

Deanna Baranyi
Updated May 17, 2024
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A driving under the influence, or DUI arrest occurs when a person operates a motor vehicle while under the influence of alcohol or drugs. In most countries, legal limits have been set as to how much alcohol can be in a person’s system while driving. In many states in the United States and in several other countries, such as England, Ireland and Italy, the blood alcohol content is .08; however, some European countries, such as France, Denmark, and Greece set the blood alcohol content at .05. Other countries, such as Japan and the Czech Republic, have no tolerance for drinking and driving, setting the legal limit at zero. In sum, if a person is caught driving a vehicle with her blood alcohol content above the legal limit, she may be subject to a DUI arrest.

Once a person is pulled over by a police officer, even if she is pulled over for a different offense, she may be suspected of driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs. Many times the officer may be alerted if the driver’s breath smells like alcohol, if she slurs her words, or if the vehicle was swerving. The officer may ask the driver if she has been drinking or using drugs and many times the driver will admit that she had been drinking or using – a little.

Prior to arresting the driver for a DUI, the officer may have her perform a series of roadside tests, such as walking in a straight line, touching her nose, or saying the alphabet. He may also have the driver breathe into a breathalyzer machine. The breathalyzer machine can determine the blood alcohol content of the person and inform the officer if the person is over the legal limit.

If the driver fails the roadside tests and has a blood alcohol content that is over the legal limit, she will be subject to a DUI arrest. The driver will immediately be handcuffed and placed in the back of the police car. Next, the driver will be taken to jail, photographed, fingerprinted, and placed in a holding cell. At that time, she may also be required to breathe into a different breathalyzer machine or a blood sample may be taken to see if drugs played a role in the DUI arrest.

As long as no one was injured pursuant to the DUI arrest and it was the person’s first DUI arrest, he or she will probably be given a court date and released. Many people immediately hire an attorney who specializes in DUIs. The attorney will take the facts from the driver, request the DUI arrests report from the police department, and begin working on the case. The driver can either plead guilty to driving under the influence or plead innocent and the case can be taken to trial.

Unless the driver is proven to be innocent of driving under the influence, she will likely lose her driver’s license for a set amount of time – anywhere from three months to several years, depending on the laws of the area. In addition, many areas require a guilty driver to take alcohol or drug awareness classes and perform community service projects. Once a guilty driver is finished with the requirements, she will be on probation for six months to two years. Since a DUI arrest remains on the driving record of the guilty driver for years, a DUI arrest can be a life-changing experience.

WiseGeek is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Deanna Baranyi
By Deanna Baranyi
Deanna Baranyi, a freelance writer and editor with a passion for the written word, brings a diverse skill set to her work. With degrees in relevant fields and a keen ability to understand and connect with target audiences, she crafts compelling copy, articles, and content that inform and engage readers.
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Deanna Baranyi
Deanna Baranyi
Deanna Baranyi, a freelance writer and editor with a passion for the written word, brings a diverse skill set to her...
Learn more
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