A DUI is a charge for driving under the influence – the “influence” in most cases is alcohol but in some cases can also be for other narcotics and illegal drugs.
A DUI is determined by having the suspect blow into a machine that tests the blood alcohol level – this breath test gives off a number percentage of alcohol in the person. A blood alcohol level of .08 or higher is considered to be “under the influence” of alcohol and thereby unsafe to drive a motor vehicle.
Charging someone for a DUI is trickier if the influence is not alcohol, but rather is drug related. There are a series of roadside tests that can determine if a person is fit to drive or is under the influence of another drug. Some of these tests include walking the line – having to walk a straight line one foot in front of the other, repeating the alphabet backwards, and answering a series of questions. If a police office or peace officer determines that you are under the influence, or suspects that you are unfit to drive even without a definitive test such as the blood alcohol level, they can charge you with a DUI.
Is a dui a felony?
In most cases, no, however the answer to this depends greatly on the state in which you live. The general answer to this question is that a DUI turns into a felony on the third charge of driving under the influence and every charge thereafter.
However, a DUI can be changed to a felony if someone was injured or killed, or if there is damage to property.
A judge can change the terms of a driving under the influence charge if they feel the charge of felony fits the circumstances. Some judges are harder on DUI charges than others are, but circumstances often prevail and during the first or second DUI charge, if no one was hurt or killed, and no damage was done, the chances of the DUI being a felony conviction are slim. As with any crime, each subsequent charge carries stiffer penalties than the first – so caution for anyone who has chosen to drive under the influence of alcohol or drugs that a secondary conviction for the same crime will carry a steeper penalty and could potentially be turned in to a felony conviction. Most DUI charges are misdemeanors when the driver under the influence is not involved in a traffic collision (or he/she was not at fault in the collision) and no one (other the influenced driver) is hurt.
A felony conviction for driving under the influence can mean suspension in driving privileges indefinitely, jail time of up to 25 years in some states and fines as high as $25,000.