If you’re operating a vehicle, you need to understand how to do so safely and legally. Part of that means understanding DUIs, as well as the ways you can protect yourself from any legal action, or if you’re pulled over.
What does driving under the influence mean? We’ll cover the answer to that in-depth, as well as discuss DUI definitions by state, and whether you need a DUI lawyer on your side.
Read on to learn everything you need to know about driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
What Does Driving Under the Influence Mean?
The definition of DUI (driving under the influence) varies by state. You might also hear the term DWI (driving while intoxicated) or even OWI (operating while impaired).
Regardless of the state you live in, all laws have some commonalities. You need to be operating or controlling a vehicle and under the influence of either alcohol or drugs.
If you’re pulled over, each state has different rules regarding the required proof, the types of drugs prohibited, and so on. It’s a good idea to familiarize yourself with your state’s rules.
What Does Impaired Driving Mean?
Impaired driving means that you could be driving under the influence of alcohol, illegal drugs, and even some prescription drugs.
Your Blood Alcohol Concentration (BAC) levels impact the cost of a DUI, as well as the potential outcome.
A low BAC is lower than 0.08%. A BAC exactly at or over 0.08% constitutes intoxication by law.
Drugs, whether an illicit substance, medical marijuana, or a prescription, can also affect your body in ways that could lead to a DUI offense.
Obviously, you shouldn’t get behind the wheel after you’ve been drinking or taking certain substances, but some people aren’t aware that their prescribed medications can also be dangerous.
Drugs that impact your ability to operate a vehicle include any that cause:
- Blurry vision
- Slow movements
- Inability to focus
- Inability to pay attention
Check your prescription bottle. It may say, “Use care when operating a vehicle.” The FDA has a list of medicines that could impact your ability to operate a vehicle.
If in doubt, speak with your doctor or pharmacist.
Securing Legal Help
Many states consider a first-time DUI offense a misdemeanor. However, it’s important to know what to do if you’re pulled over, and to understand your rights.
It’s key that you know what to do when you’re stopped for DUI. Contact a DUI attorney if you’re charged with a DUI offense. An experienced attorney can walk you through the steps you need to take and advise you on how to protect yourself and your rights.
Stay Informed and Safe While on the Road
What does driving under the influence mean? It varies by state, but in general terms, it’s when you’re operating or controlling a vehicle and under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
Research what that means in your state, and make sure you know what to do if you’re pulled over. Seek legal help if you need it.
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