A DUI Through the Eyes of the Law


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Getting caught drinking and driving and not knowing what the next steps are can be scary. But from the moment you get pulled over, the standard sobriety tests, and the DUI charges and penalties you could face is a lot to understand. Getting a DUI attorney to help you understand the implications and knowing the state DUI laws could be handy.

Check out this interactive infographic on a DUI through the eyes of the law.

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A DUI Through the Eyes of the Law

Perhaps you got caught drinking and driving and spent the night in the drunk tank. You’re not in for the best time of your life, but your next step may be to get a DUI defense attorney to represent you.

What can you expect to happen next? In this infographic you’ll find information on why people get pulled over, drunk driving tests, and common defenses.

Why Did I get Pulled Over?

  • The police officer had reason to believe your were violating a law.
  • Circumstances that can lead to this include:
    • There was an accident.
    • An officer found you passed out in a parking lot with the engine lights on and the handbrake released.
    • Drove down a one-way street.
    • You were swerving.

What’s Considered a DUI?

  • While this will depend on the specific circumstances of your situation, DUIs are generally based upon 2 main factors:
    • You were behind the wheel/operating a vehicle.
    • You were at or higher than .08% blood alcohol level.This may be determined by the tests described below.
  • If you have injured people or property while driving under the influence, this can lead to increased penalties.
  • For underage drivers, there may be a zero tolerance policy if you have consumed alcohol.
  • Special rules may also apply if you were driving with a commercial license.

What are Standard Sobriety Tests?

  • If you’re issued a driver’s license, you may automatically consent to blood, urine, and breath tests when deemed necessary depending on state laws.
    • The Breathalyzer
      • This device measures the amount of alcohol on your breath.
      • 2,100 ml of lung air equates to 1 ml of blood.
      • Different brands: Alcotest, Alcolizer, Datamaster, Intoximeter
  • Field Sobriety Test
    • The official test is a series of three physical and observational based inquiries into an individual’s sobriety.
      • Walk and Turn test:
        • Take 9 steps from heel to toe and return in a similar fashion.
        • Indicators of a Dui:
          • Can’t keep balance.
          • Begins before instructions are finished.
          • Stops to regain balance.
          • Doesn’t touch heel to toe.
          • Turns incorrectly.
          • Stumbles off the line.
          • Performs the wrong number of steps.
          • Uses arms to regain balance.
      • Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus test
        • A jerking motion that occurs when the eyes gaze to the side.
        • Indicators of a DUI:
          • Can’t track moving object.
          • Obvious jerking of eyes.
          • Nystagmus at 45 degree angle from center.
      • One-Leg Stand test
        • Must maintain balance while standing on one leg.
        • Indicators of a DUI:
          • Hopping to sustain balance.
          • Swaying while balancing.
          • Putting the other foot down.

What Defenses Might I Have? What Charges Could I Face?


  • Your defenses may vary based upon many factors, such as:
    • Credibility of the field sobriety test.
    • In what way you were stopped and why it happened.
    • The signs of intoxication you showed.
    • Was your Breathalyzer working sufficiently?
    • Was the equipment properly used?
    • Was the officer certified to use a Brethalyzer?
  • If you have multiple DUI charges, you could be facing:
    • Longer incarceration
    • Drawn-out substance abuse rehabilitation
    • Large fines

There are a lot of factors that go into the defense of a DUI case and in order to properly represent you, your attorney will need a lot of information. The details of your case can be very important, as can having a lawyer who understands the system and applicable laws and who can help you understand your case and potential defenses.

For more information about drunk driving cases and to find a DUI attorney, check out Total DUI.

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