The Impacts On Your Life Of A DUI

 January 14, 2024

By  Kyrie Mattos

When you get a Driving Under The Influence, otherwise known as a DUI, there are a variety of serious legal consequences that occur.

First, understand that a DUI is defined as driving while intoxicated, meaning that you are operating (or, in some states, behind the wheel of a car regardless of driving) with a level of intoxication as dictated by legal statutes.

Depending on the jurisdiction and state of the DUI, several penalties and consequences will need to be dealt with, including severe financial costs and penalties for a DUI.

So, in discussing what typically happens when you get a DUI, the first thing to know is the specific DUI laws in each state.

While different states have varying degrees of the penalties associated, one universal thing is the legal definition of what constitutes the level of intoxication for a DUI.

Throughout the United States, the level of intoxication is defined by a BAC or Blood Alcohol Content that is at or greater than 0.08%, which typically occurs from drinking more than a 12-oz beer for a 160 lb man or a 5-oz glass of wine within an hour.

When a DUI occurs, several steps are taken.

Investigation And Field Sobriety Test

First, whether due to a traffic stop or an accident, an investigation includes determining if the traffic stop or accident initiated the law enforcement officer to investigate any underlying cause or crime.

If there is suspicion of intoxication, the officer will then start a field sobriety test to assess the level of intoxication. Signs such as slurred speech, smell of alcohol on the breath, or observational impaired motor skills are typically tell-tale signs of what law enforcement officers look for.

Once it’s determined that a person may be intoxicated, the officers will conduct a field sobriety test.

Often, a field sobriety test will include a breathalyzer to determine BAC. Another option is to have a person walk a straight line, stand on one leg, or have their eyes follow an object like a light pen.

When it’s determined that an individual’s BAC is higher than the legal limit, an officer will then arrest the individual.


During a traffic stop, the officer observes a motorist to be impaired. They will then arrest the person and transport them to a booking station to be booked and processed, where pictures and fingerprints are taken. Depending on the local laws, the individual may be held until sober or bail is posted.

Often, the car will be impounded if no sober individual is available to drive it away.

Court Proceedings

Once a person has been arrested and booked, a local DA will decide if charges are to be pressed with a DUI case. Typically, the severity and punishment of a DUI case will depend upon the state and local ordinances and are based on the evidence, such as BAC.

In California, all court proceedings will be reported to the DMV to determine the severity of the outcome, such as if a license is to be suspended or revoked.

Penalties And Fines

In some states, individuals may face fines, court costs, and other financial penalties.

The severity of these fines varies and depends on the driver’s history.

As mentioned, some states, like California, may require mandatory suspension of the driver’s license, and others may allow for a probationary period, but again, it depends on the state and local ordinances.

In some cases for repeat offenders, in Texas, for example, an individual who is found to have a more severe level of DUI may be required to install a breathalyzer-type device in their car to operate it. The Texas IID program is typically applied to repeat offenders seen as a potential public threat and nuisance.

An IID is an ignition interlocking device that will not allow the car to start if the driver has any alcohol on their breath.

Criminal Record

A DUI conviction may result in a criminal record, which may have far-reaching consequences that may impact employment opportunities, housing options, insurance cost increases, and other impacts on the aspect of the individual’s life.

It only takes one time to be stopped and potentially convicted of a DUI. The impacts and consequences may carry long-term ramifications, including fines, fees, a potential criminal record, and the effect on your overall quality of life.

Kyrie Mattos


{"email":"Email address invalid","url":"Website address invalid","required":"Required field missing"}