What is DUI/DWI?

“DUI / DWI / Drunk Driving / Impaired Driving” is the act of driving a vehicle after consumption of alcoholic drinks or drugs leading to reduced level of driving skill and alertness. It is illegal to drive while the Blood Alcohol Content level is over 0.08%. It is usually called – ‘driving under the influence’ (DUI), ‘driving while intoxicated’ (DWI), ‘operating while impaired’ (OWI) or ‘operating a vehicle under the influence’ (OVI).

It includes all vehicles from horse drawn carriages to trucks and farm machinery. It is a criminal offense, and is not only limited to driving a vehicle but also physical control is punishable. It is difficult to judge whether there was intake of prescribed or illegal drugs. Nowadays the breathalyzers have been developed to know the level of controlled substance in the body.



New sections are regularly being added in laws to extend the reach of prosecutor and control the DUI cases. In some states, it is also extended to Flying under influence (FUI) and Boating under influence (BUI). The DUI costs include – paying the DUI ticket, court costs, attorney fees, ignition interlock device (IID) installation charges and maintenance fees etc. to name a few.

How will an officer know if its DUI/DWI?

The following are the signals and their chances of raising a suspicion-

Turning with wide radius Over 50%
Straddling center or lane marker 65%
Appearing to be drunk 60%
Almost striking object or vehicle 60%
Weaving 60%
Driving on other than designated roadway 55%
Swerving 55%
Slow speed (more than 10 mph below limit) 50%
Stopping (without cause) in traffic lane 50%
Drifting 50%
Following too closely 45%
Tires on center or land marker 45%
Braking erratically 45%
Driving into opposing or crossing traffic 45%
Signaling inconsistent with driving actions 40%
Stopping inappropriately (other than in lane) 35%
Turning abruptly or illegally 35%
Accelerating or decelerating rapidly 30%
Headlights off 30%


DUI Investigation

The following protocol is followed in a DUI/DWI Investigation-

  • Phase I – Vehicle In Motion – This is where the officers observe the suspect’s and their driving.
  • Phase II – Personal Contact – This is where the officer interacts personally with the suspect.
  • Phase III – Pre-Arrest Screening – This is where the officer takes tests like Field Sobriety Test, Walk-and-Turn Test, One-Leg-Stand Test etc. on the spot.

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