OUI (Operating Under the Influence)

While most states refer to drunk driving charges as DUI (driving under the influence) or DWI (driving while intoxicated/impaired), some also refer to this criminal offense as OUI (operating under the influence). The basic definition and penalties are similar, though specific sentencing guidelines and laws will vary depending upon the state.

Understanding OUI Charges and Penalties

It is a criminal offense to operate a motor vehicle while under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs, as well as to operate a motor vehicle with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of .08% or higher. (Note: different BAC limits will apply to commercial drivers or drivers who are under 21). A driver may face OUI charges in any of the following scenarios, depending on the jurisdiction and therefore the applicable laws in play:

· Operating a motor vehicle while with an unlawful blood alcohol concentration. This is usually .08%, though this may be lower for a commercial driver. In some states, underage drivers are prohibited from operating a vehicle with any detectable amount of alcohol in their systems.

· Operating a motor vehicle while one's normal abilities are impaired by alcohol and/or drugs. Usually proven through a driver's poor performance on field sobriety tests, this type of OUI charge involves a driver who is unable to safely operate a vehicle because he or she has alcohol or drugs (even prescription or over-the-counter medication) in his or her system.

· Operating a motor vehicle while with any amount of an illegal drug in his or her system. For example, driving with any detectable amount of heroin, cocaine or ecstasy may result in OUI charges, even if the driver's abilities appear to be unaffected.

No matter the specific circumstances of the offense, OUI is a serious crime and can result in jail time and driver's license suspension, as well as a number of other penalties. The specific penalties that will be imposed may vary depending on the jurisdiction as well as certain "aggravating" factors, such as the presence of a child in the vehicle at the time of the offense, a particularly high blood alcohol concentration, prior OUI convictions and causing a car accident that injures another person.

Take advantage of this opportunity to learn more about OUI charges and your rights and options in the face of these. You can find and compare qualified attorneys in your area and can also review the information on this website to get a better understanding of these cases.

Find an OUI lawyerin your area.