Learn More About DUI Records

To truly understand DUI records, you first have to know definitions for all the terms. What does it even mean when people refer to DUIs and DUI records?

Driving Under the Influence

DUI stands for “driving under the influence,” and it’s a criminal charge that refers to when someone drives drunk, high or otherwise under the influence. In some places, officers can issue a DUI if someone is so sleep-deprived that the individual is clearly a danger to other drivers on the road. Though the definition of “under the influence” can be vague--and can differ from state to state--the law often specifies a Blood Alcohol Content (BAC) for DUI.

Although the traditional concept of a DUI only invokes the concept of driving a car, a DUI conviction actually doesn’t refer exclusively to driving. Technically, an officer can arrest an individual for a DUI if that person is doing anything except walking. That includes scooters, bikes, tractors and even sometimes skateboards or roller skates. However, an officer is much more likely to issue a citation for public drunkenness if the person isn’t driving a motor vehicle.

DUI and DWI Differences

You might see both people and records use “DUI” and “DWI” interchangeably. “DWI” stands for “driving while intoxicated,” and it generally refers to the same concept. Though some people and states utilize the two terms interchangeably, there can be a distinct legal difference. It just depends on the state.

In some states, “DUI” and “DWI” refer to two different crimes. One may refer to a felony, while the other refers only to a misdemeanor. It may also refer to different levels of a misdemeanor. One may refer to a lower BAC than the other, or implies a person was actively harming drivers or pedestrians.

Arrest Versus Conviction

In any criminal record, it’s important to note the difference between an arrest and a conviction. Generally, someone arrested for a DUI receives a conviction. Because many states specify a BAC that determines drunkenness, many police officers carry a device called a breathalyzer that analyzes a person’s BAC in order to determine whether that person is guilty of a DUI.

However, it is possible for an officer to arrest someone incorrectly. A person may also take a plea deal that reduces the crime down to a misdemeanor from a felony, often in exchange for significant community service or other reparations. If the person keeps to these and other parole requirements, it can be a sign that it was truly a mistake.

How Does a DUI Affect Someone’s Record?

Once someone receives a DUI conviction, that conviction stays on the person’s record, sometimes permanently. But how might it affect someone in the long run?

Misdemeanor or Felony

It’s extremely important to determine whether the DUI conviction is a misdemeanor or a felony. In many states, the difference stems from the seriousness of the crime. For example, someone with a lower BAC may receive a misdemeanor charge, while someone with a very high BAC may receive a felony charge.

The question of whether an individual harmed someone else also comes into play here. If someone drives under the influence, then strikes and kills someone, that DUI conviction is almost always a felony. Even if the DUI isn’t a felony, the person will usually receive a conviction for manslaughter, reckless behavior or other serious crimes, which often result in a felony charge.

State-Specific Punishments

Different states have different DUI punishments. Some states may require mostly community service and that the person install a special lock on his or her car that will not disengage unless the person’s BAC is below a certain level. On the other hand, certain states have a mandatory minimum prison sentence for DUI convictions, fines and other very strict punishments.

The criminal records regarding the DUI will give you more insight into the reparations that the court mandated. That can show whether the court believed the individual was dangerous or not, the significance of the individual’s crime and even a bit of information about how the court in that area sees the seriousness of DUIs. You can also see whether the person in question adhered to all parole rules throughout the parole time.

Multiple Convictions

In some areas, the difference between a misdemeanor DUI and a felony DUI lies in the number of convictions. The first DUI may be a misdemeanor, but any additional DUI convictions usually result in a felony charge. It may also make a difference whether these DUIs happen in rapid succession or they’re spaced across a significant amount of time. However, because DUIs are so serious, many locations consider any additional DUI convictions a felony.

Because the seriousness heightens each time, multiple convictions may also result in stricter punishments. If an individual receives multiple DUI convictions, that person may have his or her license revoked for a period of time. After more driving infractions, the person may even have his or her license revoked permanently.

Why Should I Access DUI Records?

When you use PeopleFinders to access DUI records, you’re relying on the largest selection of records on the internet. But what can those DUI public records do for you specifically?

Ensure Your Safety

First off, the law generally classifies a DUI as a crime of reckless endangerment. That could be seriously bad news if you get in the car with someone who drives drunk. Driving under the influence is just as dangerous for the passengers in a vehicle as it is for the driver, and you don’t want to rely on a dangerous driver.

Some states can also hold you liable if you knowingly allow someone to drive drunk. Even though you’re only a passenger, the state may decide that you were part of the crime because you didn’t stop it. This can be especially devastating if something serious happens while the driver is under the influence. With DUI arrest records, you can avoid that before it happens.

Choose Friends Wisely

Although some people enjoy partying, a DUI isn’t part and parcel of partying. Even parties that involve alcohol can be safe. However, if someone parties and makes poor choices after partying, it might just be a good idea not to become close with that person. That’s especially useful when you’re just getting to know a group of people.

Especially if you’re just starting out in a new town, college or general group of people, you need to be able to choose your friends wisely, and DUI public records can help with that. On top of other protective pieces of the puzzle, like the background check at PeopleFinders, determining whether someone has a DUI can be instrumental.

Expand Upon an Individual’s Criminal History

Different crimes carry with them different amounts of seriousness and a different connotation when it comes to other individuals. If someone’s criminal records include a significant number of parking infractions, it doesn’t usually reflect on that person’s ability to stay safe and keep loved ones safe. However, even one DUI has a substantial impact on that concept.

When you perform a PeopleFinders criminal records search, you can check all that information. Whether DUIs, DWIs, or simple public drunkeness, the criminal records search will give you more insight into the people you know. You deserve to get the full picture, and with the powerful search tools and substantial database at PeopleFinders, you can get that picture when you look into someone new.

Frequently Asked Questions

How can I do a DUI records search on peoplefinders.com?

A person's available DUI records are included under the general umbrella of criminal records. The fastest way to locate them at PeopleFinders would be with a criminal records search.

Can I find DUI records for free on peoplefinders.com?

We have to charge for access to in-depth information like DUI records, given the time and resources that have gone into obtaining and presenting them.

How do I look up DUI records?

In addition to searching the records available here at PeopleFinders, you also have the option of directly contacting the county clerk's and court clerk's offices in the county where the DUI was recorded.

What is a DUI?

A DUI (driving under the influence) is when a person was operating a motor vehicle under the influence of drugs or alcohol. Depending on the state you're in, it can also be a DWI (driving while intoxicated). Specifics in regard to BAL (blood alcohol level) and other factors are also determined by state when convicting someone of a DUI.

What is a DUI record?

A DUI record is any official record related to a DUI offense, including arrests, police incident reports, and court records.

How long does a DUI appear on your record?

In many states, a DUI can be on your record for 5-10 years. However, there are other states in which the DUI is on your record for life.

Can I get a DUI removed from my record?

Not all states allow it. But in those that do, removing a DUI from your record involves petitioning the court for expungment.

What Is a DUI Record?