DUI/DWI/OWI

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Updated: 4/13/2007 3:35 pm
DUI (D-U-I), or 'driving under the influence' is the crime of operating a motor vehicle while under the influence of alcohol or drugs, including prescription drugs. The driver doesn't need to be drunk or intoxicated to be convicted of DUI; it's sufficient evidence if the driver is unable to maneuver the vehicle safely. In most states, the level of alcohol intoxication required for a DUI conviction is regulated as being a blood alcohol level of either .08 (point oh eight) or .10 (point one oh), depending on the state. In some jurisdictions, this crime is called DWI (D-W-I), or 'driving while intoxicated,' and in others it's called OWI (O-W-I), or 'operating while intoxicated.' In most states, the penalties are severe and can include revocation of your driver's license, fines, or a jail or community-service sentence. Most states apply a zero-tolerance policy, which in practice means a low permissible blood alcohol level in cases where people under 21 are found driving while intoxicated. In Iowa, for example, the permitted blood alcohol level for people under 21 is .02 (point oh two). Repeat offenders of all ages are punished more severely. In some states, a second DUI conviction can result in your losing your driver's license and in your vehicle being impounded, and a third DUI conviction can result in the vehicle being forfeited to the State.
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