DUI arrest rates rank highest among major crimes

Data finds fewer Americans are driving drunk than ever before, yet DUI arrests continue to top arrest rates for major crimes.

The Bureau of Transportation reports that DUI, or driving under the influence, offenses have the highest arrest rates among major crimes. According to the most recent, available data, this translates to over 1.4 million arrests for DUI in 2010 alone.

Interestingly, a separate report recently released by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, or NHTSA, finds that the use of alcohol while driving is on the decline. As a result, it appears that although the number of people drinking and driving is decreasing, the rate of arrest continues to rise.

More on the NHTSA report

The NHTSA gathered data through a survey taken by over 9,000 anonymous drivers operating their vehicles during weekend, nighttime hours. The study was conducted in both 2013 and 2014 at over 300 various locations throughout the country. During this time period, approximately 1.5 percent of drivers had a blood alcohol concentration at or above the legal limit of 0.08. An additional 8.3 percent of drivers were found to have a "measurable amount of alcohol in their systems."

These findings mark an 80 percent decrease in the proportion of drivers operating with a blood alcohol content at or above the legal limit and a 77 percent decrease in those with "measurable" amounts of alcohol compared to the first year this survey was taken in 1973.

Although the number of drivers operating with alcohol in their systems may have decreased in the sampled areas, one thing remains clear: DUI arrests continue to remain at the top of the list of arrests for major crimes.

Tips for those facing DUI charges

Anyone who is charged with a DUI should take the charges seriously. These charges can result in loss of license by DMV for blood alcohol levels regardless if there is a conviction. If they become a conviction, large fines, ignition interlock device, programs, license suspension and potential custody or alternatives to custody can be imposed along with up to 5 years of informal probation. A conviction also results in the presence of a criminal record, something that often must be disclosed on applications for employment, housing and scholarships.

There are possible defenses to the charges as well as mitigating factors concerning the individual defendant which could be considered to reduce charges or penalties. There can be issues with the initial contact, detention, or testing which can result in problems with the case and result in lesser charges or a dismissal. As a result, it is wise to contact an experienced DUI lawyer. This legal professional will guide you through the process, advocating for your rights and working to better ensure a more favorable outcome.

Keywords: criminal defense