Short for Driving Under Influence (DUI) or Driving While Impaired (DWI), these traffic offenses go by different names in the United States such as OWI, OUI, and even DWAI. All refer to when an individual is in control of a vehicle after/while using a psychoactive substance, i.e., alcohol and drugs. Peace officers and authorized officials of the state agency responsible for highway safety regularly conduct tests to access a driver’s sobriety.
Known as a Blood Alcohol Content (BAC) test, officers ask drivers suspected of intoxication to perform a sobriety test with a device that measures their level of BAC. If the BAC level is above the statutory level under the local traffic code, the officer shall issue a citation and bringing the driver into police custody if necessary. The BAC level in the United States is 0.08%, but several states have lower tolerations for DUI.
Then, a series of activities begin, i.e., creating the DUI record, booking the driver, and sharing the offense information with the DMV. The DMV will then award demerit points against the driver’s license and record the violation in his or her driving record. As driving records are public information, anyone can inspect them. Furthermore, depending on the circumstances surrounding the offense, the driver may face additional criminal/civil liabilities.
A DUI/DWI record will contain the following information:
- The driver’s personal information
- License number
- Vehicle information
- BAC level recorded
- Date and time of the offense
- Descriptive information on the location of the offense
- Information on the substance used
- Any aggravating circumstances such as speeding or reckless driving
- The personal information of the officer
While federal agencies like the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration work with state and local governments on issues like DUI, they do not maintain DUI records. To obtain a DUI record, you must visit the local office of the Division of Motor Vehicles or its equivalent in the county where the violation occurred. Most times, in-person visits to the DMV are by appointment only. The long waitlist means that this method is not convenient if you need a DUI record at short notice. The other – and more convenient alternative – is to request the driving record online. Depending on the jurisdiction, this record may go as far back as seven (7) years or longer. Alternatively, you may use third-party service providers to find DUI records. This option is useful if you seek records of DUIs that occurred in multiple jurisdictions. In any way, you must provide the name of the driver and other details such as plate number, license number, or date of offense. Meanwhile, where the driver incurred criminal liabilities, you will need to obtain arrest records and court records to supplement the information on the driving record. An instant background check can also help you find the information you seek.