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  • Writer's pictureJustin Sparks

How Common Are DUI Arrests in America?

Over the past few decades, there has been a steady drop in the number of fatalities in the US due to driving while intoxicated (DUI), but the statistics are still too high. Annually, over 10,000 Americans get killed due to drunk driving. The dangers on our roads have also increased due to the new regulations that came with the COVID-19 pandemic.

Although most people know that driving while intoxicated is extremely risky, research in 2021 found that 78 percent of Americans were very concerned about drunk driving, and 69 percent were very worried about the risk of intoxicated driving.

However, according to the most recent Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) data, drunk driving causes more arrests than murder, rape, severe assault, and burglary. Additionally, in 2021, 22.5 percent of drivers age 21 and older acknowledged doing it at least once, with 12 percent saying they did it frequently.

There's no denying that drunk driving is more prevalent than it ought to be, but it's also true that some regions of the nation appear to have worse problems with drunk driving arrests and traffic safety than others.

What Is A DUI Arrest?

What Is a DUI Arrest?

If anyone is still unsure of what a DUI arrest entails, it's crucial to first comprehend the technical language. Driving Under the Influence (DUI) is the criminal offense of operating a motor vehicle while under the influence of alcohol or drugs or while having a blood alcohol concentration ("BAC") or a drug concentration in your system that is equal to or higher than the legal limit. Nonetheless, drunk driving arrests go by many names, and drinking alcohol isn't the only thing that may get drivers locked up.

A criminal charge for operating a motor vehicle while under the influence of alcohol or drugs is commonly referred to as a DUI. The police can identify if a person is intoxicated by measuring their blood alcohol content (BAC) and doing different field sobriety tests or physical sobriety exams at the police station. Drinking alcohol while driving is frequently described as DUI, DWI, OWI, or impaired driving.

Drunk Drivers Statistics

  • In America, drunk drivers are responsible for 28% of road fatalities, or more than 10,000 deaths annually.

  • According to recent data, under COVID-19 restrictions, the proportion of crashes involving drivers whose blood alcohol content (BAC) was beyond the legal limit increased from 19 to 26 percent.

  • Driving under the influence accounts for 10% of all criminal arrests nationwide, higher than all violent offenses combined.

  • The Dakotas—South, North, and Wyoming—have the most DUI arrests nationwide. Compared to 2010, there were fewer DUI charges in every state, including South Carolina and Texas.

  • At least 40% of road fatalities in Rhode Island, North Dakota, and New Hampshire in 2019 were drunk drivers.

  • Some initial consequences of drunk driving are lost wages, two hours in prison, and a DWI charge.

  • Repeat offenders of drinking alcohol when driving is more likely to get arrested and get their license permanently removed.

Enforcement of Traffic Safety Tends to Reflect Statistical Risk

Police officers can capture someone driving while intoxicated at any time. Still, they will pay closer attention to traffic safety when they perceive a higher concentration of drunken drivers on the roadways. Examining annual data on fatal accidents involving drunk drivers reveals a distinct pattern of when accidents are most likely to happen.

Most drunk driving fatalities—29% of them each year—occur during the summer, making it the season that is generally the riskiest for DUIs. Due to the close association between drunk driving crash rates and the holidays, drunk driving laws are also enforced throughout the winter. Police agencies are likely to be on heightened alert for indicators of intoxicated driving around Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year's Day.

Officers are more likely to be on the roadways looking for intoxicated drivers and pulling them over during the summer months, significant holidays, and the weekends just before or after such holidays. Because police expect a rise in drunk driving, even local events, such as students moving into the campus in a college town, might result in increased enforcement activity.

Why Timing May Matter to the Defense

In order for a driver to defend themselves against a drunk driving accusation, they must raise a reasonable question about their behavior or the motivation behind their actions.

Officers will look for evidence to support their accusations of drunkenness rather than evaluating the situation objectively.

Knowing that the driver was pulled over for drunk driving during a season with more DUI arrests might affect how they fight those accusations.

What Is the Legal Limit for Drunk Driving?

The legal limit for alcohol consumption is .08 blood alcohol concentration, implying that if the driver's BAC is .08 or above, they are deemed legally intoxicated in the United States. They would be detained for driving under the influence if their blood alcohol content (BAC) was discovered to be greater than the legal limit.

Utah's legal BAC level was reduced to 0.05 at the tail end of 2018, making it the state with the harshest DUI laws in the nation. Although other states, such as South Carolina, are contemplating reducing their thresholds to .05, no state has yet enforced this legislation. The National Transportation Safety Administration has also advocated for lowering this cap to enhance traffic safety in the nation.

How Many Drinks Can Drivers Consume Before Reaching the Limit?

It is crucial to understand that blood alcohol concentration determines the legal limit for alcohol use. People's weight, body type, age, sex, metabolism, how much food they've eaten, the type of alcohol they're drinking, and the amount of alcohol they're consuming are all factors that impact their BAC. The maximum quantity of alcohol in the blood that drivers can consume and still be able to operate a vehicle lawfully is known as the legal BAC limit.

Additionally, combining prescription and over-the-counter (OTC) drugs with alcohol may worsen impairment without significantly raising blood alcohol concentration (BAC). Therefore, having fewer beverages may result in greater impairment, affecting vision, reaction time, and other crucial abilities for safe driving.

Get Help Handling a DUI Charge

In America, DUIs are very typical. Looking at the statistics related to these charges, it is noticeable that DUI arrests frequently result in convictions and the loss of driving privileges. By getting in touch with a DWI law firm in Tarrant County right away, most drivers can improve their chances of beating a charge of DUI.

In Texas, many DUI cases are resolved outside of court, so most lawyers can work out a deal with the prosecution to lower the charges considerably. Although, it may be harder to lower the chargers if someone commits another offense on top of a DUI and receives an aggravated DUI.

Calculating Someone's BAC

Calculating Someone's BAC

Although the only reliable way of determining someone's BAC is through a breathalyzer, the following methods could be useful as a last resource.


Most people could easily notice that they're less reserved and more outgoing than usual when they consume alcohol and go closer to the 0.08% BAC legal driving limit. They could endure significant mood fluctuations, impaired speech, and poor judgment if they keep drinking and go above 0.08% BAC. The clear message for them is to not get in the car and start driving. However, remembering that is more difficult when their judgment is clouded. That's why self-evaluation is usually a subpar way to determine someone's BAC.

BAC Calculators and Charts

Online BAC calculators and charts, which are free and widely accessible, promise to help drivers estimate their BAC levels depending on their gender, weight, and the number of drinks they've had. Nonetheless, these tools are overly simplified and can have several flaws. The strength of the beverages is heavily assumed in BAC calculators and charts, and they don't account for personal aspects like the driver's metabolism, health, medicines, and recent dietary intake. These tools aren't tailored enough to help estimate BAC.

One-Drink-Per-Hour Rule

The one-drink-per-hour restriction appears to be easy to follow at first. It's also free and convenient. Nevertheless, not all beverages are the same. Wine and beer contain different amounts of alcohol, and depending on who mixes the drink, their alcohol content might change dramatically. It is too simple to violate the one-drink-per-hour limit to help determine an accurate BAC.

Contact Us

Drunk driving is a terrible idea, no matter if you're in South Carolina, South Dakota, New Mexico, or Ft. Worth, Texas. This is because the national average arrest rate for DWI arrests and drunk driving deaths has been increasing alarmingly over the past years. Laws have become more stringent, especially for repeat offenders who will be charged with aggravated assault.

Texas police officers enforce severe penalties on all the people arrested for a DWI charge, especially on young adults who are more likely to be found drinking alcohol while driving. Therefore, getting a family member to pick the drunken person up is highly encouraged to ensure traffic safety.

If it is already too late and the person is facing DWI charges, the only thing left is to call Sparks Law Firm within the first two hours and let our expert team help.


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