Yes.  Drunk driving is not a mere traffic citation; it is a criminal offense.  A drunk driving conviction will go on your criminal record.

What Will I Be Charged With?

When you are pulled over for drunk driving, there are a number of different crimes you can be charged with.  Most states will charge you with a DUI (driving under the influence).  However, under some circumstances, your charge may be reduced to a lesser crime.  Each state has a different set of possible charges:

California

  • Driving Under the Influence (DUI): Driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs, or Driving with a blood alcohol level of 0.08% or more
  • Reduced Charge of Reckless Driving: Driving vehicle in willful or wanton disregard for the safety of persons or property
  • Reduced Charge of Wet Reckless Driving: Reckless driving involving alcohol

Florida

  • Driving Under the Influence (DUI): Driving under the influence of alcoholic beverages or other chemical or controlled substance, when affected to the extent that the person's normal faculties are impaired, or driving with a blood alcohol level of 0.08% or more
  • Driving with an Unlawful Blood Alcohol Level (DUBAL): Driving with a blood alcohol level of 0.08% or more

Illinois

  • Driving Under the Influence (DUI): Driving with blood alcohol level of 0.08% or more

New York

  • Driving While Intoxicated (DWI): Driving under the impairment of alcohol or other substance, or driving with blood alcohol level of .08% or more
  • Driving With Ability Impaired (DWAI): Driving with blood alcohol level greater than 0.06% but less than 0.10%

Texas

  • Driving While Intoxicated (DWI): Driving while mental or physical faculties are impaired by alcohol or drugs, or having a blood alcohol level of 0.08% or more

Other states charge drunk drivers with the offense of Operating Under the Influence (OUI) or Operating While Intoxicated (OWI). Many states also have a criminal law covering deaths caused by DUI. You may also face other charges such as hit-and-run, depending on the circumstances.

Seeking Legal Help

If you are arrested for drunk driving, you should speak to a criminal defense lawyer immediately to learn more about your rights, your defenses and the complicated legal system.

If you are a victim of a drunk driving accident, you should speak to a personal injury lawyer immediately to learn how to get compensation for your injuries.