You know people who routinely drive home after having too much to drink. You also know about DUI/DWI accident statistics. It’s clear that people often get behind the wheel when they are impaired by drugs or alcohol. In some cases, they don’t even know that they’re impaired, or they honestly believe that they are safe to drive.

What you wonder is just how many people do this. How common is it? What are the odds that you could eventually find yourself facing charges?

The only thing that the authorities can say for certain is how many people they arrest for suspicion of driving while intoxicated. For instance, according to one study based on information from the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), one person gets arrested on drunk driving charges for every 215 legal drivers in the country. The study compared the number of arrests in 2016 — a total of 1,017,808 — to the number of licensed drivers that year.

This data has some limitations. Namely:

  • People who drive under the influence and do not get caught are not included in the data.
  • The information only looks at the arrest totals, and we know that some people who are arrested are eventually cleared of the charges, so all 1,017,808 people did not end up with convictions. We have no way of knowing how many were really intoxicated?

Nonetheless, it’s clear that law enforcement officers make a lot of DUI/DWI arrests every day. If you are arrested, you need to know about all of your legal options. It’s wise to talk with an experienced attorney.