Chris Bugbee with a client and judge, working to reduce the severity of the case from Felony to Misdemeanor.

Is a DUI a Criminal Offense? (Plus 5 Apps to Help You Avoid a DUI)

Summer is right around the corner. It’s a time to have fun, spend time with your friends, and more, all without worrying about homework. However, with the fun of summer also comes a big risk: the risk of driving under the influence (DUI). You might be wondering, “Is a DUI a criminal offense?”   In Washington State, it is–whether you have alcohol, drugs, or both in your system.   The hard part might be knowing when you’re safe to drive, and the good news is that there are some apps to help you know just when to avoid getting behind the wheel.

Apps to Help You Avoid a DUI

A DUI is a criminal offense. If you want to avoid a DUI on a night out with your friends, check out these apps:


This innovative app is designed to simulate a breathalyzer, helping you estimate your blood alcohol content (BAC) so that you never drive while under the influence of alcohol. You can use the app to keep tabs on what you’ve had to drink on any given night. You can even customize the drinks so that they’re easy to select the next time you go out with your friends and want to make sure you’re within the legal limit to drive. First, you’ll create a profile, which will feature your age, height, weight, and gender. That will save you time so that you’re not left putting those details in again and again every time you want to have a night out on the town.   The neat thing about DrinkTracker is that it lets you see how the number of drinks you’ve had meshes with your metabolic removal rate. It also automatically refreshes the BAC by the minute. (In the new version, not only can you keep tabs on your own BAC but your friends’ BACs as well.)

Have A Plan

To stay safe when you’re out, the Have A Plan app is a must. This app explains the impact of drinking and driving while offering suitable alternatives that keep you and others on the road safe. First, it works with your GPS to help you find a taxi in your area. It also gives you the option to type in contact information for people you trust so that you can easily call them if you aren’t in a position to drive. Another thing it does is test your ability to react while behind the wheel and to remember things, which can both be affected if you’re under the influence of drugs or alcohol.   While these interactive games aren’t proven, they can help you understand how alcohol or drugs are affecting you and show you why it is not safe to drive.


This app uses your eye movement as evidence of how much you’ve had to drink. How does it work? All you have to do is direct your phone camera toward your eyes and allow the app to scan over your “Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus” to provide a BAC level. BreathalEyes is thought to be relatively close to your actual BAC level, which should enforce the fact that you’re not safe to drive after having a few drinks. The app is helpful for going out because you reportedly don’t have to have a Wi-Fi connection to use it. That means that even if you’re out camping with your friends, and someone is talking about doing a beer run, you’ll have a good idea of whether that person is okay to drive (or not).


While Uber and Lyft don’t estimate your blood alcohol content like some of the other apps, they can connect you with a driver. In other words, you won’t have an excuse for driving because these two apps alone can connect you with countless drivers in your area who can take on the task so that you don’t have to. Uber gives you the option to request a ride as much as a month ahead of time. Lyft lets you schedule a ride with seven-days notice.   Therefore, you can enjoy your night out knowing that you’ll always have an option to get home safely, regardless of whether or not you’ve had too much to drink.


Like DrinkTracker, BACtrack helps your phone to function as a breathalyzer. It works with your phone through Bluetooth and estimates your BAC so that you know if you’re past your legal limit. Not only that, but BACtrack also provides information on alcohol’s negative impact so that you feel more educated about what it does to you and why it’s not safe to drive while under the influence. You can estimate your own BAC or that of your friends and family with the app. You can also play a few games on the app to see how responsive and aware you are at the moment. This can help highlight why it’s not responsible to drink and drive. This award-winning app even lets you keep logs of what you’ve had to drink, share your logs with friends, and monitor your BAC levels using a graph so that you can see what you’ve had over a given timeframe. Using apps like BACtrack is instrumental to DUI prevention.

When to Contact a DUI Attorney

It’s ok to have a good time without being stressed out about alcohol levels. Instead, drink responsibly, and never get behind the wheel while under the influence of alcohol or drugs. However, if you are pulled over for drinking and driving at any point, it’s vital to contact a DUI attorney right away. As we mentioned above, a DUI is a criminal offense and can result in serious penalties in Washington State, even if it’s your first DUI. Working with an attorney can help you get your case off to a great start. We can work with you on building a defense to minimize your charges, which can help lead to both a lesser sentence and lesser driving penalties.   When you need a qualified DUI attorney who has done this many times over, Bugbee Law Office is here for you. Schedule a consultation with Chris Bugbee today.

Bugbee Law Office, P.S.  (509) 337-5082

1312 N Monroe St, Ste 147

Spokane, WA 99201 |  View Map

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