TV review by
Melissa Camacho, Common Sense Media
D.U.I. TV Poster Image
Sobering stuff, but cautionary message could be stronger.

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this TV show.

Positive Messages

The series takes a nonjudgmental look at the efforts of law enforcement to get people driving under the influence off the streets, as well as what the potential legal consequences can be if you are arrested for doing so.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Many of those arrested have a difficult time accepting responsibility for their decision to drive under the influence. The offenders come from all walks of life; some make a point of telling people that they are poor and/or disabled.


Some offenders mildly argue (and plead) with police when arrested. Police weapons are visible in their holders.


Words like "pissed" are occasionally audible; stronger vocab is "bleeped."


Car makes like Ford and Volvo are visible, but the logos are not prominently displayed.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Many of those arrested admit to consuming amounts of alcohol over legal blood-alcohol limit, others fail sobriety tests and/or are fall-down drunk. At least one offender is caught in possession of marijuana.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that this reality series looks at some of the legal consequences of being arrested and convicted for driving under the influence. It contains some strong vocab ("pissed," stronger words bleeped). Offenders are shown intoxicated and in possession of alcohol and/or marijuana, taking (and failing) sobriety tests, pleading with police, and being placed in jail cells.

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What's the story?

D.U.I. is a docuseries that shows viewers what happens when people are arrested for driving under the influence. Cameras follow drivers as they attempt to pass field sobriety tests, post bail, and face a judge for sentencing. During interviews they share their feelings about their arrest, and their concerns about what will happen to them if the are convicted. The families of some of the offenders sometimes offer their thoughts, too. After facing the judge, they discuss how they feel about their punishment, and their overall feelings about the experience.

Is it any good?

The overall series sends the message that driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs can lead to some serious consequences, like hefty fines, the suspension of one's driver's license, and jail time. It also shows how some people fail to understand the difference between "feeling" drunk and the legal definition of being intoxicated.

It's sobering stuff, but much of the focus is on the D.U.I. legal processing system rather than underscoring the real danger offenders put themselves and others by driving under the influence. Meanwhile, some folks appear more upset about the inconvenience and cost of getting caught, rather than taking responsibility for making the choices that got them arrested. Their demise might be voyeuristically entertaining, but the warning the overall show is sending just isn't strong enough.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about all the dangers of driving under the influence, and the consequences that can result from it. Why do you think this reality series focuses on the legal ramifications of being convicted of a D.U.I. rather than discussing the physical harm that can result from driving drunk or high?

  • Why do you think the people arrested agreed to appear on the show while they were being processed and sentenced? What do they have to gain or lose from appearing on television?

  • What can you do if you think someone you know is too intoxicated to drive? Kids: What if that person is an adult? How should you handle the situation? Should you worry if the person gets angry at you for expressing your concerns?

TV details

  • Premiere date: December 1, 2011
  • Network: TLC
  • Genre: Reality TV
  • TV rating: TV-14
  • Available on: Streaming
  • Last updated: November 11, 2020

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