DUI terms and definitions for dummies

Recently on our legal forum a user asked, “I was recently arrested for driving under the influence of alcohol. Court officials and lawyers were tossing out a handful of acronyms. I hate to admit it, but I had no idea what they were talking about. Can you provide information on the most common DUI terms?”

Beer and Handcuffs - Drunk Driving

Most common DUI terms defined

Given the thousands of laws and regulations and the complexity of the legal system, it’s common for U.S. citizens to break laws and criminal statutes without intent or what some legal experts term a “culpable mental state.”

While some state lawmaker have pushed to protect citizens from being prosecuted for unknowingly violating state laws and regulations, others argue it makes more sense to eliminate the state’s problematic laws.

Regardless of what states ultimately decide, generally speaking, ignorance of the law is no excuse for not following the law. With that in mind, it’s a good idea to review the laws and regulations for DUI in your state and familiarize yourself with common DUI terms and acronyms. Let’s take a look at a few you should know and understand.

  • DUI – driving under the influence

One of the most common terms drivers should understand is DUI or driving under the influence. Also known as driving while intoxicated (DWI) or driving while impaired (DWI), this terms generally means that a driver is impaired with alcohol or drugs to such a degree that they are not safely able to operate a motorized vehicle. Drivers can also be per se intoxicated, which means the state does not have to prove impairment, if their blood alcohol concentration is 0.08% or higher.

  • Administrative License Suspension (ALS)

An administrative license suspension (ALS) is separate from a criminal license suspension. In fact, a driver’s license can be administratively suspended if a driver is stopped and arrested for DUI and they either refuse to submit to a chemical test or they submit to a test and their BAC is at or above the legal limit of 0.08%.

  • BAC- blood alcohol concentration

Blood alcohol concentration or BAC refers to the amount of alcohol in an individual’s bloodstream or breath. Specifically, the weight of ethanol in grams in in 100 milliliters of blood, or 210 liters of breath. State laws determine whether the state uses breath, blood or urine tests to collect a driver’s BAC after a DUI arrest.

Although BAC is used to determine whether a driver is illegally intoxicated, it is not always a good indication of how impaired a driver is and whether they can safely operate a motorized vehicle. Other factors which can affect impairment also include body weight, gender, alcohol tolerance, and how much a driver has eaten.

  • Ignition Interlock Device

Ignition interlock devices are screening tools which do not allow a driver to start a vehicle if they have a pre-set limit of alcohol in their breath. Increasingly, states have required the installation of an Ignition interlock devices after a DUI conviction, even for first-time DUI offenders.

Bottom Line:

With all the available information about DUI laws, regulations, and terms, it’s easy to find all the information you need about DUI.

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Beth

Beth L. is a content developer for LeadRival, a cutting edge company that helps connect DUI lawyers with DUI clients. Beth L. writes about a variety of DUI topics to help drivers who have been arrested for DUI, getting them the legal help they need.