DUI Glossary – Clayton County DUI Accident Attorney

Administrative License Revocation (also called Administrative License Suspension) - Confiscation of driver's license immediately upon arrest; the person arrested for driving under the influence need not be convicted in a criminal proceeding to lose their license. Forty-one states and the District of Columbia allow for some form of Administrative License Revocation (either automatic or discretionary on the part of the arresting officer).

Alcohol Equivalence - a typical can or bottle of beer (12 ounces), a typical glass of wine (5 ounces), or a typical shot of distilled spirits in a shot or mixed drink (1 ounce) each contain roughly the same amount of alcohol. A person just drinking beer or wine can as readily get a DUI as someone drinking hard liquor.

Alcohol-Related Auto Accidents - Statistical data propagated by the National Highway Traffic and Safety Administration (NHTSA) in conjunction with MADD in an effort to portray the negative consequences of alcohol consumption in the worst possible light. As a statistical category, Alcohol-Related Auto Accidents include all accidents where alcohol had been consumed or was believed to have been consumed by either the driver, a passenger, or a third party (e.g. a pedestrian or cyclist) involved in an accident.

BAC - An acronym for blood alcohol concentration.

Blood Alcohol Concentration - The percentage amount of alcohol in a person's bloodstream. In the United States, every state now has a limit of 0.08 grams of alcohol per 100 ml (or 0.08 percent). Many states have lower limits for persons under 21, persons operating a commercial vehicle, and other conditions. Most other countries have much lower limits. Sometimes referred to as Blood Alcohol Level (BAL).

Breathalyzer - A brand name of a portable device that measures blood alcohol concentration by testing a person's breath exhalation. A breathalyzer is often used to refer to the entire category of such devices.

Burn-off - Dissipation of alcohol from a person's body. Burn-off rate varies greatly depending on age, body weight, medical condition, genetics, and other factors.

Chemical tests - Measures of alcohol concentration in a person's breath, urine, or blood. Since urine and breath tests need to make inferences to assess blood alcohol concentration they are generally not as accurate as direct blood tests.

DUI - Driving under the influence. Generally refers to alcohol intoxication, but DUI can also apply to the influence of drugs (legal or illegal). Some states also specifically prohibit driving under the influence of toxic vapors (e.g. sniffing paint fumes or huffing glue). Also referred to as drunk driving, DWI (Driving While Impaired or Intoxicated), OUI (Operating Under the Influence), OWI (Operating While Intoxicated), OMVI (operating a Motor Vehicle while Intoxicated), DUIL (Driving Under the Influence of Liquor), DUII (Driving Under the Influence of an Intoxicant), DWAI (Driving While Ability Impaired), DWUI (Driving While Under the Influence).

DWI - Driving While Impaired or Driving While Intoxicated. Generally synonymous with DUI, reflecting a DWI charge at 0.08 percent blood alcohol concentration.

Dram Shop Liability - a dram shop (or dramshop) is a legal term that refers to a drinking establishment where alcoholic beverages are served to be drunk on the premises. Dram shop liability arises when such establishments are held accountable for harm to third parties arising out of the sale of alcohol to visibly (or habitually) intoxicated persons or minors. Only eight states lack any dram shop laws (Delaware, Kansas, Louisiana, Maryland, Nebraska, Nevada, South Dakota, and Virginia) while they vary considerably in the other 42 states and the District of Columbia. Dram shop liability is a contentious topic where some argue for greater personal responsibility while others see it as an effective means to curb alcohol abuse.

Drunk Driving - Generally synonymous with DUI.

Enhancements - Factors that increase the severity of punishments in DUI convictions. Factors that can lead to enhancements include excessive speed, having a child in the vehicle, being involved in an accident, or having very high blood alcohol concentration.

Field Sobriety Tests (FST) - Tests of coordination and/or mental agility are often used to provide an initial assessment of sobriety. Field Sobriety Tests are usually performed roadside shortly after an officer stops a driver. Field Sobriety Tests include walking in a straight line (heel-to-toe), tip head back with eyes closed and touching the tip of the nose with the index finger (Rhomberg test), standing on one foot, recalling all or part of the alphabet (maybe backward), finger exercises, and Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus (jerking of eyes when following a stimulus to the side). The National Highway Traffic and Safety Administration conducted several studies to try to improve the accuracy of the Field Sobriety Tests and developed Standardized Field Sobriety Tests (SFST)

Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus (HGN) - One of the three Standardized Field Sobriety Tests (SFST). Nystagmus is rapid involuntary rhythmic eye movement - the eyes moving quickly in one direction and slowly in the other. Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus is assessed by lack of smooth eye tracking, distinct jerking at maximum eye angle, and the onset of jerking prior to a 45-degree angle.

Ignition Interlock Devices - A mechanism designed to prevent a motor vehicle's ignition from working until a driver is shown to be alcohol-free after breathing into a mouthpiece.

Implied Consent - Operation of a motor vehicle itself provides sufficient grounds for an officer to require sobriety tests. In most states, implied consent extends to both Field Sobriety Tests and Chemical Tests.

MADD (Mothers Against Drunk Driving) - MADD is a national non-profit organization (with international chapters) that works to reduce the incidence of DUI through tougher laws and education outreach. MADD was founded by Candy Lightner in 1980 following the death of her daughter in a drunk driving accident.

National College for DUI Defense (NCDD) - is "a professional, non-profit corporation dedicated to the improvement of the criminal defense bar, and to the dissemination of information to the public about DUI Defense Law as a specialty area of law practice."

National Highway Traffic and Safety Administration (NHTSA) - Part of the Department of Transportation, NHTSA is the federal agency most involved with driving under the influence issues. Among other activities, NHTSA compiles impairment data, conducts and sponsors research, develops testing protocols (see Standardized Field Sobriety Tests) and guidelines for sobriety checkpoints, and conducts impairment educational programs.

OWI - Operating While Intoxicated. Used in Wisconsin as well as some other state statutes. Generally synonymous with DUI.

Open Container Laws - Statues that prohibit possession of non-sealed alcoholic beverages in the passenger area of motor vehicles.

Per Se - Latin for "itself", when applied to DUI law, means that a person has broken the law by having a blood alcohol concentration above 0.08 percent regardless of any physical or mental manifestation of intoxication.

Reckless driving - Operating a motor vehicle in a dangerous manner, including speeding, weaving in and out of traffic, etc.

RID (Remove Intoxicated Drivers) - The nation's oldest national anti-DUI organization.

Rising Alcohol Defense - A legal defense for driving under the influence that argues blood alcohol concentration (BAC) at the time of measurement is not indicative of what it was while the person was actually driving. Alcohol requires time after ingestion to enter a person's bloodstream so a defendant's BAC may only have risen above the legal limit after he was stopped by the officer and during the time the officer questioned him, ran identification checks, etc.

Sobriety checkpoint - A procedure where law enforcement officials select a particular location (usually a choke point such as a freeway onramp or offramp or tunnel access), stop vehicles, ask drivers questions pertaining to alcohol consumption, follow up with any drivers suspected to be impaired. Sobriety checkpoints are most often conducted during peak holiday drinking periods.

Standardized Field Sobriety Tests - A subset of Field Sobriety Tests that include the One Leg Stand Test, the Walk and Turn Test, and the Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus Test. Protocols for these tests were developed by a private lab with funding from the National Highway Traffic and Safety Administration (NHTSA).

Zero Tolerance - Philosophy that any detectable amount of alcohol creates an infraction. Zero tolerance in driving is most often applied in circumstances where drinking alcohol itself is prohibited such as for minors or in countries with prohibition.

If you have questions about Georgia DUI laws, get the answers in Clayton County DUI injury attorney Shane Smith's book, I Was Hit By a Drunk Driver: What Do I Do Next? Contact Shane Smith Law to schedule a free legal consultation.

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