DUI DWI Glossary of Terms

DUI DWI Drunk Driving Glossary of Terms

Actual Physical Control: When a person is in a position to control the vehicle, even if they are not actually driving. Many states have DUI laws and DWI laws that apply to actual physical control.

Alcohol Gaze Nystagmus: This is a jerking of the eye that is exaggerated by alcohol effects on the nervous system.

Burn off: This is where it is determined how fast the body can eliminate alcohol from the system through the organs of our body. This varies from person to person depending on many factors, such as weight, age and more.

Driving: This is the operation of a vehicle where you are in control. Law enforcement officers do not need to see you behind the wheel in order to lay charges. They can use circumstantial evidence, which is sufficient to lay charges.

Drunk Driving: This is when an operator of a vehicle has consumed enough alcohol to inhibit him from driving in a safe manner. This also relates to whatever limit a state has determined to be of legal limits. No matter how safely a person is operating the vehicle it is deemed as drunk driving if you are at or over the legal limit.

Driving Under the Influence (DUI): This is in reference to the state of a driver after consuming too much alcohol or drugs when they are operating a vehicle and the criminal cases that arise from such situations. This is applied to someone over the state limits.

Driving While Intoxicated (DWI): This is often used in drunk driving cases and is used in terms of the state of the driver operating a vehicle while under the influence of alcohol. This can also be used in the case of driving under the influence of drugs. Defining intoxication is the heart of the DWI charge.

DUI Lawyer or DUI Attorney: A Lawyer or Attorney who defends persons accused of Driving under the Influence of Alcohol and/or drugs.

DWI Lawyer or DWI Attorney: A Lawyer or Attorney who defends persons accused of Driving While Intoxicated. This can be either from alcohol and/or drugs.

Enhancements: These are factors that can influence the punishment of a drunk driving case. They may include such things as breaking the speed limit while under the influence, having an accident, refusing to take a Breathalyzer, and having prior convictions all which increase the seriousness of a case.

Field sobriety test: This is a test that is given on the roadside when people are stopped and suspected of drunk driving. This test determines by eye motion and skills of the driver to do the multiple tasks required by the officer to determine the condition of the driver of the vehicle.

Impairment or intoxication: Terms used by states to describe driving while intoxicated or driving while impaired. Different states have different standards for this term.

Jerk Nystagmus: This happens when your eye can follow a point of focus and drifts slowly away from it but quickly adjusts itself with a jerky movement back to what they’re trying to focus on.

Not guilty: This is a term used in court to state your innocence of the charges laid against you. This term is what everyone facing a drunken driving case wants to hear.

OUI: This means operating under the influence of a drug or alcohol. There are many factors that contribute to making this a very difficult question and many things have to be taken in to consideration before a judgment can be passed.

Per se laws: These are laws that make it illegal to drive a vehicle under the influence of either alcohol or drugs at a certain level. This law is based only on the body’s chemistry; the only thing to determine with this law is whether you were above or below your states legal limit.

Rising alcohol defense: This defense is based on the changes of alcohol in the system and how the levels change over time such as from the time you drink alcohol then when it peaks in your system and when the body starts to eliminate it. This can make a difference in the case as it may be concluded that you were not drunk while driving but peaked long after you were stopped.


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