DUI Terms Glossary

Below is a complete list of the various terms and acronyms used in DUI Laws

DUI Terminology

BAC – Blood Alcohol concentration, expressed as a percentage of the milligrams of alcohol present in 100 milliliters of blood.

BAL – Blood Alcohol Level, expressed as a percentage of the milligrams of alcohol present in 100 milliliters of blood.

Breathalyzer – A breath analysis device, which shows the estimate blood alcohol content in the body based on the chemical analysis of a breath sample.

Burn Off – Burn off as it relates to drunk driving, is the human body’s ability to metabolize alcohol and reduce the blood alcohol content over a period of time. The burn off rate of alcohol varies between individuals based on weight, age and several other factors. As a rule of thumb the human body will burn off an average of 1 ounce of alcohol per hour.

Chemical test – Is a test of the alcohol or drug concentration in a person’s blood. The three types of chemical tests for alcohol are: Breathalyzer, blood analysis, or urinalysis. If drugs other than alcohol are suspected; a blood test or urine test will be administered.

Drunk driving – Also known as DUI or driving under the influence.

DUI – Is the most common abbreviation for the crime of drunk driving. It stands for Driving Under the Influence and it is the most common offense in the nation for the crime of drunk driving. Most states throughout the U.S. use the term DUI to define their drunk driving laws.

States that use the acronym DUI:

Alabama, Arizona, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, Kansas, Kentucky, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Mississippi, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, Washington DC, West Virginia, Wyoming

DUII – DUII stands for Driving Under the Influence of Intoxicants. Only Oregon uses this term to describe their drunk driving laws.

DWAI – DWAI stands for Driving While Ability Impaired and it is lesser form of a drunk driving charge. This charge offers fewer penalties than a typical drunk driving offense and typically less driving license restrictions.

States that use DWAI: Colorado, New York.

DWI – DWI stands for Driving While Intoxicated and is a term used to define some states drunk driving laws. The states that use the term DWI are listed below:

States that use DWI: Alaska, Arkansas, Louisiana, Minnesota, Missouri, New Mexico, New York, and North Carolina.

Expungement DUI Expungement sometimes referred to as DUI expunction, is the process of removing, sealing or clearing a DUI related offense from your record(s) after conviction. It is the only form of post conviction relief offered for DUI convictions.

Felony DUI – If a DUI has resulted in the death of another person; the DUI may be classified as a 1st or 2nd degree felony, depending on the prosecutor and the situation that resulted in the death.

Some states will even elevate a DWI charge to a felony DWI charge even without a person being injured or dying. This situation can occur if the suspect has a given number of prior DWI convictions. A felony DUI can result in a prison term instead of a stay in the county jail.

FST Field Sobriety Tests, is a set of tests administered during a DUI stop to establish probable cause. The tests include, but are not limited to: Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus, walk-and-turn and the one-leg-stand tests.

Habitual Offender – A habitual offender is defined differently by many states. However, typically a habitual offender is someone who has three DUI convictions over a specific amount of time. You’ll need to check with your state or local DUI attorneys to learn the exact habitual offender laws where you live.

HGN – Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus, is an involuntary jerking of the eye, which naturally occurs as the eyes move from side to side. Nystagmus occurs when the human eyes rotate at high peripheral angles.

When an individual has been drinking and is impaired by alcohol, nystagmus is exaggerated and in most cases occurs at lesser angles. A person impaired by alcohol will also not be able to smoothly track a moving object with their eyes from side to side.

Impaired – A person driving a vehicle with a blood alcohol content of greater than 0.08% is said to be impaired.

Implied Consent – Some states have what are referred to as implied consent laws, meaning that if you hold a drivers license in one of these states you are agreeing that if you are ever stopped for DUI that you automatically consent to testing and the officer does not need to ask your permission. You may of course refuse to the testing, but fines and driver license suspension will result.

Ignition Interlock – An ignition interlock device is a device that is installed in a vehicle that prevents a vehicle from starting if it detects a blood alcohol concentration or BAC over .02 percent.

Intoxilyzer – This is the brand name of the Breathalyzer machine used in most police departments.

PAS – Preliminary alcohol screening test. Also known as a PBT test.

OMVI – OMVI stands for Operating a Motor Vehicle While Intoxicated.

One-leg-stand – Is one of the tests performed during a field sobriety test. In the one-leg stand test, the officer instructs the suspect to stand with one foot raised approximately six inches of the ground and to count by thousands (one thousand-one, one thousand-two, etc.) until the officer tells the suspect to put their foot down. While the suspect is performing this test, the officer is timing the suspect for 30 seconds.

OUI – OUI stands for Operating Under the Influence and is another term used to describe the crime of drunk driving. Only (2) states use this term to define their drunk driving laws (listed below).

States that use OUI: Maine, Rhode Island

OUID – OUID stands for Operating Under the Influence of Drugs.

OUIL – OUIL stands for Operating Under the Influence of Liquor.

OVI – OVI stands for Operating a Vehicle while Impaired. Primarily this abbreviation is only used in the state of Ohio.

States that use OVI: Ohio

OWI – OWI stands for Operating While Intoxicated. The laws closely resemble the others except only a few states use this abbreviation.

States that use OWI: Indiana, Iowa, Wisconsin

PBT – Preliminary Blood Test, is a portable device used by officers in the field sobriety test to establish an individuals BAC.

“Per se” – A drunk driving offense, which can result in a conviction, based on the proof of blood alcohol content (BAC), without proof of impairment of an individuals ability to drive.

SR22 Filing – An SR22 filing is an agreement between your SR22 insurance provider and the DMV. The agreement states that if for any reason there is a lapse in your SR22 insurance, your insurance provider is required to inform the DMV of the lapse in coverage.

SFST – Standardized Field Sobriety Tests, is a set of tests administered during a DUI stop to establish probable cause. The tests include, but are not limited to: Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus, walk-and-turn and the one-leg-stand tests.

Walk-and-Turn – Is a test administered during a field sobriety test to establish probable cause. In the walk-and-turn test, the officer directs the suspect to take nine steps in a row going from heel-to-toe with each step, along a straight line. After the suspect has taken the steps, they then must turn on one foot and return to where they started in the same manner.

Additional DUI Resources
  • DUI First Offense – Detailed first offense information including punishments after a first offense DUI.
  • DUI Classes – Get signed up for your dui class now.
  • SR22 Insurance – Learn everything you need to know about SR22 filing requirements with the DMV and find out how you can save hundreds of dollars each year on your SR22 insurance.
  • DUI Laws & Lawyers – Contact one of our DUI lawyers today to discuss your pending DUI case. Review information regarding DUI Laws.
  • Bail Bond Agents – Contact an bail bond agent to get out of jail now.
  • Non-owner Insurance – If you need an SR-22 filing, but don’t own a vehicle, you need to get a non-owner policy.