12 Basic DUI Terms You Should Know When Facing DUI Charges

It’s bad enough facing drunk driving charges and not knowing what the outcome will be.  But then to be bombarded with a bunch of legal terms and acronyms makes the entire process even more stressful.

12 Basic DUI Terms You Should Know When Facing DUI Charges

Today we will look at some of the most common DUI legal terms you are likely to hear while consulting with your DUI attorney and attending court hearings.

1. BAC

BAC stands for blood alcohol content and refers to the percentage of alcohol present in your bloodstream.  It is measured via breath, blood, or urine.  All 50 states have a BAC limit of 0.08% while driving a motorized vehicle.  Anything above and you can be charged with a DUI.

2. DUI

Speaking of DUI, this means driving under the influence.  Sometimes this term is used interchangeably with the acronym DWI (driving while intoxicated).

3. FST

When pulled over under the suspicion of drunk driving, the officer will typically ask you to perform an FST, or field sobriety test.  This series of physical tasks, such as walking a straight line, helps to determine your coordination levels and decide whether a breathalyzer test is required.

4. Breathalyzer

A portable machine used by police officers to measure a person’s BAC via their breath.

5. Implied Consent

In some states, such as Oregon, you have to sign an implied consent agreement when applying for a driver’s license.  This means that if police have probable cause to pull you over, you must consent to a chemical test (such as a breathalyzer test) if requested.  Refusal can lead to an automatic license suspension.


If this happens to you, it is best to contact the DUI law firm of Romano Law, P.C. and get some legal counsel regarding your pending DUI charges.

6. Conditional License

A conditional license is a driver’s license that has been granted to you so long as certain conditions are met.  This may include completion of a DUI course or an alcohol treatment program.  Once the conditions have been met, you will receive your standard license back.

It is much easier to agree to the terms of your conditional license than to suffer driving without a car until your standard license is re-issued.

7. Ignition Interlock Device

This in-car breathalyzer device prevents your car from starting if your BAC exceeds the pre-set limit.  It is located inside of your vehicle and connects to the engine’s ignition system.  Many people convicted of DUIs are required to use such a device as part of their sentencing.

8. Open Container Laws

In some states, it is illegal to have an open container of alcohol in your vehicle at any time.  This oftentimes includes passengers holding said open containers.

9. Miranda Rights

This is the formal advisement of your rights provided to you before being arrested by law enforcement.  This includes your right to remain silent and have a lawyer present before answering questions.

10. Rhomberg Test

As part of the field sobriety test, an officer may ask you to tilt your head back, close your eyes, and touch the tip of your nose with your index fingers.

11. Rising Curve Defense

This is a common defense for those facing a DUI conviction.  Basically, the DUI attorney states that the driver was not under the influence at the time of driving, rather their BAC levels rose after being arrested because alcohol was still being absorbed.

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12. Sobriety Checkpoints

This is a system put into place by law enforcement where specific locations, at specific times, are blocked by officers so that they can investigate every single driver that passes through for possible DUIs.

In the end, these are the most commonly used DUI terms you will hear from both your DUI attorney and court personnel.  If you are facing DUI charges, contact your attorney today so you can formulate the best defense.

Post Author: Johnny R

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