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900 G St
Modesto, CA 95354
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DUI Dictionary

APS, or Administrative Per Se - In many states, there are two separate cases that arise from a single drunk driving arrest: the court case, and the Administrative Per Se, or APS case, with the Motor Vehicles Department. In cases where someone is arrested for DUI, DWI, OUI, OWI, or a related drunk driving charge, and gives a breath or blood test with results that are above the legal limit, the Motor Vehicles Department will take an administrative action against the driver.

Acetone - an organic compound commonly found in the breath that can be improperly read as alcohol by the Intoxilyzer.

Absorption - The taking of alcohol from outside the body into the bloodstream.

Alcohol Gaze Nystagmus (AGN) - Gaze nystagmus caused by the effects of alcohol upon the nervous system.

Arraignment – The initial court proceeding, where someone arrested for DUI / DWI, drunk driving, or any related drinking and driving criminal charge is formally advised of the charges against them, and given an opportunity to enter a plea.

BAC - Blood alcohol content. In most states, alcohol level may be determined by reference to breath alcohol level as well, without having to convert to blood alcohol level.

BAL - Breath alcohol level, or blood alcohol level.

Breathalyzer - A portable machine utilized by law enforcement to measure the blood alcohol content (BAC) of suspected drunk drivers.

Burnoff - The ability of the body to metabolize alcohol, and eliminate it from the system through the functioning of the vital organs.

Chemical Test - As related to driving under the influence (DUI), a test of the alcohol or drug concentration in a person's blood.

Driving - Usually, ability to exert control over the vehicle. Officers usually need not observe someone driving in order to arrest them for DUI / DWI or any drunk driving arrest.

Driver's License Suspension - The temporary withholding of driving privileges. A DUI offender's license is withheld for a given period, then returned when and if specific conditions have been met.

Drunk Driving - A general reference to those criminal cases that are called DUI, DWI, OUI, OWI, DUII, DWAI, or other acronyms.

DUI - Driving under the influence.

DUID – Driving under the influence of Drugs. For purposed of DUID, the drugs may be legal or illegal, prescribed or otherwise.

DUII - Driving under the influence of an intoxicant. The intoxicant in DUII cases can be either alcohol or other drugs. There is no difference between a charge of DUII and DUI. A DUII charge is no more or less serious than that of DUI.

DUIL or OUIL - Driving under the influence of liquor.

DWAI - Driving while abilities impaired.

DWI - Driving while intoxicated, or driving while impaired.

DWUI - Driving while under the influence is a phrase that is infrequently used to refer to drunk driving cases.

Enhancements - Those factors that can operate to increase the punishment in a drunk driving, DUI, DWI, OUI, OWI, or related driving under the influence case.

Epileptic Nystagmus - Nystagmus evident during an epileptic seizure.

Extrapolation - The method of computing BAC at a given time using physical characteristics of the drinker, the quantity of alcohol consumed, the period of time over which alcohol is consumed, and when the alcohol was last consumed.

Field Sobriety Test (FST) - Any number of tests used by law enforcement officers, usually on the roadside, to determine whether a driver is impaired.

Felony drunk driving - Under certain circumstances the misdemeanor offense of driving under the influence of alcohol will be treated as a felony, such as when drunk driving results in great bodily harm or death or where the accused has three or more prior DUI convictions.

Fixation - ability of the eye to focus on one point.

Gaze Nystagmus - Nystagmus that occurs when the eyes gaze or fixate upon an object or image.

Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus (HGN) - Gaze nystagmus that occurs when the eyes gaze or move to the side along a horizontal plane.

High BAC - Threshold blood alcohol content for which maximum penalties and fines may apply, even on a first offense.

Ignition Interlock Device - Located inside a vehicle and near the driver’s seat, an ignition interlock device is an in-car alcohol breath screening device that prevents a vehicle from starting if it detects a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) over a pre-set limit of .02.

Jerk Nystagmus - Nystagmus where the eye drifts slowly away from a point of focus and then quickly corrects itself with a saccadic movement back to the point of focus.

License Revocation - A license revocation means your driving privileges have been cancelled.

Motions - Asking the court to do something.

National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) - The agency within the United States Department of Transportation that administers traffic safety programs.

Natural Nystagmus - Nystagmus that occurs without any apparent physiological, vestibular, or neurological disturbance.

Neurological Nystagmus - Nystagmus caused by some disturbance in the nervous system.

Nystagmus - An involuntary bouncing or jerking of the eye caused by any number of vestibular, neurological or physiological disturbances.

Oculomotor - Movement of the eyeball.

OMVI - Operating a motor vehicle while intoxicated, or operating a motor vehicle while impaired.

Optokinetic Nystagmus - A nystagmus evident when an object that the eye fixates upon moves quickly out of sight or passes quickly through the field of vision, such as occurs when a subject watches utility poles pass by while in a moving car. Optokinetic nystagmus is also caused by watching alternating moving images, such as black and white spokes on a spinning wheel.

Oscillate - to move back and forth at a constant rate between two points.

OUI - Operating under the influence. Like the other acronyms, OUI can refer to operating a motor vehicle under the influence of alcohol, drugs, or both.

OWI - Operating while intoxicated, or operating while impaired. Again, this intoxication or impairment may be as the result of consuming alcohol or any other drug, or a combination of alcohol and drugs.

PAS test - Preliminary Alcohol Screening test.

Pathological Disorder - Disruptions of the normal functions of organs of the body due to disease, illness, or damage.

Pendular Nystagmus - Nystagmus where the eye oscillates or swings equally in two directions.

Per Se Laws - Laws that declare it illegal to drive a vehicle above a certain alcohol level, as measured by a blood or breath test.

Physiological Nystagmus - A nystagmus that occurs so that light entering the eye will continually fall on non-fatigued cells on the retina.

Positional Alcohol Nystagmus (PAN) - Positional nystagmus when the foreign fluid is alcohol.

PAN I - The alcohol concentration is higher in the blood than in the vestibular system.

PAN II - The alcohol concentration is lower in the blood than in the vestibular system.

Positional Nystagmus - Nystagmus that occurs when a foreign fluid is in unequal concentrations between the blood and the fluid in the semi-circular canals of the vestibular system.

Post-Rotational Nystagmus - Nystagmus caused by disturbances in the vestibular system fluid when a person spins around.

Provisional (or Restricted) License - A provisional license typically denies certain license privileges.

Reasonable Doubt - The definition varies from state to state. Before someone may be found guilty of DUI or DWI, the jury (or judge in those states that do not allow a jury trial for drunk driving cases) must be convinced in the defendant's guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.

Resting Nystagmus - Nystagmus that occurs as the eye are looking straight ahead.

Retrograde extrapolation - This is the scientific term for the ability to look at someone's alcohol level at the time of testing, and look backwards to determine what the alcohol level was at the time of driving.

Reckless Driving - Operating a motor vehicle in a dangerous manner, including speeding, weaving in and out of traffic, and similarly hazardous patterns. Rising Alcohol Defense - This defense is based on the idea that alcohol levels change over time, as the body absorbs alcohol, reaches a peak level, and then eliminates alcohol.

Rotational Nystagmus - Nystagmus caused by disturbances in the vestibular system fluid when a person spins around. Rotational nystagmus occurs while the person is spinning.

Saccadic - Movement of the eye from one fixation point to another.

Sobriety Checkpoints - The practice of law enforcement agencies selecting a particular location for a particular time period and systematically stopping vehicles (for example, every fifth car) to investigate drivers for possible DUI / DWI.

Smooth Pursuit - The eye's course as it tracks a moving image.

Standardized Field Sobriety Test (SFST) - A group of tests selected as the best field sobriety tests to increase the ability of law enforcement officers to detect driver impairment.

Tolerance - As it relates to DUI / DWI, the ability of a person to adapt and maintain their behavior to disguise the effects of alcohol consumption.

Under the Influence - The precise definition used in court will vary from state to state; however, it will relate to the inability of the driver to operate a motor vehicle with the same caution characteristic of a sober person of ordinary prudence under the same or similar circumstances.

Vertical Nystagmus - Nystagmus that occurs when the eyes gaze or move upward along a vertical plane.

Vehicle Impound/Immobilization - In California, if you are driving with a suspended or revoked license, the vehicle you are driving may be impounded for 30 days and possibly forfeited.

Voir Dire - Jury selection. In those states that allow a jury trial for drunk driving cases, either the lawyers or the judge (or both) will question potential jurors about their background and qualifications to sit as jurors in the case.

Walk-and-Turn (WAT) test - One of the three tests that make up the standardized field sobriety battery.

Wet Reckless - Plea to a charge of reckless driving which was "alcohol related."

Witness - A person who can provide testimony on behalf of the prosecution or DUI defense.