DUI Dictionary

Posted by Craig Penrod | Sep 09, 2013 | 0 Comments

Administrative Per Se (APS) – In Arizona, there are two separate cases that arise from a single drunk driving arrest: the criminal court case and the Administrative Per Se (also referred to as admin per se), a civil administrative hearing before the Arizona Department of Motor Vehicles.  In cases where someone is arrested for driving under the influence, whether it is alcohol or drugs, the law enforcement officer shall forward to the department a certified report indicating the person arrested submitted to a blood or breath test and the results are either not available or the results indicated a 0.08 or more alcohol concentration, a 0.04 or more if the person was driving or in actual physical control of a commercial vehicle or any drug or metabolite is in the person's body.  Arizona does limit the time a driver has to request a hearing to contest the APS action to 15 days so it is important that you contact an attorney as soon as possible to preserve all rights which you might have.  If the suspension is upheld, an individual's driver license may be suspended for up to 90 days irrespective of what happens in court.

Absorption – The passage of alcohol into the bloodstream. Peak absorption refers to the highest level of blood alcohol seen before blood alcohol content (BAC) begins to diminish.

Aggravated DUI – Under certain circumstances an offense of driving under the influence of alcohol will be treated as a felony.  This can occur when there is a passenger in the vehicle under 15 years of age, when a person commits a third or subsequent DUI violation within a period of 84 months, when a person commits a DUI violation while required to have an ignition interlock installed or when a person's license or privilege to drive is suspended, canceled, revoked or while a restriction is placed on the person's driver license as a result of violating Arizona Revised Statutes 28-1381, 28-1382 or 28-1385.

Arraignment – The initial court proceeding where the person arrested is formally advised of the charges against them, and given an opportunity to enter a plea.

BAC – Blood or blood alcohol content.

BrAC – Breath alcohol content.

Breathalyzer – A portable machine utilized by law enforcement to measure the breath  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.

DRE (Drug Recognition Evaluation) – A physiological examination designed to identify symptoms of use of a particular drug.

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 or DWI.  It generally describes two types of cases: first, where the driver is sufficiently impaired by alcohol, drugs, or a combination of the two, that it affects the ability to drive safely and/or where someone is above that state's legal limit, usually .08, no matter how safely the person is driving.

DUI – Driving under the influence. Can either refer to driving under the influence of alcohol, driving under the influence of drugs, or driving under the influence of a combination of liquor and drugs.

DUI Drugs – Driving while under the influence of any type of drug other than alcohol.  If a driver has a prescription, the prosecutor must prove that his or her normal ability to drive has been lessened by use of the drug.  If the driver does not have a prescription, the prosecutor must only prove the driver contains a metabolite of the drug.

DWI – Driving while intoxicated, or driving while impaired. Like DUI, DWI can refer to driving while intoxicated or impaired as the result of either drinking alcohol or taking drugs, or both. This is the second most widely used acronym for drunk driving cases.

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.

Extreme DUI – Driving with a blood or breath alcohol level of 0.15 or greater but less than 0.20.

Field Sobriety Tests (FST) – Any number of tests used by law enforcement officers, usually on the roadside, to determine whether a driver is impaired. Most FSTs test balance, coordination and the ability of the driver to divide his or her attention among several tasks as once. Other tests, such as the horizontal gaze nystagmus test, are used to measure a subject's impairment level.

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

Impairment or Intoxication – Those states that refer to driving while intoxicated or driving while impaired usually have definitions that are similar to being under the influence. Each state has a different standard, so it is extremely important to contact an attorney in the state where you were arrested.

Implied Consent Suspension – A person who operates a motor vehicle in Arizona gives consent to a test or tests of the person's blood, breath, urine or other bodily substance for the purpose of determining alcohol concentration or drug content if the person is arrested while the person was driving or in actual physical control of a motor vehicle while under the influence of intoxicating liquor or drugs.  Arizona does limit the time a driver has to request a hearing to contest the suspension action to 15 days so it is important that you contact an attorney as soon as possible to preserve all rights which you might have.  If the suspension is upheld, an individual's driver license may be suspended for up to one year or more.

Ignition Interlock Device – An ignition interlock system is a small device about the size of a cell phone.   It works by measuring the amount of alcohol in an individual's system.   If the device registers over the set limit, the car will not start.   If the driver's breath test is below the pre-set limit, the car will start, however, there are required re-tests that must be performed during the course of the drive.   This prevents a driver from having someone else start the car, or having a drink once the car starts.

IntoxilyzerA portable machine utilized by law enforcement to measure the breath  alcohol content (BAC) of suspected drunk drivers.

License Revocation – A license revocation means your driving privileges have been revoked and you will need to complete a revocation packet prior to reinstatement of your driving privileges.  Reinstatement is not automatic.

License SuspensionIn a DUI, a suspended license can typically be reinstated after the designated time without the necessity of reapplication.  However, depending upon which statute the suspension was placed, it will require reinstatement fees and completion of alcohol screening and possibly the installation of an ignition interlock device and SR22 insurance prior to reinstatement.

National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) – NHTSA was established by the Highway Safety Act of 1970 to carry out safety programs previously administered by the National Highway Safety Bureau.   NHTSA's duties include funding studies on field sobriety tests and training law enforcement officers in the administration of the standardized field sobriety test battery.

Natural Nystagmus – Nystagmus that occurs without any apparent physiological, vestibular, or neurological disturbance. Natural nystagmus occurs in approximately 2%-4% of the population.

One-Leg-Stand (OLS) Test – One of the three tests that make up the Standardized Field Sobriety Test Battery. This test requires a subject to stand on one leg, look at his or her foot and count out loud until told to stop.  The subject is assessed on the ability to understand and follow instructions, as well as the ability to maintain balance for thirty seconds.

OUI – A DUI in a boat.

PBT (Portable Breath Testing Device) – The purpose of a preliminary breath test is to assist a police officer in establishing probable cause before arresting an individual for DUI. The portable breath test is typically offered by the police officer after the field sobriety tests  or while the individual is seated in their vehicle. The portable breath test is strictly voluntary and there are no consequences for refusing this portable breath test in Arizona.

Restricted License – A restricted driver's license typically denies certain license privileges. For instance, in a DUI context, an individual with a restricted license will only be allowed to drive to and from work, school, to that individual's probation officer for scheduled appointments or to travel between the person's place of residence and a screening, education or treatment facility for scheduled appointments.

Reasonable Doubt – Reasonable doubt is a standard of proof used in criminal trials. When a criminal defendant is prosecuted, the prosecutor must prove the defendant's guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.  If the jury—or the judge in a bench trial—has a reasonable doubt as to the defendant's guilt, the jury or judge should pronounce the defendant not guilty.

Retrograde Extrapolation – This is the scientific term for the ability to look at an individual'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 vehicle with reckless disregard for the safety of persons or property.

Sobriety Checkpoints – The practice of law enforcement agencies of 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..

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. The results of this battery, usually administered along the roadside, contribute extensively to a law enforcement officer's decision to arrest a person for impaired driving.

Super Extreme DUI – Extreme DUI – Driving with a blood or breath alcohol of 0.20 or greater.

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. It is not necessary for someone to have an alcohol level that is above the legal limit to be under the influence. However, most states do allow a jury to infer or presume that if someone is above the legal limit at the time the test was taken, and if the test was given close in time to the time of driving (within two or three hours), that the driver is under the influence. The manner in which the vehicle is driven is relevant, but not usually determinative in and of itself.

Vehicle Impound – In Arizona, a vehicle may be impounded for 30 days if the driver has a suspended or revoked driver license,  the driver has never been issued a valid driver license or permit, the driver is subject to an ignition interlock device,  the driver or vehicle is not insured or the driver of the vehicle is suspected of having a breath or blood alcohol level of 0.15.

Voir Dire – In those states that allow a jury trial, either the lawyers or the judge (or both) will question potential jurors about their background and qualifications to sit as jurors in the case. This process is called voir dire, and is extremely important in defending a DUI, DWI, or related drunk-driving case. Both the prosecution and the defense are entitled to fair and unbiased jurors.  Voir dire is the process by which the parties learn about the potential jurors and determine whether or not the criminal case is a proper one for the potential juror to hear.

Walk-and-Turn (WAT) Test – One of the three tests that make up the standardized field sobriety battery. This test requires a person to take nine heel-to-toe steps down a straight line, turn and take nine heel-to-toe steps back up the line. The subject is assessed on the ability to understand and follow instructions as well as the ability to maintain balance during the instruction stage and walking stage.

Zero Tolerance BAC for those under 21 – Allowable blood alcohol content for minors (as defined by the state). In Arizona, this law states that it is against the law to drive a motor vehicle with any alcohol in your system if you are under the age of 21.

The Law Office of Craig W. Penrod has been involved in criminal and DUI defense for more than 25 years. Craig is certified by the State Bar of Arizona as a Certified Criminal Law Specialist, is AV® rated, the highest rating by Martindale Hubbell®, is listed in the Bar Register of Preeminent Lawyers®, and has been selected for inclusion in Southwest Super Lawyers Editions 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011 and 2012.  Contact the lawyers at the Law Offices of Craig W. Penrod for a free initial legal consultation if you find yourself facing DUI or criminal charges.

About the Author

Craig Penrod

Craig W. Penrod was born and raised in Arizona and has practiced criminal defense for over 30 years. Mr. Penrod is a member of the State Bar of Arizona, Maricopa County Bar Association, State of Nevada Bar Association, American Bar Association, American Trial Lawyers Association, Arizona Trial Lawyers Association, Nevada Trial Lawyers Association, Arizona Attorneys for Criminal Justice and the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers.


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