Traffic Law Glossary
Administrative License Suspension: A process by which an individual can have his/her license suspended prior to going to court for a DUI. In most states, an individual’s license can be administratively suspended if the individual registers above a certain BAC or refuses to submit to State Chemical testing.
Alcohol and Drug Evaluation (A&Ds): When a qualified alcohol evaluator determines whether an individual has a possible abuse problem. Evaluation generally can take 1-3 hours and determined results can indicate whether an individual requires a 17-week program. In Georgia, A&Ds are mandatory for all second and subsequent DUI convictions.
Boating Under the Influence (BUI): A traffic offense that applies to any individual operating a watercraft under the influence of alcohol, or illegal substances (such as drugs), that registers outside the State’s legal limits.
- BAC Datamaster – Utilizes infrared spectroscopy to estimate an individual’s blood alcohol level. It’s important to note this device is capable of making mistakes if not store properly or poorly calibrated.
- Breathalyzer – Analyzes a breath sample to estimate blood alcohol level.
- Intoxylizer – Utilizes infrared spectroscopy for estimating an individual’s blood alcohol level.
- Intoximeter – Generally uses a combination of fuel cell and infrared spectroscopy technology to gauge an individual’s blood alcohol content (BAC).
DUI “Per Se” Level: When an individual suspected of driving under the influence (DUI) documents a blood alcohol content (BAC) of .08% or higher from a breath or blood test. The result is an automatic charge for a DUI without the need for additional supporting factors to confirm guilt.
DUI Task Force: A specially trained group of police officers (often funded by State and Federal government grant money) with a focus on DUI detection. Officers within these organizations focus primarily on drunk drivers.
Driving While Intoxicated (DWI): Sometimes referred to as driving while impaired, DWIs are violations given to individuals who are under the influence of alcohol or an illegal substance (drugs) while operating a vehicle (car, boat, etc.).
Drug Scheduling: A classification system created by State and Federal governments to determine appropriate charges associated with drug possession. The system is based on addiction potential, medically-approved uses and said effects on an individual.
Elimination: Considerable time it takes for an individual’s body to reduce the amount of alcohol in the blood. It’s estimated that an individual’s metabolism is generally able to remove one drink per hour.
Failure to Appear (FTA): When an individual fails to appear on a scheduled court date. Consequences may include: a forfeit of any bonds to the court system, driver’s license suspension or revocation, or a warrant issue.
Fake ID: Possessed identification falsifying that an individual who is under aged is over 21. Associated penalties vary but include driver’s license suspension and under certain circumstances can be deemed a felony.
Felony: A crime that carries a penalty of a year or more in jail. Mostly considered misdemeanors, DUIs in some states can be elevated to felony status in certain circumstances (ie. habitual offenses). Any DUI-related fatalities are considered felonies.
- Standard Testing – Set of three tests including a horizontal gaze, walk-and-turn, and one-leg stand test.
- Divided Attention Testing – An evaluation where an individual must listen and follow instructions while performing basic physical movements (ie. the walk-and-turn and one-leg stand tests).
- Common Sobriety Testing – Tests generally used to determine probable cause of a DUI including simple tests like: counting, finger-to-nose, reciting the alphabet, standing on one leg, walking a line, walk-and-turn or Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus.
First Offender Plea: When a defendant “pleads” guilty and their case is dismissed after certain conditions of a defendant’s sentence has been completed. Most states do not allow 1st offender on DUI cases, but do allow 1st offender on charges for drug possession.
Graduated Licensing Program: State mandated program that requires new drivers (typically teens) to complete a set number of practice driving hours before receiving a license as well as restrictions to the age and number of passengers they’re allowed to carry initially.
Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus (HGN): A field sobriety test sometimes used to determine DUI. When an individual is impaired from drunk driving, the eye gaze (nystagmus) jerks or bounces and becomes more pronounced.
Implied Consent Warning: Before the State can request a chemic test of an individual’s blood, breath, urine or other bodily substance, ICW “right” must be read to a DUI suspect by the arresting officer (read generally from an orange colored card at the time of arrest).
Ignition Interlock Device: A cellphone-sized device that is installed in a vehicle and requires a driver to blow into the device. If any traceable amount of alcohol is present, the car will not function. These devices are mandatory in most states for offenders with multiple DUIs as well as first time offenders in most cases.
Mandatory Suspendable Offenses: For any individual convicted of the following traffic violations: vehicular homicide, serious injury by vehicle, felony while operating a motor vehicle, unlawful/fraudulent use of a license or ID, driving on a suspended/revoked/cancelled license, racing, hit and run, or DUI, according to Georgia Code 40-5-54 the result is a mandatory license suspension.
Nolo Contendere: Meaning “no contest,” this form of plea occurs when an individual will not defend charges placed against them. No contest generally doesn’t apply to DUI cases, however, if available, pleading “nolo” will almost always count as a DUI charge and accompanies license suspension and mandatory minimum punishment.
Open Container Laws: The prohibition of drinking alcohol inside a vehicle or in a public area. Some states prohibit any individual in a vehicle to have open container while others prohibit the driver to have open container.
Probation: In lieu of some or all jail time for a convicted offender, a judge can issue probation. In order to maintain probation, an offender must not violate the law, must complete a required sentence and must report to a probation officer as instructed.
Probation Revocation: When an individual on probation fails to comply with a given sentence or violates any probation terms, probation can be revoked altogether by a judge and the probationer can be sentenced to jail.
Super Speeder: For Georgia drivers, an individual convicted of speeding 85 miles per hour (mph) or more on interstates and 75 mph or more on two lane roads. Individuals receive an additional fine of $200 from Driver’s Services and if fees are not paid within 90 days of notice then the individual’s license is suspended.