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 DUI Glossary

Click to view as PDF.

Absorption Rate:

The rate at which alcohol enters the blood stream; dependent on biological factors, type of alcohol consumed and food intake. 

Arrest:

To hold someone in police custody, on account of suspicion of driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol.

Blood Alcohol Content (BAC):

The amount of alcohol present in the bloodstream, expressed as a percentage and measured through a chemical test of breath, blood, urine or saliva. The legal limit in the United States is 0.08% of alcohol.

Breathalyzer:

The brand name of a portable machine which a driver blows into to measure Blood Alcohol Content (BAC).

Burn-off Rate:

The rate at which alcohol in the body is metabolized; this varies depending on age, weight, medical conditions, frequency of alcohol consumption and other factors.

Charge:

A formal legal accusation that suspects one of driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs.

Checkpoints:

Pre-arranged roadblock locations where law enforcement officers are stationed to check drivers for signs of intoxication and impairment. The check must be performed under a neutral formula, such as every fourth car to drive through.

Chemical Test:

A test of one’s blood, breath, urine or saliva to measure BAC.

Conviction:

A formal declaration that someone is guilty of a criminal offense; the proof of guilt in a court of law.

DUI:

Driving Under the Influence of alcohol intoxication, legal or illegal drugs, or toxic vapors. Otherwise known as “drunk driving.”

DUR:

Driving Under Restraint, as in driving with the knowledge that one's license is suspended, revoked, or denied.

DWAI:

Driving While Ability Impaired due to drugs or alcohol. In most cases, this results from a BAC between 0.05 and 0.08%--though it could apply even if the BAC was below 0.05. The term is unique to Colorado.

Denial:

A restraint action taken when an individual does not hold a Colorado driver’s license.

Dram Shop or Dramshop:

A legal term for an establishment where alcoholic beverages are served or sold.

Dram Shop Liability:

The ability to hold dram shops responsible for harm to third parties because they continued the sale of alcohol to visibly intoxicated persons.

Early Reinstatement:

The ability to reinstate driving privileges ahead of the normal eligibility date if participation in an ignition-interlock program is approved.

Field Sobriety Test:

A test of physical or mental coordination used to provide an initial assessment of sobriety. Field sobriety tests are usually performed roadside shortly after an officer stops a driver and may include: walking in a straight line heel-to-toe; tilting the head back with eyes closed and touching the tip of the nose with the index finger; standing on one foot; reciting the alphabet; finger exercises; and horizontal gaze nystagmus (jerking of eyes when following a stimulus to the side).

Heat is On:

The Colorado Department of Transportation’s high-visibility enforcement campaign that combines increased DUI patrols with strong public awareness outreach 12 times per year (usually during major holiday weekends).

Ignition Interlock:

A device installed in the vehicle to both perform a breath test, and to prevent the vehicle from starting if the test detects a BAC over the preset limit.

Miranda Rights:

The warning, which begins “You have the right to remain silent,” given by police to criminal suspects in police custody before they are interrogated so they do not violate their Fifth Amendment rights.

Open Container:

It is illegal to have an open container of alcohol in a motor vehicle or vehicle.

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Per Se:

Regardless of whether there was any physical or mental manifestation of intoxication, or any impaired driving, a driver can be charged with a DUI as driving with a BAC in excess of 0.08% is illegal in itself

Permissible Inference:

This differs from "per se" in that it is an assumption based on a given set of facts. In terms of drugged driving, the limit of 5 nanograms of THC in the blood only suggests the driver was under the influence of one or more drugs; it does not confirm his impairment.

Probationary License (PBL):

A driver's license with limited driving privileges, such as only for employment or school-related purposes. Also known as a "red license."

Suppression:

A motion to throw out evidence that law enforcement lacked the proper legal justification to stop, search, or seize and was obtained in violation of your rights.

THC (delta 9-tetrahydrocannabinol):

The psychoactive chemical in marijuana. The legal driving limit in Colorado is 5 nanograms of THC per milliliter in whole blood.

Vehicle Impoundment:

Confiscating and towing a vehicle to a police holding lot until it can be placed back in the control of the owner or otherwise dealt with.

Zero Tolerance:

Colorado law states drivers under the age of 21 with a BAC between 0.02 and 0.08% face an automatic revocation of their license.



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