Glossary of DUI Terms

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Insight from a Atlanta DUI Lawyer

Whether you're facing your first DUI arrest or you have been through the process before, it is helpful to have a firm grasp on drunk driving terminology. A more comprehensive understanding of the law and the lingo can help you better navigate the DUI process. While this is not an exhaustive list, an Atlanta DUI attorney from The Law Offices of Richard S. Lawson can provide more insight in a free consultation.

ALS: This stands for "administrative license suspension" and it is what will happen automatically if you do not schedule an ALS hearing within 30 days of your arrest. At an ALS hearing, you can contest your DUI stop and get your driving privileges restored.

Alcohol Absorption: This term is directly connected with the chemical (breath, blood or urine) testing process. When speaking of the "absorption rate," this is referring to the rate at which alcohol enters the blood stream. Many different factors can change the alcohol absorption rate, such as the food the individual ate, if the individual was sick, etc.

BAC: This is an acronym for blood alcohol concentration. This refers to the percentage of alcohol in a person's blood. A BAC of .08% or above is considered illegal in the United States. The acceptable percentage is lower for those under the age of 21 and commercial truck drivers.

Burn-Off Rate: This term refers to the pace at which alcohol enters the blood stream and them metabolizes. "Metabolizing" is the process the body uses to turn food and drink into energy for the body. Everyone has a different burn-off rate. The rate can differ depending upon a person's body type, age, lifestyle, etc.

Dram Shop & Dram Shop Liability: Most states have what are known as "dram shop" laws. These laws enable a victim of a DUI to hold an enabling party responsible/liable for the injuries sustained because of a drunk driver. For example, the family of a drunk driving victim could bring a lawsuit against the bar that sold the drunk driver alcohol if they were already visibly intoxicated.

Implied Consent: According to the Georgia Department of Driver Services (DDS), if an individual is arrested and they are asked to submit to a breath or blood (chemical) test, then they cannot refuse due to implied consent laws. Everyone who is issued a driver license in the state of Georgia is essentially gives their consent to submit to this type of test should a lawful arrest occur. If the driver refuses, then law enforcement will likely issue the driver a temporary DS-1205 license suspension.

Limited Driving Permits: Only certain individuals will qualify for a limited driving permit if their license has been suspended. This type of permit allows an individual with a suspended license to drive under certain circumstances, such as only to and from work.

Miranda Rights: When you hear a police officer saying that you "have the right to remain silent," they are explaining your Miranda rights to you. Law enforcement must explain a person's Fifth and Sixth Amendment rights to someone while they are being arrested. Failure to inform someone of their rights might void a case.

Open Container: An open container refers to an open alcoholic beverage container such as a beer bottle, can, etc. that contains an alcoholic beverage in it of any amount. If this container has a broken seal or is open with some of the contents missing (presumably consumed), then an open container ticket will likely be issued. The maximum fine is $200.

Zero Tolerance Laws: According to the Georgia Department of Public Safety (DPS), "zero tolerance" refers to an anti-drunk driving campaign that involves a series of sobriety checkpoints and heavy highway patrol focus on drinking and driving. In many states, zero tolerance refers to an actual law that prevents those under the age of 21 from having any trace amount of alcohol in their system while driving. In Georgia, an individual under 21 can be arrested for DUI if they have over .02% BAC.

Do not hesitate to contact an Atlanta DUI lawyer from the firm if you have further questions. Consultations are free and confidential, so you have nothing to lose!

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