If you have been charged with drunk driving, chances are that you will soon start to hear a number of words and phrases you aren’t yet familiar with. While your Vista DUI attorney will be happy to explain any of these new terms for you, it can be useful to have a resource where you can look up the words yourself whenever you need them. Here are some of the most common terms you might hear associated with driving under the influence charges in Vista.
Administrative Per Se Suspension: When you fail a chemical test or refuse to take one after being arrested for drunk driving, your license will automatically be suspended, even before you go to trial. In fact, when you failed the test, your license was probably taken from you and you were given a pink form which is both your temporary license and the Adminsitrative Per Se Suspension (APS) notice of suspension. The suspension takes effect 30 days from the arrest date unless you your Vista DUI lawyer files for a suspension revocation hearing within ten days.
Blood Alcohol Concentration: The concentration of alcohol in the blood stream. This measurement allows police and courts a simple, standard measurement to determine whether a person is intoxicated or not. It is illegal to drive with a BAC of above .08%, though commercial truck drivers must abide by a standard of .05% and minors cannot have a BAC above .01% while driving. Often abbreviated BAC, this measurement cannot be used to determine if someone is under the influence of a drug. Occasionally, BAC is also called Blood Alcohol Level or BAL.
Chemical DUI Tests: A test used to measure the amount of alcohol or drugs in someone’s system. In California, blood or breath tests will be used on those suspected of driving under the influence of alcohol and urine tests are generally only used in cases involving suspected drug use. All of these chemical tests are subject to error and your Vista DUI attorney can fight the results of such tests in court.
Driving Under The Influence: Commonly abbreviated to DUI, this is the charge placed against those who have more than the legal limit of alcohol in their system while driving, or who have had their driving impaired through the use of drugs or alcohol. In other states, this charge may go by different names such as Driving While Intoxicated (DWI) or Driving While Under the Influence (DWUI).
Enhancements: In the California court system, an enhancement is any kind of factor that may subject you to additional penalties. In DUI cases, enhancements include reckless driving, an excessively high BAC, previous DUIs, having a child in the car, or being in an accident where someone is seriously injured.
Field Sobriety Tests: An onsite sobriety test that can be performed by a police officer who suspects someone of driving under the influence. These tests may include following a pen or finger with your eyes, walking in a straight line and turning, or balancing on one leg. While the results of these tests can easily be disputed by Vista DUI attorneys, it is not mandatory and you are generally better off declining to take these tests.
Ignition Interlock Device: A court-mandated device that you may be instructed to install in your vehicle if you are convicted of a DUI. If you have such a device installed, you will need to provide a breath sample in order to start and operate your vehicle.
Preliminary Alcohol Screening: A portable breathalyzer test that can be performed by the police on the field. Unlike other chemical tests, this breathalyzer screening is not mandatory and you have the right to refuse to take the test, unless you are a minor, in which case you are legally required to submit to a preliminary alcohol screening when it is requested.
Zero Tolerance: The California law that states minors cannot have a BAC above .01% while driving because they may not have any alcohol legally. You will also be subject to zero tolerance if you are on probation for a previous DUI. By violating a zero tolerance DUI law, you will be subject to a one year license suspension.
If you have any other questions about DUI laws or language, please call Vista criminal attorney Peter M. Liss at (760) 643-4050.
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