It’s common to hear commercials and prosecutors using the words, under the influence, to define DUI. But what does “under the influence” really mean? First, I’ll tell you what it doesn’t mean: slurred speech, unsteady walk, and failure to stand on one leg without using your arms for balance.
The Legal meaning of under the influence is that a driver is “less proficient, less skillful, less coherent, less able, and less efficient to drive a car.” Most of us can readily tell when someone is under the influence, then, can’t we? Most of us don’t need to see if a person can walk a straight line, stand on one leg, or have that person blow into a computer; we can tell and we know. Next time someone uses the phrase, “under the influence” ask them exactly what they mean by that term. If they don’t say something along the lines of “a person is incapable of driving a car safely”, then you know that they don’t really know the meaning of “under the influence”.