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Traffic Law Glossary

Accusation Field Sobriety Tests
Administrative License Suspension First Offender Plea
Alcohol and Drug Evaluation FTA
Alco Sensor Georgia DNR
Anti-Plea Bargaining Laws Graduated licensing program
BAC (Blood Alcohol Content) Habeas corpus
Bill of Rights Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus HGN
Boating Under the Influence Implied Consent Warning
Breathalyzer Ignition Interlock Device
BUI Mandatory Suspendable Offenses
Distracted Driving Misdemeanor
Driving Record Nolo Contendere
DUI Open Container Laws
DUI “per se” level Paraphernalia
DUI Task Force Post Conviction Relief
DUI School Previous Offense
DWI Probation
Chemical Test Probation Revocation
Child Endangerment Radar Gun
Citation Reckless Driving
Controlled Substance Refusal
Different Breathalyzer Tests Retainer
Dram Shop Laws Risk Reduction
Drug Possession Sobriety Checkpoint
Drug Scheduling Standard drink
Elimination Super Speeder
Expungment Work Release
Extrapolation Zero Tolerance
Fake ID
Felony
Accusation: A document containing several “counts”, or individual charges brought against a person.
Administrative License Suspension: The procedure by which a person can have his/her license suspended even before going to court on the DUI. Generally in most states, a person’s license can be administratively suspended if the person registers above a certain BAC or refuses the State Chemical test.
Alcohol and Drug Evaluation: A process in which a qualified alcohol evaluator determines whether a person has a possible abuse problem; the evaluation itself can take one to three hours. The results can indicate that the person needs a 17 week program. A&Ds are mandatory in Georgia on all 2nd and subsequent DUI convictions.
Alco Sensor: A type of breathalyzer used as a preliminary breath test by officers in the field to determine Blood Alcohol Content (BAC).
Anti-Plea Bargaining Laws: Laws that prevent pleas to lessen the defendant’s offense.
BAC (Blood Alcohol Content): Also called Blood Alcohol Concentration. The amount of alcohol in your blood as shown by a chemical test.
Boating Under the Influence: operating a watercraft under the influence of an amount of alcohol or other drugs outside the state’s legal limits.
Breathalyzer: A machine that determines the blood alcohol content through the amount of alcohol in the lungs. “The Breath Test”.
BUI: Boating under the influence of alcohol.
Distracted Driving: A specific inattention by a driver that diverts their focus away from the road.
Driving Record: Records that provide a history of violations, suspensions and other details about a person’s driving history including DUIs.
DUI: Driving Under the Influence of alcohol or any other drugs while operating any vehicle (car, boat, etc.)
DUI “per se” level: When a person suspected of DUI records a blood alcohol content of .08% or higher from a breath or blood test and is automatically charged for a DUI without the need of additional supporting factors to pr guilt.
DUI Task Force: A group of police officers with specialized training on DUI detection. These officers specifically focus on drunk drivers; many have videos in their patrol cars; many units receive money grants from State and Federal governments.
DUI School: Also known as “Risk Reduction”, it is currently a 20 hour class that is required to obtain license reinstatement due to a DUI license suspension. For more info go to the DDS web site.
DWI: Driving While Intoxicated or Driving While Impaired while under the Influence of alcohol or any other drugs while operating any vehicle (car, boat, etc.)
Chemical Test: A breath, blood, or urine test used to measure the amount of alcohol in a person’s blood in order to determine intoxication.
Child Endangerment: Whether a child under 14 was in the vehicle during an arrest. May result in enhanced sanctions and penalties.
Citation: A legal document issued to a person charged with an offense. Usually indicates a court date and the charge placed against the person.
Controlled Substance: A drug or chemical that is regulated by state and federal governments in the areas of production, custody, and usage.
Different Breathalyzer Tests:
  1. BAC Datamaster – uses infrared spectroscopy to estimate blood-alcohol level. These devices can make mistakes, especially if they are stored improperly or calibrated poorly.
  2. Breathalyzer – uses a breath sample to estimate blood-alcohol level. Now being phased out, the term “breathalyzer” is a common term for any breath-testing device.
  3. Intoxylizer – uses infrared spectroscopy to estimate blood-alcohol level.
  4. Intoximeter – may use a combination of fuel cell and infrared spectroscopy technology to determine blood-alcohol content.

Dram Shop Laws: Placing responsibility on the business that served alcohol to someone already intoxicated; if an accident or serious injury results, liability may also be placed.
Drug Possession: The crime of having illegal drugs or components of illegal drugs within your ownership for use, sale, or production of illegal substances.
Drug Scheduling: A system of classification by which the state and federal governments determine drug possession charges based on the potential for addiction, medically approved uses, and effects on the user.
Elimination: The amount of time it takes for the body to reduce the amount of alcohol in the blood. Your body’s metabolism can generally remove one drink per hour.
Expungment: A process whereby a person’s criminal arrest is deleted. In most States expungment is not available for a DUI arrest.
Extrapolation: The estimation of one’s BAC from at a specific time, taking into account age, weight, amount consumed, time spent drinking, etc.
Fake ID: An identification showing that someone under aged is actually over 21. Penalties can include suspension of driver’s license; under some circumstances, can be considered a felony.
Felony: A crime where the penalty is over a year in jail. DUIs are mostly misdemeanors, but in some States a DUI can be elevated to felony status in certain situations, like repeat or habitual offenses, or any DUI-related fatalities.
Field Sobriety Tests:
  1. Standard Field Sobriety Test – 3 tests, consisting of a horizontal gaze test, walk-and-turn test, and the one-leg stand test.
  2. Divided Attention Testing – A test where one must follow instructions and listen while performing basic physical movements; the walk-and-turn and one-leg stand tests are examples.
  3. Common Sobriety Tests – The following are simple tests generally used to find probable cause of a DUI: Counting, Finger-to-Nose, Reciting the Alphabet, Standing on One Leg, Walking a Line, Walk-and-Turn, and the Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus.

First Offender Plea: A plea whereby the Defendant “pleads” guilty, but the case is dismissed after the Defendant has completed certain conditions of his/her sentence. Most States do not allow first offender on DUI cases, but do allow first offender on drug possession cases.
FTA: Failure to appear. If a person fails to appear on their scheduled court date, several things may happen. Any bond will be forfeited to the court system. The driver’s license could be suspended or revoked. A warrant may be issued.
Georgia DNR: Also known as the Georgia Department of Natural Resources, this department has the authority to stop boaters when suspicious of BUI.
Graduated licensing program: State mandated laws requiring new drivers (typically teens) to acquire a certain number of practice driving hours before they receive their licenses as well as restrictions to the age and number of passengers they’re allowed to carry initially.
Habeas corpus: action filed to challenge the legality of an individual’s incarceration.
Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus HGN: A field sobriety test sometimes used to determine drunk driving. When impaired, jerking or bouncing of the eye gaze (nystagmus) becomes more pronounced, indicating drunk driving.
Implied Consent Warning: The only “rights” that must be read to a DUI suspect before the State can request a State chemical test of the suspect’s blood, breath, urine, or other bodily substance. The arresting officer must read the ICW (normally from an orange colored card) at the time of arrest.
Ignition Interlock Device: A device the size of a cell phone, placed in a car; the driver must blow into the device, and if any measurable amount of alcohol is present, the car will not start. Mandatory for multiple DUI offenders in most States, and for even first time offenders in some states.
Mandatory Suspendable Offenses: Georgia Code 40-5-54 provides that a conviction of the following traffic violations results in a mandatory license suspension: Vehicular Homicide; Serious injury by vehicle; Felony while using a motor vehicle; Unlawful or fraudulent use of a license or ID; Driving on suspended, revoked or cancelled license; Racing; Hit and Run; Fleeing and Eluding; DUI.
Misdemeanor: Crimes where the maximum punishment is one year in jail and a $1000 fine. DUIs are generally misdemeanors. Multiple DUI convictions can be considered a “high and aggravated” misdemeanor which can result in higher fines.
Nolo Contendere: A form of plea meaning “no contest” – a person will not defend the charges placed against them. Usually unavailable in DUI cases; if available, pleading “nolo” almost always counts as a DUI charge and with it, license suspension and mandatory minimum punishment.
Open Container Laws: This law prohibits the drinking of alcohol inside a vehicle or public area. As far as inside a vehicle is concerned, some states won’t allow anyone in the vehicle to have open containers, while others won’t allow the driver to have an open container.
Paraphernalia: Any apparatus, invention, or object that is created or modified for manufacture, use, or disguise of illegal substances.
Post conviction relief: The process of reversing a criminal plea or pursuing expungement of a criminal record.
Previous Offense: Conviction of drug possession or DUI before the current conviction, often causes harsher punishments.
Probation: A judge can issue probation in lieu of some or all of a convicted offender’s jail time. The offender must not violate the law, must complete the sentence and must report to their probation officer as required.
Probation Revocation: If a person on probation fails to comply with his/her sentence or violates any of the terms of probation, their probation can be “revoked” by the judge, and the probationer can be sentenced to jail.
Radar Gun: Tool used by police officers to detect a driver’s speed.
Reckless Driving: Operating a motor vehicle without regard for the safety of others.
Refusal: Refusing to take either a chemical or breath test. In most states, refusing these tests results in immediate license suspension.
Retainer: This is, essentially a contract between the lawyer and the defendant, allowing the lawyer to act on the person’s behalf and represent them in legal matters. SR-22 Insurance: Insurance stating a driver has liability coverage and the insurance company will be notified if it is cancelled. This type of insurance is necessary in most states for those who have a DUI conviction.
Risk Reduction: see DUI School.
Sobriety Checkpoint: Temporary checkpoints or road blocks that police set up to check drivers for alcohol consumption and intoxicated driving.
Standard drink: Any drink that contains about 0.6 fluid ounces of pure alcohol.
Super Speeder: In Georgia, a person convicted of speeding 85 mile per hour on more on Interstates, and 75 miles per hour or more on two lane roads. The consequences: an additional fine of $200 from Driver’s Services; if the fine is not paid within 90 days of notice from DDS, the license is suspended.
Work Release: A form of incarceration whereby the defendant goes to work during the day, then returns to jail at night.
Zero Tolerance: Law allowing penalties for those under 21 with negligible amounts of alcohol in their system; Illegal to drive with any amount of alcohol in their system.

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Disclaimer

The above information is intended to help educate members of the Georgia motoring public as to their rights under the law and to assist presumptively innocent citizens in properly asserting those rights. Information within this site should not be misconstrued as legal advice.