Georgia DUI Definitions

Administrative License Suspension (ALS): An automatic suspension of a Georgia driver's license for refusal of a breath test or BAC content greater than the legal limit of 0.08 percent. This may not be the only enforced infraction; an ALS in Georgia may be in addition to any criminal penalties that result from conviction of a DUI charge.

Alcohol Equivalence: The same amount of alcohol can be found in a can or bottle of beer (12oz), a moderately sized glass of wine (5oz), or a shot of distilled spirits in a shot or mixed drink (1oz). A driver can be found DUI in Georgia with consumption of any of these, a common misunderstanding arises from the driver who claims to “have only had a few drinks.”

Alcohol Monitoring Device: Commonly known as SCRAMs (Secure Continuous Remote Alcohol Monitors) bracelet, alcohol monitoring devices are used to track the alcohol consumption of those convicted of alcohol-related offenses such as DUI. The SCRAM bracelet works by recording alcohol content in the sweat from the wearer's skin and transmits data by radio signal to a modem. Monitoring bracelets can be used instead of random sobriety tests or jail time.

Arrest (DUI Arrest): If a driver is pulled over for suspicion of DUI and found to be above the legal limit in Georgia, you will be taken into police custody.

Blood Alcohol Content (BAC): a measure of how much alcohol one has consumed. This number is expressed as a percentage and is used to determine impairment per se in many DUI cases. Also referred to as blood alcohol concentration. Blood alcohol content can be measured by taking a blood sample, and is often approximated by breathalyzer machines. The legal BAC limit for operating a vehicle in the United States is .08%.

Breath Alcohol Content: the concentration of alcohol in a person's breath. Breathalyzers measure this and use the figure to estimate blood alcohol content. In some instances, estimates of blood alcohol content based on breath alcohol content are incorrect and can be contested in criminal court.

Breath Test: a test that measures breath alcohol content (or breath alcohol concentration). Breathalyzer machines, which are commonly used to administer breath tests, estimate BAC based on breath alcohol content.

Breathalyzer: a machine that administers breath tests. Breathalyzers measure breath alcohol content (concentration) and then estimate BAC from that figure. The formula used to convert breath alcohol content to BAC is based on a hypothetical "average person."If you are asked to blow into a breathalyzer and your measurements (height, weight, muscle-to-fat ratio) are different from those of the "average person," the estimated BAC could be incorrect. Many DUI lawyers have successfully challenged breathalyzer results in court.

Burden of Proof: the responsibility of proving allegations in a legal context. In Georgia DUI cases, burden of proof is used to determine guilt or innocence. If the person accused of DUI has a BAC reading of .08% or higher at the time of the arrest, the burden of proof lies with the defendant to prove that he or she was not impaired while driving. If the accused has a BAC below .08%, the state must prove that he or she was impaired when arrested.

Charge/DUI Charge: a formal legal accusation. If you are charged with DUI, the legal system has officially recognized that you are suspected of the crime of driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs. DUI charges can be met with a plea of guilty, not guilty or, in some states, nolo contendere or no contest; not guilty pleas generally lead to courtroom trials, guilty pleas to out-of-court arrangements.

Driver's License Revocation: The cancellation of Georgia driving privileges. The offender must reapply for a driver's license after a designated length of time, whereas with a suspension there is no need to reapply.

Driver's License Suspension: The temporary withholding of driving privileges. If your driver’s license is suspended, you will not be able to drive for a set period of time, but you need not reapply as with a Georgia Driver’s License Revocation.

Field Sobriety Test: Simple exercises used by a Georgia Law Enforcement officer to test a person's sobriety when stopped for suspected drinking and driving. The test may measure a person's mental awareness, speech, or physical coordination. May also be known as a roadside test.

Ignition Interlock Device: An ignition interlock device is an in-car alcohol breath screening device that prevents a vehicle from starting if it detects a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) over a pre-set limit of .02 (i.e., 20 mg of alcohol per 100 ml of blood). The device is connected to the engine’s ignition and is typically situated near the driver’s seat inside the vehicle. The device may be mandatory in many states for those convicted of DUI.

Open Container: An open container of alcohol of any kind to which there is driver or passenger accessibility inside a vehicle, moving or stopped. You are not allowed to have an open container of alcohol in Georgia in a vehicle at any time.

Sobriety Checkpoints: A select location where Georgia law enforcement officers systematically stop selected vehicles(random or every 3rd or 4th vehicle, etc.) to investigate drivers for potential DWI or DUI violations. If there is evidence of intoxication, a more thorough investigation ensues.

Urine Test: A chemical based laboratory test performed on the urine of a DUI suspect to determine the BAC, or blood alcohol level. Results can sometimes be inaccurate due to the mixing of higher alcohol level urine from earlier with lower alcohol level urine closer to the driver’s being pulled over. Can give an artificially high reading for that reason.


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