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5 DUI Terms Every Driver Should Know

By Daniel Taylor, Esq. | Last updated on

Chances are good that you already know what DUI means.

After all, drunken driving -- no matter what you call the offense -- is a crime in every state. But while DUI might be a familiar legal term to most laypeople, many of the other words and phrases associated with DUI law may not be.

Here are five DUI terms that every driver should know:

  1. Wet reckless. A "wet reckless" typically refers to a lesser charge to which DUI defendants may be able to plead in some states. In California for example, prosecutors may offer the defendant the opportunity to plead guilty to the lesser charge of wet reckless, with the understanding that this conviction will be considered a prior DUI offense if the defendant is charged with DUI again in the future.
  2. FST. FST stands for field sobriety tests, the roadside tests used by law enforcement to gauge a driver's sobriety. These often occur following a DUI stop, and they can include a range of tests that allow a law enforcement officer to observe a suspect's balance, attention level, and other physical characteristics which may indicate the suspect is intoxicated.
    • Know someone who has been arrested or charged with a drunken driving offense? Get in touch with a knowledgeable DUI attorney in your area today.
  3. BAC. Your BAC is your blood alcohol concentration. Blood alcohol concentration is the legal measurement of the amount of alcohol in a person's blood at any given time. A BAC reading above the legal limit -- generally .08 for those above the legal drinking age -- can result in a DUI arrest.
  4. Implied consent. Implied consent is the legal mechanism by which law enforcement can compel a driver to take a field sobriety or chemical impairment test under threat of legal penalty. When drivers apply for a driver's license, they generally provide implied consent to DUI tests administered by law enforcement. Refusal to take one or more of these tests following a DUI stop can be punished by enhanced criminal penalties and automatic suspension or loss of driver's license.
  5. Ignition interlock. Ignition interlock devices may be installed on vehicles operated by those convicted of DUI. These devices measure a driver's BAC, preventing a vehicle from being operated if alcohol is detected on the driver's breath. Ignition interlock devices can sometimes be installed by drivers convicted of DUI in lieu of other punishments, such as license suspension, but installation may also be ordered by courts for DUI convictions meeting certain statutory requirements.

If you are facing DUI-related charges, a DUI lawyer can help explain the charges and your legal options.

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