NJ DWI Glossary & Terms

Absorption Rate –The time it takes alcohol to enter the bloodstream.

AERF –Alcohol Education and Rehabilitation Fund a state fund dedicated to educating the public on the dangers of alcoholism. If you get convicted of a DUI in New Jersey, you will need to pay money to the AERF as part of your sentence.

BAC –Blood Alcohol Concentration. BAC, sometimes called Blood Alcohol Level, is measured in percentages and judged the amount of alcohol in a person’s system. In New Jersey, your BAC must be under 0.08% to drive, or 0.01% if you are a minor.

Blood Test –A test to measure a person’s BAC using their blood. This method can also detect if a person has been using drugs.

Breath Test –A test measuring a person’s BAC using a machine to evaluate alcohol fumes on the breath. These tests are somewhat inaccurate and can be thrown off by regurgitation or food consumption. These tests cannot be used to evaluate the use of narcotics. A skilled New Jersey DUI attorney can use the known inaccuracies of a breath test to your advantage in a trial.

Breathalyzer –The machine used in a breath test to evaluate a person’s BAC.

Burnoff –The time it takes for someone to metabolize, or burn off, alcohol in their system.

Commercial Vehicle –Vehicles exclusively for commercial use. Commercially licensed drivers are expected to maintain a higher level of driving safety than the average person and, therefore, face more harsh penalties for DUI convictions.

Dram Shop Liability –The responsibility of a bar, restaurant or other establishment offering alcohol, to not serve people obviously intoxicated or minors. If someone is injured in a DUI accident, they may sue the establishment providing alcohol to the driver.

DUI –Driving Under the Influence of alcohol or drugs.

DUI School –Classes reminding DUI convicts why they should not drink and drive. In New Jersey, these classes take place at the Intoxicated Driver Resource Center at the cost of the convicted driver.

DUID –Driving Under the Influence of Drugs.

Expungement –The process of getting a criminal record sealed or destroyed. Juvenile crimes are frequently removed from a person’s record to provide them with a clean slate upon adulthood. To get a minor’s DUI record expunged, contact an experienced New Jersey DUI attorney.

Felony DUI –Subsequent DUI convictions and DUIs with a minor in the car are felony charges in New Jersey.

Field Sobriety Test –Tests provided by a police officer to see if a person is driving under the influence. There are three standard FST, including the walk and turn, the one legged stand and the horizontal gaze nystagmus. These tests cannot accurately measure if a person has been using a narcotic.

Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus –A test requiring the subject to follow an object in the air, such as a finger or a pen. Jerky eye movements can cause a failure in this test.

IDRC –Intoxicated Driver Resource Center. A place where people convicted of drunk driving have to attend mandatory drunk driving classes and counseling at their expense, as part of their sentence.

Ignition Interlock Device –A device attached near a car’s steering wheel. When a driver seeks to use their vehicle, they must submit a breath sample to the device. If there is alcohol on the person’s breath, they will not be able to start their car.

Impairment – When a person’s mental or physical abilities are disturbed by a substance not normally in the body. Also called intoxication.

Implied Consent –A person’s consent to a BAC test given, not at the time they are suspected of having a DUI, but when they sign to get their driver’s license.

MADD –Mothers Against Drunk Driving. One of the biggest drunk driving protest associations in America. Currently, MADD is campaigning to have an administrative license revocation rule added to New Jersey law. These rules allow the DMV to revoke your license before you are convicted of a DUI. If this law is enacted, you will need a New Jersey DUI attorney to fight, not only at a criminal trial, but also at a DMV hearing.

Misdemeanor DUI –Your first DUI conviction is a misdemeanor, but if you have caused an accident or had a minor in the car with you, it may still be a felony.

National College of DUI Defense –A group, made up largely of DUI attorneys, dedicated to improving the rights of drivers accused of drunk driving.

National Highway Traffic Safety Administration –The government agency with the most responsibility for researching DUIs. This group studies DUI statistics, provides education about the effects of drunk driving and helps to develop and evaluate new tests that measure intoxication of inebriated drivers.

One-Leg-Stand test –A test to determine if a person has been drinking. To perform this test, a subject must stand on one leg, look at their foot and count aloud.

Open Container Laws –Laws preventing a person from driving with open alcohol containers in their car. In New Jersey, a first time open container offense costs $200.

Per Se Laws –A law stating that even if a person seems totally in control of their actions, they still are driving intoxicated if their BAC is over 0.08% or 0.01% if they are a minor.

Reasonable Doubt –A legal standard stating that a person cannot be convicted if a reasonable person still has a logical doubt to his or her guilt.

Regurgitation –Vomiting, belching or other rejection of stomach contents. Because regurgitation can add extra vapors in a person’s mouth, a breathalyzer test should not be performed within 15 minutes of regurgitating.

Retrograde extrapolation –An estimate of a person’s intoxication level while driving, based on what their BAC was when they were chemically tested.

Rising Alcohol Defense –The concept that a person could be under the legal limit while driving, but additional alcohol absorption could occur between that time and the time of the test.

Sobriety Checkpoints –A point on a road where police evaluate all drivers for potential intoxication.

Under the Influence –A person’s incapacity to control a vehicle because they have used drugs or alcohol.

Urine Test –A DUI test performed on a person’s urine to determine their BAC. This type of testing can measure narcotic use better than breathalyzer tests, but can be inaccurate in measuring the intoxication level of a person drinking.

Vehicle – Any mode of transportation, not limited to cars, trucks, boats and bikes.

Walk-and-Turn test –A field sobriety test requiring a person to walk heel-to-toe in a line, then turn and return heel-to-toe.

Zero Tolerance –The law regarding a minor’s ability to drink and drive. Any minor with 0.01% BAC or above can be convicted of a DUI.

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