By: William C. Head, Criminal Defense Attorney Atlanta and a famous DUI Attorney Atlanta GA

DUI Meaning: The Crime of Drunk Driving and Drugged Driving in America

For the last 100 years, about 60,000,000 impaired driving arrests were made in America, yet clients ask our DUI-DWI lawyers, “what constitutes a DUI?” People in other nations do not utilize the same under the influence meaning or acronyms. In fact, England calls the crime “drink driving,” even though more crimes other than under the influence of alcohol are criminalized.

So, what is a DUI? It is the acronym (abbreviation) identifying the motor vehicle crime for which local law (by any other acronym) seeks to arrest, prosecute and punish that person for putting the public at risk. A secondary goal of an arresting officer making DUI charges is to suspend or revoke his or her driving privileges.

Wikipedia offers these words to define driving under the influence (DUI):

Driving Under the Influence Definition in GA

In seeking to define DUI in America, we can get a ballpark definition of DUI from Merriam-Webster. Because all states’ DUI laws vary in wording and scope, a garden-variety dictionary only scratches the surface. Original laws (NY and NM were the first states) dating back to 1910 were only targeting a driver’s blood alcohol content.

Today’s legislation comprehensively criminalizes being all impairing substances of any type of substance ingested. The author of this article has expanded the “book” definition of DUI or DWI to this:

The most precise “DUI meaning” covers the criminal act of a person operating, driving, or being “in actual physical control” of a vehicle while that person is controlling the vehicle, and is affected by either alcohol, drugs, or some other substance. While not universal, most states define DUI for MOTOR vehicles, but others broadly proscribe a person being on ANY vehicle, including a bicycle, wheelchair, horse, or scooter.

Unique in the WORLD for not having a national impaired driving standard, each state’s legislative body has passed and revised its drinking and driving and drugged driving laws dozens of times. Thus, no singular DUI acronym or DUI meaning exists.

While every states’ officers use field sobriety tests at the roadside, almost no states have law requiring a suspected drunk driver to participate. In fact, these physical tests have been criticized in appellate decisions as lacking a scientific foundation or basis.

What Does DUI Stand For?

The “D” stands for driving, but many states use “operating,” and most states have written their laws to eliminate the need to see a person driving or operating a vehicle. The “U” stands for the word “under.” Hence, you can now answer the question, “what’s an OWI?”

The “I” most commonly represents “influence,” but as will be stated below, virtually every state has enacted secondary statutes or subsections that criminalize being above the legal limit, commonly called DUI per se statutes. In addition, the aggravated DUI or extreme DUI statutes in West Virginia and Arizona, respectively, are big time trouble, if convicted in those two states.

All but a dozen states use either DUI vs DWI for their abbreviation of the crime “drunk driving.” Very little distinction between a DUI and DWI charge exist. Almost no distinction exists from the mere acronym uses, and so no difference between DUI and DWI can be expected.

Yet, the “DWI” states individually define the crime. In some of those states, the laws call DWI stands for driving intoxicated. on others, the statutory language for DWI means driving while impaired. The same phrase applies to the crime pertaining to blood alcohol concentration and being impaired or under the influence of drugs.

Two Types Of DUI-Alcohol Convictions Are Possible In GA

DUI Per Se meaning – Being over the alcohol legal limit for your age and vehicle type, regardless of symptoms or signs of impairment. Underage drivers in Georgia are held to a 0.02 grams percent BAC limit, the driver of a commercial motor vehicle cannot exceed 0.04 grams percent, and all others have a 0.08 grams percent blood alcohol content limit.

Other than Utah, which lowered its “adult” permissible blood alcohol concentration to 0.05 grams percent in 2018, all other states still use 0.08 grams percent as the BAC level for drivers age 21 and over, who are not operating a CMV (commercial truck).

DUI Less Safe meaning in Georgia – Officers in the Peach State can arrest any driver (regardless of being able to obtain a forensic test after arrest), if he or she can testify to or otherwise show (e.g., via body camera) observations of diminished motor skills and cognitive function.

Don’t Hire an Amateur to Try to Win A Case That A DUI Expert Needs to Handle

Best Attorneys for Driving Under the Influence in Georgia

Five things should be researched and known about our philosophy and attitude toward defending DUI cases before calling our law firm’s number:

  1. The DUI case evaluation and FREE lawyer consultation near me applies to all Georgia cases;
  2. Our law firm is interested in FIGHTING the case, not pleading guilty.
  3. The FREE PDF copy of Mr. Head’s 430-page DUI book will guide and educate you on DUI terminology and court-related terms;
  4. If your case is in other parts of the state of GA or in another state, our lawyers for DUI defense can still assist you; and
  5. Rest assured that NO OTHER Georgia law firm has better credentials than our three-partner, award-winning Atlanta DUI lawyers. Each of our attorneys in Atlanta, Larry Kohn, ex-cop Cory Yager and Bubba Head is well-known for successful DUI defense in GA.

DIAL 404-567-5515, and tell us HOW and WHEN we can meet or talk in detail via Facetime or other method. You will be glad you did.

Key DUI Laws in Georgia That May Be of Interest:

Main Statute: O.C.G.A. 40-6-391

Georgia DUI Schools for Risk Reduction DUI Classes

Alcohol and Drug Substance Abuse Counselor Link

DUI Testing Statute: O.C.G.A. 40-6-392

Is a DUI a Felony?

Statute on Felony Vehicular Homicide by DUI or Reckless Driving: O.C.G.A. 40-3-394

Felony Serious Injury by Vehicle: O.C.G.A. 40-3-394