CA Drunk Driving Glossary

California DUI Terms
Definition of California DUI terms regarding Driving Under the Influce (California DUI) charges.

ALS (Administrative License Suspension)
A California law that allows the suspension of the license of a driver charged with DUI, in addition to the sanctions imposed as a result of a court conviction.

BAC (Blood Alcohol Concentration)
Your blood alcohol concentration or BAC is the concentration of alcohol in the bloodstream. Measured in percentages, this amount is used to determine the intoxication of an individual. Your blood alcohol concentration can be measured by testing breath, blood or urine. Most states have adopted BAC laws that make it illegal to drive with a BAC at or above a set amount. Most states have adopted 0.08% as the highest allowable concentration. Though you may still be found to be intoxicated even if your BAC is below this amount.

Breathalyzer Machine
A machine used by law enforcement officers to measure the BAC of suspected drunk drivers via their breath. The California breahalyzer machine of choice is the “Datamaster”.

Community Service
Depending on the offense and its severity, the prosecutor may offer community service as part of your conviction and/or probation.

Conditional License
A California conditional license is a license granted on the condition you complete a DUI class or alcohol treatment program or other requirement. Once the condition has been met, a standard license is generally issued or reinstated.

DUI School
California DUI schools are typically drug and alcohol education programs designed to help you realize how dangerous drinking and driving is and to hopefully ensure you are not a repeat offender. Your state will likely have a list of approved schools for you to choose from.

California DUI (Driving Under the Influence)
In California this is the act of operating a motor vehicle after consuming alcohol or other drugs to the extent that your mental and/or motor skills are impaired. In other states and jurisdictions this offense may also be called DWI, OWI, or OMVI. [link to the other definitions]

Felony DUI
Serious crimes such as murder, aggravated assault, arson, burglary, etc are considered felonies. A third conviction for drinking and driving is also a felony in most states. Felonies are considered more serious than misdemeanors and as such the punishments are more severe.

Ignition Interlock Device (IID)
This is breathalyzer machine [link above] installed in cars to prevent a vehicle from starting if it detects a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) over a pre-set limit. The device is located inside the vehicle, near the driver’s seat, and is connected to the engine’s ignition system. Many states require that the device be used by those convicted of DUI especially repeat offenders.

Implied Consent Laws
These laws state that by simply having a driver’s license you consent to BAC tests if pulled over for suspicion of a DUI. In many states, you can refuse to take the test, but your license may be suspended.

License Suspension
In California, your drivers license can be taken your and driving privileges suspended even before a trial or conviction of a DUI [link to definition] for either failing of refusing the breathalyzer test. A license suspension means you may not drive for the period of your suspension. Driving privileges are typically administered by the Secretary of State and not the court system. You, or your lawyer on your behalf, may be able to negotiate a limited suspension, meaning you may drive to and from work, but nowhere else an ALS (Administrative License Suspension) [link] hearing.

Misdemeanor DUI
In California, this is a crime considered less serious than a felony. These crimes never result in the loss of civil rights, but may result in the loss of privileges such as professional licenses or public employment. Many states treat a first DUI conviction as a misdemeanor.

Open Container Laws
In California , these laws make it illegal to have or drink from an open container of alcohol in designated areas. This law most commonly applies to having alcohol in vehicles. Some jurisdictions even consider drinking alcohol in a parked car a DUI offense.

Probation In California, when you are convicted of a crime, such as DUI, the judge may suspend part or all of your jail sentence, instead placing you on probation. The judge can also place conditions on your probation such as staying employed, abstaining from illegal behavior, and following a probation officer’s orders. Jail time may be reinstated if it is found the terms of probation are being violated.

Provisional (or Restricted) License
In California, a provisional license typically takes away certain driving privileges. In regards to a DUI , a provisional or restricted drivers license might be granted to someone to drive to and from work only.

SR – 22
This is a Proof of Insurance Certificate that some states require your car insurance carrier to provide after being convicted of a DUI.

Sobriety Checkpoints
These roadblocks are set up by law enforcement officers at a particular location for a certain time period, usually late at night or early in the morning on weekends, to randomly stop vehicles to investigate drivers for possible DUI. If the officer believes the driver is intoxicated, a detailed investigation follows, the same as if they would have stopped you driving down the road.

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