Charged With a DUI? Review These Vocabulary Terms

Gavel — Waukegan, IL — Daniels, Long & Pinsel, LLCA DUI charge may be just the beginning of a long, confusing road ahead. And that road can be difficult to navigate if you go it alone, especially if you don’t understand common legal terms used in DUI charges.

Take a look at this quick vocabulary lesson in order to understand DUI legal terms and how these terms may help you, should you ever find yourself facing a DUI charge.

Probable Cause

Probable cause is an incredibly important term because this is what will establish whether or not the arresting officer had cause to stop you to begin with. A police officer cannot simply look at a driver on the road make a general assumption that the driver is drunk; there must be probable cause for the officer to turn their lights on.

This cause could be a simple infraction, such as a busted tail light or failure to use your turn signal when turning. From there, the officer can further investigate to determine if you’ve been driving under the influence. If the officer simply pulls you over on a hunch, your attorney may be able to help you dismiss the DUI charge.

Blood Alcohol Content

Blood Alcohol Content, or BAC, is the measurement of the amount of alcohol in one’s bloodstream. This is how police officers determine whether or not you’re impaired while driving. In Illinois, the legal limit is .08 percent.

The math of this comes down to the amount of alcohol present in 100 milliliters of blood. While even small traces of alcohol can start to affect your body (you can become distracted and lose the ability to concentrate on more than one thing at a time), .08 percent of alcohol in your body means you could have slurred speech, a slower reaction time, and poor muscle coordination. This results in a dangerous driving situation.

Field Sobriety Test

If a police officer has reason to think you’re intoxicated after pulling you over, they may subject you to a variety of physical tests known as field sobriety tests. These tests may seem simple at the outset, but someone who is intoxicated would have a difficult time performing them well.

A couple of examples include the walk and turn, which is where the suspect must walk in a straight line heel-to-toe, turn on one foot, and then repeat in the opposite direction. This helps to determine your ability to complete a task with divided attention.

Another test is the one-leg stand, which requires you to stand on one foot for about 30 seconds. Putting your foot down or using your arms to balance may show possible impairment.

Alcohol Evaluations

In the state of Illinois, anyone arrested for DUI must undergo alcohol or drug evaluations to determine the history of use and possible danger to yourself and others on the road. Your past drug and alcohol use will be evaluated as it pertains to your driving history, and once the evaluation is complete, you’ll be assigned a risk category that dictates how much counseling and rehabilitation you will be required to complete. Even those categorized as minimal risk must still complete ten hours of DUI risk education.

A DUI charge can result in high anxiety and fear for your future, and the above vocabulary lesson is just a small portion of the amount of information needed to successfully defend your DUI case. Why not leave your defense to the experts who can help sort through the above definitions and help you build your defense? Give Daniels, Long & Pinsel, LLC, a call today and we’d be happy to discuss your case with you.

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