DWI – Driving While Intoxicated.
DUI – Driving Under the Influence (of alcohol or drugs).
BAC – Blood Alcohol Concentration (or Content).
These three acronyms form a deadly combination. The main links between the three are alcohol and driving. It is well documented that drinking alcohol impairs judgment, slows reaction time, and decreases coordination. When a person is DWI or DUI, he or she is piloting a one-ton time bomb with little control over it. Is it speeding towards you?
These three acronyms have legal ramifications too. DUI and DWI are criminal offenses. To determine if a DWI or DUI offense has been committed, it is necessary to measure how much alcohol was consumed by the suspect driver (the BAC).
In the field, police officers utilize tests to determine the amount of a driver’s impairment due to alcohol. Such tests include, but are not limited to, breath alcohol tests and field sobriety tests. The breath test is further discussed in this article.
A person’s reaction to alcohol varies widely. Some factors that affect alcohol impairment include gender, body weight, time of last meal, time of day, alcohol tolerance, medications, genetics, rate of alcohol consumption, and many more.
A police officer stopping a suspected drunk driver has visual, olfactory (smell), and breath tests to judge a person’s impairment from alcohol. The officer must make some kind of quantitative determination of the amount of alcohol impairment at the time of the stop. All the factors mentioned above do not matter to the officer. All he or she wants to do is to create a “snapshot” of the degree of impairment.
Blood alcohol concentration (BAC) is a measure of the amount of alcohol in the blood, expressed as a percentage by volume. This can be measured precisely by taking a sample of the driver’s blood for analysis. In the U.S., a BAC level of 0.08% (commonly written as.08) or more is considered illegal. However, the officer on patrol certainly doesn’t have a medical lab in the car, and must rely on a breath testing device.
The brand name Breathalyzer is often used generically to describe devices that measure blood alcohol concentration. This type of breathalyzer does not actually measure the concentration of alcohol in the blood. Instead, the reading on the breath analyzer is only an estimate of the alcohol in the blood.
Correlations between the amount of alcohol in the blood and the resulting amount of alcohol in the breath have been made. The tests show the ratio to be approximately 2100 (in the blood) to about 1 (in the breath), or 2100:1. Based on factors listed above, a person’s blood: breath alcohol ratio can vary from 1700:1 to 2400:1.
In simpler terms, if an average person has 2100 drops of alcohol in the blood, the breath tester will show a reading of 1 drop. Doctors have measured the blood and breath alcohol contents of test subjects simultaneously, allowing them to calculate the relationship between alcohol in the blood and alcohol in the breath.
When a drunk driving suspect blows into the breath alcohol tester, the machine measures the alcohol in the breath. The machine then calculates the amount of alcohol in the blood by using a blood: breath alcohol ratio. This calculation of BAC is only an estimate. However, that estimate is what goes on the police report and is what the judge will see.
The next time you have consumed alcohol and feel like you are not impaired to drive, remember these points. First, your confidence may be simply alcohol-induced euphoria. Second, your life and the lives of those you drive near may all depend on what the little breath machine thinks is normal. Are you willing to bet your freedom on the opinion of some fancy calculator? Me neither. Be safe!
What is the Difference Between a DUI and DWI?
A driving under the influence charge is considered to be a criminal charge in most, of not all, jurisdictions around the world. It is a dangerous criminal offence that can lead to various outcomes, which are all negative such as property damage to your own car, property damage to other cars on the road, public and private property damage, injuring other people other than yourself and it can also lead to fatalities. A lot of road accidents occur simply because of this reason which is why DUI Laws impose heavy penalties on this charge if convicted. Of course, if you face this you would want to at least decrease the penalties you will incur, and the first step to do that is to know your rights.
DUI Laws differ from state to state and may have different rights depending on where you are. Of course, you have the right to be considered innocent until proven guilty. Also, you have the right to an attorney, which you should take advantage of. Having an attorney will let you understand your situation better and he or she can explain all your rights as given by the law. This should be the first thing that you should do so that you don't end up being pushed around by the state or end up with more penalties than you should.
But before getting into the process of dealing with the charge in court, you should know your rights when dealing with it while on the road. When you are pulled over by a police officer, you have the right to remain silent. You can refuse to answer any and all questions from the officer. Also if you are asked to take a sobriety test or a breath test, you can refuse that as well until you have spoken to your attorney about the situation. If you don't know what to say or how to proceed with talking to the officer, ask for your attorney. You can also opt to take an independent test from any emergency room if you feel that this would better suit your rights.
If you know your rights when you are faced with the problem of Dui, then you can turn this problem into a simple memory of the past. It is true that DUI Laws were created to insure safety of other drivers and pedestrians and penalties are harsh to discourage it as much as possible, but that doesn't mean that once you get pulled over for it, then you're dead. You can still get out of this problem in court if not on the road. Just remember that you have your rights under DUI Laws wherever you are. Learn them, ask about them and know how to use your rights when faced with this situation. If you still don't know what to do, then this is where your attorney comes in. Having a good attorney by your side will always be very helpful as he or she knows what to do when faced with such charges.
Are DUI Laws Too Tough?
The terms DUI and DWI are the same in the sense that they both refer to the operation of a motor vehicle while you are impaired whether by illegal substances or alcohol. However to define further the meaning of the acronym, DUI stands for Driving under the Influence while DWI stands for Driving while Intoxicated. How to deal with DUI or DWI varies from state to state.
In some states, the major difference lies in the level of crime between DUI and DWI where persons facing a DUI have lesser charges. Usually, a DUI charge means the person has a lesser level of intoxication in these states. This level of intoxication is done through a BAC test or the blood alcohol concentration test during the event of the arrest. Sometimes, there could be a reduction of the case from a DWI to a DUI with the help of a legal representation.
In the United States, working out in the case of driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol is made no matter what the difference is between a DUI and DWI. The minimum illegal blood alcohol concentration in most states is in 0.08%. Both the DUI and DWI laws are constantly changing and the differentiation of both cases is diminishing. Many states now only see the term used to describe the crime committed. Some terms emerged like OUI and OWI, which stands for operating under the influence and operating while intoxicated very much like DUI and DWI.