When you are arrested for DUI, lawyers, judges, and police will throw around terms and use acronyms you likely have never heard of.  So what does it all mean?  Below are common words and abbreviations used in DUI cases that you should be familiar with so that you always know what is happening with your DUI case.

First and foremost, DUI – “DUI” stands for Driving Under the Influence.  It is the only name used in Florida for impaired driving.  Other states use different names for the same act.  Common names for DUI include OUI (operating under the influence) OVI (Operating a Vehicle Impaired), DWI (Driving While Impaired), and others.  All of these refer to the same crime, but each state is free to use whatever term they like.

In Florida DUI driving under the influence does not even require driving.  A person can be asleep in their car in the backseat and still be found guilty of DUI. So, what does DUI mean? In Florida, it means a person who drove or was in actual physical control of a car with normal faculties impaired by alcohol or certain chemicals or controlled substances.  Below, find a list of common DUI-related terms and abbreviations and what they stand for:

Administrative Suspension – When you are arrested for DUI, you will be asked to take a breath test.  Whether you do so or not, is up to you, but either choice can have consequences.  The first consequence is the administrative suspension of your privilege to drive.  If you take the test and the result is a breath alcohol result greater than .08 your license will immediately be administratively suspended for 6 months.  If you refuse to take the test your license will immediately be administratively suspended for 12 months or for 18 months if you have previously refused to take a breath, blood, or urine test.  For more information, see Florida Statute 316.1932.

Affidavit of Refusal

If you refuse the requested breath, blood, or urine test, the arresting officer or breath test operator will fill out an affidavit of refusal in which they swear that you were asked to take the specified test after a lawful arrest and that you refused to do so after being advised of the implied consent warning.

Bureau of Administrative Review (BAR) – a division of the FLHSMV that you will come into contact with if arrested for DUI.  When you are arrested for DUI, your license is administratively suspended.  (See Administrative Suspension below).  However, you have an opportunity to fight the administrative suspension in front of a hearing officer who works for the Bureau of Administrative Reviews.  This officer will review the police reports, take testimony, and listen to motions to invalidate the suspension of your driver’s license from your attorney.  If you win, you get your regular license back pending the outcome of your court case.  If you lose, then the suspension that automatically began with your arrest is upheld and remains in force.  Speak with one of our Expert Board-Certified DUI Defense Specialists today to discuss your options at an administrative review hearing.

DUBAL or Per SeDriving with an Unlawful Balance – This term is used in cases where the driver took a breath test and the results were over the legal limit of .08.

Field Sobriety Exercises – also called Field Sobriety Tests or Standardized Field Sobriety Tests – a series of roadside balance and coordination tasks administered during a DUI investigation to gather evidence of impairment.

FLHSMV – Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles, also commonly called the DMV or Department of Motor Vehicles.  From issuing driver’s licenses and vehicle license plates to enforcing traffic laws, divisions of the FLHSMV are everywhere in Florida.

Formal Review Hearing – A hearing regarding the administrative suspension of your driver’s license.  A Formal Review hearing is held in front of a hearing officer employed by the Bureau of Administrative Reviews which is a division of the FLHSMV.  At this hearing a hearing officer will review the evidence submitted by the arresting officer and by you or your attorney, including all police reports, breath test result affidavits, Affidavits of Refusal and witness testimony presented by the driver.  Only the Driver can call live witnesses to attend.  Within 7 days of the conclusion of the hearing the hearing officer will decide whether or not to uphold the suspension of your driving privilege or invalidate the suspension and return your normal driving privileges to you pending the outcome of your court case.

Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus (HGN) – a field sobriety exercise in which an officer waves a pen or other object in front of your eyes and asks you to follow it with only your eyes, not moving your head at all, while keeping your feet together and your hands at your side.  The officer watches the way the eyes move and if qualified, can give an opinion about impairment based on the movement of the eyes.

Implied Consent Warning – a warning read to motorists who have refused to take a requested blood, breath or urine test advising them that their “failure to submit to any lawful test of their breath or urine, or both, will result in the suspension of their privilege to operate a motor vehicle for a period of 1 year for a first refusal, or for a period of 18 months if their driving privilege has been previously suspended as a result of a refusal to submit to such a test or tests. The refusal to submit to a chemical or physical breath test or to a urine test upon the request of a law enforcement officer as provided in this section is admissible into evidence in any criminal proceeding.” §316.1932(1)(a)1 Fla. Stat.

Indicators, Clues, Cues – a term used by officers to mean an observation made during the field sobriety exercises which they have been trained to look for that indicates to them impairment.

Informal Review Hearing – A review of the paperwork submitted by the arresting officer in your case to the Bureau of Administrative Reviews which is a division of the FLHSMV.  The hearing officer will review the paperwork submitted and decide whether or not the paperwork as submitted justifies the suspension of your driving privileges.  Neither you nor your attorney attend this review.  (This should never be your choice in our opinion.).

Ignition Interlock Device – a device installed in a motor vehicle which prevents the car from starting until a breath sample is provided and analyzed for alcohol.  An Ignition Interlock device is a mandatory penalty for some DUI crimes in Florida.

NHTSANational Highway Traffic Safety Administration – Officers like to testify that the Field Sobriety Exercises are NHTSA certified, but rarely explain what NHTSA is.

Normal Faculties: Normal faculties include but are not limited to the ability to see, hear, walk, talk, judge distances, drive an automobile, make judgments, act in emergencies and, in general, to normally perform the many mental and physical acts of our daily lives.

One Leg Stand – a field sobriety exercise where you raise one foot 6 inches off the ground and balance with your arms at your side for 30 seconds.

SCRAM – An ankle monitor that is worn 24 hours a day and tests the subject’s sweat for alcohol. The Scram Continuous Alcohol Monitor automatically takes samples and performs analysis without any subject participation about every 30 minutes 24 hours a day.

Walk & Turn – a field sobriety exercise where you walk down a straight line touching the heel of one foot to the toe of the other foot, turn in the manner directed and come back down the line.