Driving under the influence

Driving under the influence

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Driving under the influence (DUI) (driving while intoxicated (DWI), drunken driving, drunk driving, operating under the influence, drinking and driving, drink driving, impaired driving) is the act of driving a motor vehicle
Motor vehicle
A motor vehicle or road vehicle is a self-propelled wheeled vehicle that does not operate on rails, such as trains or trolleys. The vehicle propulsion is provided by an engine or motor, usually by an internal combustion engine, or an electric motor, or some combination of the two, such as hybrid...

 with blood levels of alcohol
Ethanol
Ethanol, also called ethyl alcohol, pure alcohol, grain alcohol, or drinking alcohol, is a volatile, flammable, colorless liquid. It is a psychoactive drug and one of the oldest recreational drugs. Best known as the type of alcohol found in alcoholic beverages, it is also used in thermometers, as a...

 in excess of a legal limit. Similar regulations cover driving or operating certain types of machinery while affected by drinking alcohol
Alcoholic beverage
An alcoholic beverage is a drink containing ethanol, commonly known as alcohol. Alcoholic beverages are divided into three general classes: beers, wines, and spirits. They are legally consumed in most countries, and over 100 countries have laws regulating their production, sale, and consumption...

 or taking other drugs. This is a criminal offense in most countries. Details of the offense depend upon the jurisdiction, and may include merely being in physical control of a motor vehicle while being under the influence of alcohol or drugs. Conviction
Conviction
In law, a conviction is the verdict that results when a court of law finds a defendant guilty of a crime.The opposite of a conviction is an acquittal . In Scotland and in the Netherlands, there can also be a verdict of "not proven", which counts as an acquittal...

s do not necessarily involve actual driving of the vehicle.

In most jurisdictions a measurement such as a blood alcohol content
Blood alcohol content
Blood alcohol content , also called blood alcohol concentration, blood ethanol concentration, or blood alcohol level is most commonly used as a metric of alcohol intoxication for legal or medical purposes....

 in excess of a defined level, such as 0.05% or 0.08% defines the offense, with no need to prove impairment or being under the influence of alcohol. In some jurisdictions, there is an aggravated category of the offense at e.g. 0.12%. In most countries, anyone who is convicted of injuring or killing someone while under the influence of alcohol or drugs can be heavily fined, as in France
France
The French Republic , The French Republic , The French Republic , (commonly known as France , is a unitary semi-presidential republic in Western Europe with several overseas territories and islands located on other continents and in the Indian, Pacific, and Atlantic oceans. Metropolitan France...

, in addition to being given a lengthy prison sentence.

Many states in the U.S. have adopted truth in sentencing
Truth in Sentencing
Truth in sentencing is a collection of different but related public policy stances on sentencing of those convicted of crimes in the justice system. In most contexts truth in sentencing refers to policies and legislation that aim to abolish or curb parole, so that convicts serve the period that...

 laws that enforce strict guidelines on sentencing, different from past practice where prison time was reduced or suspended after sentencing had been issued.

The specific criminal offense may be called, depending on the jurisdiction, driving under the influence [of alcohol or other drugs] (DUI), driving under intense influence (DUII), driving while intoxicated (DWI), "operating under the influence" (OUI) operating while intoxicated (OWI), operating a motor vehicle while intoxicated (OMVI), driving under the combined influence of alcohol and/or other drugs, driving under the influence per se or drunk in charge [of a vehicle]. Other less common acronyms include operating a vehicle (while) impaired (OVI), and Driving While Ability Impaired (DWAI). Many such laws apply also to boating
Boating
Boating is the leisurely activity of travelling by boat, or the recreational use of a boat whether powerboats, sailboats, or man-powered vessels , focused on the travel itself, as well as sports activities, such as fishing or water skiing...

, piloting aircraft, or cycling, possibly with different BACs than driving. In some jurisdictions there are separate charges depending on the vehicle used, such as BWI (bicycling while intoxicated), which may carry a lighter sentence.

In the United States, local law enforcement agencies made 1,467,300 arrests nationwide for driving under the influence of alcohol in 1996, compared to 1.9 million such arrests during the peak year in 1983. In 1997 an estimated 513,200 DWI offenders were in prison
Prison
A prison is a place in which people are physically confined and, usually, deprived of a range of personal freedoms. Imprisonment or incarceration is a legal penalty that may be imposed by the state for the commission of a crime...

 or jail
Jail
A jail is a short-term detention facility in the United States and Canada.Jail may also refer to:In entertainment:*Jail , a 1966 Malayalam movie*Jail , a 2009 Bollywood movie...

, down from 593,000 in 1990 and up from 270,100 in 1986.

Blood alcohol level (BAC)



With the advent of a scientific test for blood alcohol content
Blood alcohol content
Blood alcohol content , also called blood alcohol concentration, blood ethanol concentration, or blood alcohol level is most commonly used as a metric of alcohol intoxication for legal or medical purposes....

 (BAC), enforcement regimes moved to pinning culpability for the offense to strict liability based on driving while having more than a prescribed amount of blood alcohol, although this does not preclude the simultaneous existence of the older subjective tests. BAC is most conveniently measured as a simple percent of alcohol in the blood by weight. It does not depend on any units of measurement. In Europe it is usually expressed as milligrams of alcohol per 100 milliliters of blood. However, 100 milliliters of blood weighs essentially the same as 100 milliliters of water, which weighs precisely 100 grams. Thus, for all practical purposes, this is the same as the simple dimensionless BAC measured as a percent. The per mille (promille) measurement, which is equal to ten times the percentage value, is used in Sweden and Finland.

The validity of the testing equipment/methods and mathematical relationships for the measurement of breath and blood alcohol have been criticized. Studies suggest that certain substances and factors, such as mouth alcohol or recent exposure to industrial compounds can lead to false-positive chemical results. Other studies have suggested that breathalyzers may be inherently biased against women.

Driving while consuming alcohol may be illegal within a jurisdiction. In some it is illegal for an open container of an alcoholic beverage to be in the passenger compartment of a motor vehicle or in some specific area of that compartment. In some it may be illegal to be asleep in the driver's seat of a vehicle without any intention to drive.

The German
Germany
Germany , officially the Federal Republic of Germany , is a federal parliamentary republic in Europe. The country consists of 16 states while the capital and largest city is Berlin. Germany covers an area of 357,021 km2 and has a largely temperate seasonal climate...

 model serves to reduce the number of accidents by identifying unfit drivers and removing them from traffic until their fitness to drive has been established again. The Medical Psychological Assessment
Medical Psychological Assessment
The Medical Psychological Assessment is a German measure ruled by law for persons seeking to regain their driving licence.-History:The first standards mandating the MPA for certain prospective drivers were legally adopted in 1955...

 (MPA) works for a prognosis of the fitness for drive in future, has an interdisciplinary basic approach and offers the chance of individual rehabilitation to the offender.

George Smith, a London
London
London is the capital city of :England and the :United Kingdom, the largest metropolitan area in the United Kingdom, and the largest urban zone in the European Union by most measures. Located on the River Thames, London has been a major settlement for two millennia, its history going back to its...

 taxi driver, was the first person to be convicted of drunk driving, on 10 September 1897. He was fined 25 shillings, which is equivalent to £71.33 in 2005 pounds.

Field sobriety testing


Historically, guilt was established by observed driving symptoms, such as weaving; administering field sobriety tests, such as a walking a straight line heel-to-toe or standing on one leg for 30 seconds; and the arresting officer's subjective opinion of impairment. The officer must correctly perform the Field Sobriety Tests (FSTs) that are approved by the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA). There are only three FSTs approved by NHTSA. The US Department of Transportation explains the Field Sobriety Test as, "a battery of three tests administered and evaluated in a standardized manner to obtain validated indicators of impairment and establish probable cause for arrest." Despite the considerable steps by the NHTSA to create standardized guidelines for the administration and scoring of field sobriety tests, some studies question the reliability of these tests, even when executed according to the guidelines. Starting with the introduction in Norway in 1936 of the world’s first per se
Illegal per se
The term illegal per se means that the act is inherently illegal. Thus, an act is illegal without extrinsic proof of any surrounding circumstances such as lack of scienter or other defenses...

law which made it an offense to drive with more than a specified amount of alcohol in the body, objective chemical tests have gradually supplanted the earlier purely judgmental ones. Limits for chemical tests are specific for blood alcohol concentration or concentration of alcohol in breath.

Drunk driving law by country



The laws relating to drunk driving vary between countries and varying blood alcohol content
Blood alcohol content
Blood alcohol content , also called blood alcohol concentration, blood ethanol concentration, or blood alcohol level is most commonly used as a metric of alcohol intoxication for legal or medical purposes....

 is allowed before a conviction is made. Since at least 2004, it has been illegal in all US states and the District of Columbia to drive with a BAC that is 0.08% or higher. Canada adopted similar laws in the 1990s.

See also

  • Breathalyzer
    Breathalyzer
    A breathalyzer or breathalyser is a device for estimating blood alcohol content from a breath sample...

  • Continuous transdermal alcohol monitoring
  • Driving license
  • Drunk drivers
    Drunk drivers
    Drivers operating a vehicle under the influence of alcohol are commonly referred to as drunk drivers. When charged with this as a crime, it may either be referred to as a DUI or a DWI , where a DUI is generally considered to be a lesser crime. Studies have been performed to identify...

  • DWI court
  • Expungement
    Expungement
    In the common law legal system, an expungement proceeding is a type of lawsuit in which a first time offender of a prior criminal conviction seeks that the records of that earlier process be sealed, thereby making the records unavailable through the state or Federal repositories. If successful, the...

  • Mothers Against Drunk Driving
    Mothers Against Drunk Driving
    Mothers Against Drunk Driving is a non-profit organization in the United States that seeks to stop drunk driving, support those affected by drunk driving, prevent underage drinking, and overall push for stricter alcohol policy...

     (MADD)
  • National Motorists Association
    National Motorists Association
    The National Motorists Association is a grassroots organization whose revenue is membership- and donation-driven. It was created in 1982 to "to represent and protect the interests of North American motorists", and advocates a "Motorist Bill of Rights".-History:The NMA, originally called the...

  • Remove Intoxicated Drivers
    Remove Intoxicated Drivers
    Remove Intoxicated Drivers is one of the oldest national organization in the United States fighting alcohol impaired and drunk driving...

  • Sobriety checkpoints

External links


  • Impaired Driving, MedlinePlus
    MedlinePlus
    MedlinePlus is a free Web site that provides consumer health information for patients, families, and Health care providers. The site brings together information from the United States National Library of Medicine, the National Institutes of Health , other U.S. government agencies, and...

  • Report A DUI: a non-commercial website for the anonymous reporting of drivers under the influence.