Glossary of DUI Terms

Alcohol Education Program
This is one of the required penalties of a DUI conviction in Massachusetts. For the 1st offense, you must take a 16-week course. The 2nd offense gets you a 2-week inpatient program.

Alphabet Test
This may be part of a field sobriety test. The police officer will ask you to recite the alphabet backwards or forwards from different start and stop points.

This is your first appearance in court. It is generally held within a few days of your arrest. This is where you will be read the charges against you and given the opportunity to plead not guilty.

A police officer takes you into custody and charges you with a crime.

Blood Alcohol Content (BAC)
This is a measure of the amount of alcohol in your blood. The legal limit is .08% in Massachusetts.

Blood Test
A sample of your blood is tested to determine your BAC.

Breath Test
You are asked to blow into a Breathalyzer machine and the machine determines your BAC.

Continuance Without a Finding (CWOF)
This is a common outcome in a DUI case. It is different than a guilty plea in that you do not admit guilt, but you concede that there is enough evidence against you for a jury to find you guilty. This does not appear as a conviction on your record, but it will count as a prior offense if you are arrested again.

District Attorney
This is the prosecuting lawyer. They present the state's case against you at trial.

Field Sobriety Test

Hardship License

Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus (HGN)
This is a field sobriety test where a police officer shines a light in your eyes and watches for involuntary eye movements. Evidence gathered in this test cannot be used against you in court, but an officer may use the test to help him/her decide whether to arrest you.

Ignition Interlock Device

Melanie's Law

One Leg Stand
This is a field sobriety test where the police officer asks you to stand on one leg for 30 seconds.

OUI (Operating Under the Influence)
Also known as DUI (Driving Under the Influence) or DWI (Driving While Intoxicated). All of these terms mean that a driver has been operating his/her motor vehicle under the influence of an amount of drugs or alcohol beyond the legal limit.

Police Report
This is the arresting officer's written description of what they observed and why they decided to arrest you.

Walk and Turn
This is a field sobriety test where the police officer asks you to walk in a straight-line heel to toe and then turning.

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