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What is Considered Driving Under the Influence?

In October 2000, as part of the 2001 Department of Transportation (DOT) Appropriations Act, the United States Congress passed a law making a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of .08 as the national standard for impaired driving. Any state that did not adopt .08 as the BAC standard by fiscal year 2004 would have a certain portion of their federal highway construction funds withheld.

Each state has its’ own specific term to describe the criminal offense of driving impaired, which includes the following:

• Driving Under the Influence (DUI)
• Driving While Intoxicated (DWI)
• Operating Under the Influence (OUI)
• Operating a Motor Vehicle While Intoxicated (OMVI)
• Operating a Vehicle While Impaired (OVI)
• Driving While Ability Impaired (DWAI)

When a law enforcement officer stops an individual on suspicion of driving under the influence, the officer may test the driver’s motor functions and skills by conducting field sobriety tests. A person can be charged with a per se DUI even if the are under the legal limit of .08.