Drivers License Restoration Glossary of Terms
After a DUI, OWI, or other drunk driving conviction, you will likely lose your driving privileges for a set or indefinite period. License suspension or revocation in Michigan drunk driving cases can be life changing, and as soon as you have the opportunity, it is critical to work with a skilled driver’s license restoration attorney who can assist you in getting back on the road.
Appeal: a request to a higher court to review a lower court decision. In drunk driving cases, you may be able to appeal the verdict or sentence after conviction. It is also possible to appeal a license suspension and attempt to get your license reinstated. Work with an experienced Michigan DUI lawyer to ensure you do all you can to get back on the road as soon as possible.
Breathalyzer: a breath test device that measures the amount of alcohol in a person’s blood (see “Blood Alcohol Content”).
Breath Test: often using a breathalyzer device, this chemical test is used to determine the blood alcohol content of a person. Breath tests can be administered using portable roadside breathalyzers, which are notoriously inaccurate and can sometimes be challenged by a skilled DUI attorney.
Blood Test: a chemical test that draws a sample of blood from a person and detects the amount of alcohol in the bloodstream. Blood tests are often administered back at the police station after a drunk driving arrest, and improper calibration or other testing errors can lead to faulty results.
Blood Alcohol Content (BAC): the concentration of alcohol in a person’s blood, measured by taking the weight of alcohol in a set volume of blood. BAC can be determined by a blood sample or a breath test. The legal BAC limit is 0.08% in Michigan, while commercial drivers cannot operate a vehicle with a BAC over 0.04%, and underage drivers cannot have any alcohol in their system.
Case Time Limits: to ensure a swift and sure trial, time limits are placed on drunk driving cases, and each stage is to be completed by a set date. These time limits, however, make it easy to lose track of details of your case, and without a capable defense lawyer, could lead to missing out on a beneficial case result.
Charge: the official accusation you are facing, for example “Operating While Intoxicated.”
Child Endangerment: operating a motor vehicle while intoxicated is a serious crime, and if a child is one of the passengers in the vehicle, additional charges of endangerment could apply.
Commercial Driver’s License (CDL): a special type of driver’s license given to those who drive for a living, such as truck drivers. Commercial drivers cannot operate a vehicle with a BAC over 0.04%, even if they are not working at the time of the offense.
Conviction: once a jury or judge has found a person guilty of a crime, he or she has been convicted and will face criminal penalties.
Defendant: whoever is facing a criminal charge is referred to as a defendant.
DL: an abbreviation for “Driver’s License.”
Driver’s License Restoration: restoring a driver’s license after it has been suspended or revoked, either by reinstating a license or obtaining a new license.
Driving Under the Influence (DUI): a commonly used term that refers to the charge of Operating While Intoxicated (OWI).
Driving While Intoxicated: a term used interchangeably with Operating While Intoxicated (OWI).
Field Sobriety Test: tests including walking in a straight line, following a pen with your eyes, standing on one foot, and other tests that can hint at intoxication. While these tests may establish probable cause for arrest, they are affected by a number of factors and are not conclusive or reliable.
Felony: as opposed to a misdemeanor, a felony is a more serious criminal charge resulting in harsher penalties.
High Blood Alcohol Content (BAC): a blood alcohol content over 0.16% (see Super Drunk Law).
Ignition Interlock Device (IID): a breathalyzer-type device that may be court ordered after an OWI conviction, or required in order to restore a driver’s license. IIDs take the blood alcohol content of a person, a photo of when the test is taken, and may require rolling retests as a person drives, otherwise the vehicle will not start.
License Suspension: a definite or indefinite period in which a person is not permitted to drive. A reinstatement fee may apply after the suspension period is up.
License Revocation: a penalty for serious drunk driving offenses or repeat offenders, which takes away a driver’s license. After a lengthy period, a person can request a driver’s license hearing to win back their right to apply for a driver’s license.
Misdemeanor: a less serious criminal offense, which can still result in significant penalties, however punishment will be less serious than a felony charge.
Office of Hearings and Administrative Oversight Hearing: A driver’s license reinstatement hearing with the Michigan Secretary of State’s Office of Hearings and Administrative Oversight, formerly known as the Administrative Hearings Section (AHS), where a person who has served their license revocation or suspension can attempt to obtain a new driver’s license. Always consult an attorney before taking any action in a driver's license hearing case.
Open Container: a charge for keeping unsealed alcohol in a vehicle.
Operating Under the Influence of Liquor (OUIL): a charge for operating a motor vehicle after consuming alcohol, even though your BAC may be below the legal limit. If an officer determines that alcohol impaired your ability to drive safely, you may be charged with OUIL.
Operating While Intoxicated (OWI): a charge for operating a motor vehicle while under the influence of liquor, used interchangeably with “DUI” and other terms. OWI is usually determined by a chemical BAC test.
Operating While Visibly Impaired (OWVI): if an officer observes actions that may suggest you are impaired, you may be charged with the lesser charge of OWVI, regardless of blood alcohol content.
Operating With the Presence of Drugs (OWPD): it is illegal to drive with any amount of an intoxicating drug in your system. Contact an attorney immediately if you have been accused of OWPD in Michigan.
Point System: a system that adds a number of points on to a person’s license after an administrative or criminal infraction, which can add up and result in license suspension or revocation.
Prosecutor: the opposition to the defense, the prosecution will do all they can to prove you are guilty.
Reckless Driving: operating a vehicle in any public area with disregard for the safety or wellbeing of persons or property.
Sentence: the jail time, fines, license suspension or revocation, and other penalties that a person will face after a criminal conviction.
Sobriety Court: a special court that focuses on rehabilitation rather than criminal penalties. It may be possible to avoid criminal punishment by completing a sobriety court program, however you need to consult with a skilled DUI defense lawyer before considering sobriety court.
Super Drunk Law: a law applying to persons who are arrested for OWI and have over twice the legal BAC limit at the time of the offense (0.16%+).
Unlawful Blood Alcohol Content (UBAL): a charge for operating a vehicle with a BAC over 0.08%.
Zero Tolerance Law: anyone under the legal drinking age of 21 cannot operate a vehicle with any blood alcohol content.
Contact Scott Grabel and our Driver’s License Restoration Team
Contact our Michigan drunk driving defense lawyers now if you have any questions about license restoration after a suspension or revocation, and review the glossary below which contains helpful terminology that may be used in your drunk driving case. For a free, confidential consultation call us at 1-800-342-7896.