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"It depends on what the meaning of the word 'is' is."---William Jefferson Clinton

The Word of MADD

Glossary of terms [From National Commission Against Drunk Driving (NCADD) website unless otherwise noted. Parenthetical comments by]

Illegal Per Se Laws: Laws which make it an offense to operate a motor vehicle with a specified amount of alcohol in the blood. In States having such laws the specified amount of BAC is 0.08 percent. Rebuttable evidence is not considered relevant, except that the test was improperly administered. (You are drunk at .08 because MADD and the law say so. When it was .10, .12 and .15, you were drunk at those levels. When it becomes .05, you'll be drunk at that level. Understand?)

DUI: Driving under the influence or while intoxicated; operating or being in physical control of a vehicle while under the influence of intoxicating liquor. (Legally: driving your car, sitting in your car, sitting near your car, sleeping in your car, sitting in your living room after having driven your car, etc. Alcohol consumption may or may not be a factor. See: DAYTONA ARREST and STATE DRIVER'S MANUALS, especially Tennessee's.)

Administrative Per Se Laws: Laws which state that if a driver's blood alcohol concentration is in excess of a specific level (typically 0.08 percent), the State driver licensing agency may suspend the driver's license via administrative action which is independent of any court action related to a DUI charge. (Your license can be shredded on the spot without a hearing or trial because of your BAC reading. This is not your punishment for drunk driving--that comes later. This is a punishment for driving drunk. Double jeopardy is such a negative term, so it is not used here.)

Plea Bargaining: The process by which a prosecutor and a defense attorney agree to reduce a given charge to an offence with lesser penalties in exchange for a guilty plea to the lesser offense by the defendant; for example, reducing a drunk driving charge to one of reckless driving. (The process that keeps the jails from filling up with social drinkers who are much more productive when you allow them to keep working. ALSO: A way for the judge to look like a nice guy while still making money for the state.)

Alcohol Countermeasures: Programs designed to deter the drunk driver. (Propaganda and junk science designed to promote Prohibition.)

BAC: Blood alcohol concentration; amount of alcohol in the blood stream expressed as a percent. In most States, 0.08 percent BAC or higher is under the influence of intoxicating liquor. (An accurate measure of alcohol concentration in the blood, obtained by testing blood, not breath.)

Blood [sic] Alcohol Test: Any chemical test of breath, blood, urine, or other bodily substance used to determine the concentration of alcohol in the blood. (Usually a breathing test with results mathematically transformed into a blood alcohol reading. The formula assumes all people have the same breath to blood alcohol ratio of 1:2100. Actually the range is 1:1300 to 1:3500. Close enough for government work, as they say.)

Breath Testing Device: An instrument which significantly measures the amount of alcohol in the bloodstream by chemical analysis of the breath. (A hand-held device whose margin of error is up to 50% and is therefore not admissible as proof of intoxication. OR: A large machine which is admissible and which uses the same principles as the hand-held unit.)

"Dram Shop" Laws: Laws which state that those who dispense alcoholic beverages to intoxicated individuals may be held liable for subsequent injuries caused by such individuals. (Laws to further limit the sale of alcohol by transferring the responsibility away from the actual criminal to a waitress or bartender who is somehow supposed to keep track of the actions of every patron when they are at his bar or restaurant and after they leave.)

Field Sobriety Test: A roadside test used by police to help determine if a suspect is drunk. May include walking a straight line, touching fingers to the nose with the eyes closed, reciting the alphabet, etc. (A coordination and intelligence test usually conducted on a dark, poorly lit shoulder of the road just feet from speeding traffic in the wee hours of the morning.)

Implied Consent Law: A law in all States which stipulates that and person who operates a motor vehicle on the highways is presumed to have consented to be chemically tested for alcohol upon request by police, or risk license suspension. (A law that no one ever consented to, nor would they, if actually asked.)

PBT: Preliminary breath tests: a roadside test by police using a portable breath-alcohol tester to measure a suspect's intoxication level. Results of this test may be used to establish probable cause for arrest. (A test that  can be used to arrest you even thought you are not allowed to see the results of the the test and testing device is not accurate.)

Presumptive Laws: Laws which state that if a specified level of alcohol is present in a driver's blood, the driver is presumed to have been driving under the influence or intoxicated. However, because the presumption is rebuttable, other evidence can be introduced by the defendant to disprove the allegation. (This loophole in the law has been plugged recently by MADD's lobbying. Most states now presume that your blood alcohol level is the same as when you were driving even if measured 2 or more hours after the fact.)

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