Under The Influence

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Definition of Under The Influence

Driving "under the influence" refers to operating a motorized vehicle while under the influence of drugs or alcohol. It is illegal in every state to operate a vehicle with a BAC or blood alcohol concentration of 0.08%, but drivers may be arrested with a lower BAC if the police officer believes they are unable to safely operate their vehicle.

Penalties for driving under the influence vary by state and states use different terms to identify this action. Common terms used can include: driving under the influence (DUI), driving while intoxicated (DWI), operating while intoxicated (OWI), operating a motor vehicle while intoxicated (OMVI), operating a vehicle (while) impaired (OVI), and driving while ability impaired (DWAI). Regardless of what the state calls it, drivers who are arrested driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs can face severe penalties.

States have also passed "implied consent laws" which mean drivers have given their "implied consent" to take a chemical test if asked to do so by a law enforcement officer. Drivers who refuse to submit to a chemical test may face an administrative license suspension in addition to criminal DUI charges and penalties.

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