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With the alphabet soup of OUI/DUI/DWI out there, we wanted to provide a glossary of all the buzz words you might come across when researching the field. Your official drunk driving charge will depend on what state you are charged in.

OUI – Operating Under the Influence

This is the most common abbreviation in the State of Maine for describing someone who was Operating Under the Influence. This is a much more encompassing word and is a good fit for Maine as there are many different forms of motored vehicles in this state – boats, snow mobiles, tractors, etc. OUI is also used in Massachusetts and Rhode Island.

DUI – Driving Under the Influence

The abbreviation for Driving Under the Influence. More often than not, this constitutes alcohol, but can also extend to the use of drugs of other chemicals.

DWI – Driving While Intoxicated

The abbreviation for Driving While Intoxicated (or Impaired). This is a widely used term in the United States and can be used for other substances other than alcohol.

BAC – Blood Alcohol Content.

The abbreviation for Blood Alcohol Content. This is a measurement of how much alcohol is in your body and is used to determine if you are legally intoxicated. In Maine, the BAC threshold for 21+ year olds is .08%. If a driver is under 21 years of age, there is a zero tolerance rule.

Breathalizer / Intoxylizer

This refers to the instrument used to perform a breath test which measures the BAC of someone. This is usually done at a police station.

Sobriety Tests

This refers to the tests that a police office would give a driver while on the road, usually at the time when they are pulled over. The sobriety tests given in Maine are typically horizontal gaze nystagmus (HGN), the one leg stand, and down & back walk. Please refer to the Sobriety Tests section for a full description.

Implied Consent

When you receive your Maine State driver’s license, you agree to submit a chemical or breath test if one is requested of you under just cause. The act of driving is considered to be implied consent that you agree to these terms. Refusing to perform a breath test or a chemical test, thus, results in a non-criminal penalty (180 days for first offense) and is not as serious as being charged with an OUI.

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