D.U.I. Definition and Legal Meaning

On this page, you'll find the legal definition and meaning of D.U.I., written in plain English, along with examples of how it is used.

What is D.U.I.?

n. Abbreviation for operating a vehicle under the influence of alcohol.

short for “Driving Under the Influence”. Used commonly for drunk driving though the influence could really be anything under which the senses and reflexes are dulled posing a threat say, of accident. For alcohol the limit is 0.08-0.10 BAC in the US.

History and Meaning of D.U.I.

DUI stands for “Driving Under the Influence”. It refers to the act of operating a vehicle while under the influence of alcohol, drugs or any other substance that impairs one's ability to drive. As a legal definition, DUI refers to a criminal offense in most jurisdictions. Drunk driving was identified as a significant legal issue in the United States in the early 20th century as automobiles became more common on the roads, thus endangering public safety.

In 1910, the State of New York passed the first law that made drunk driving a crime. Other states soon followed, and by the 1950s, all states had some kind of anti-drunk driving laws on the books. The legal limit for blood alcohol content (BAC) has decreased progressively since then to the current standard of 0.08% BAC. DUI laws are now a significant part of criminal law in most jurisdictions.

Examples of D.U.I.

  1. A person who was driving with a BAC of 0.09% gets pulled over by the police and is charged with a DUI.
  2. A driver who had consumed cannabis, and whose driving was affected, could be arrested and charged with a DUI.
  3. A motorist, who was also drinking a beer while driving, caused an accident, and was arrested for DUI.

Legal Terms Similar to D.U.I.

  1. DWI: Driving While Intoxicated – a term commonly used in some states to refer to drunk driving.
  2. OWI: Operating While Intoxicated – a term used in some states to refer to the operation of any motor vehicle while under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
  3. OUI: Operating Under the Influence - similar to OWI, this term is used in some states to refer to operating a vehicle under the influence of drugs or alcohol.