By: South Sound Law Group

Understanding Common DUI Terms


Matters of law come with their own vocabulary and acronyms. Within the law, the field of DUI—driving under the influence of drugs and alcohol—has several terms and acronyms. Learning about them will make it easier to understand what’s happening if you or someone you know is facing DUI charges. 

What Are Some of the Common DUI Terms?

  • Physical control. This is similar to a DUI charge. It means it’s a crime in Washington State to be in physical control of a motor vehicle while under the influence of drugs and alcohol, even if the vehicle is parked and not moving.
  • The lowest level criminal charge that can be brought against someone.
  • Gross misdemeanor. This is a mid-level charge, more serious than a misdemeanor but not as serious as a felony.
  • The most severe level of charge that can be brought in Washington State. Several levels of felonies can be charged. 

What Are Some of the Common DUI Acronyms?

  • VIP: Victim Impact Panel. A class that many people who plead guilty or are convicted of a crime must attend. For DUI charges, the panel would be made up of people whose lives were affected by impaired drivers, and they share how that changed their lives.
  • ADIS: Alcohol and Drug Information School. This is usually the minimum treatment required for a DUI or alcohol/drug-related offenses. The school provides education about the dangers of alcohol and drug use and the impact on the user, their loved ones, and the community in general.
  • IID: Ignition Interlock Device. A device installed in your vehicle that requires a breath sample from the driver both before starting the car and at random times while driving to determine if the driver has been using alcohol or drugs.
  • IIL: Ignition Interlock License. A license provided to someone whose regular license has been suspended. This permits them only to drive vehicles with IIDs.
  • EHM/EHD: Electronic Home Monitoring/Detention. This can be sentenced either instead of or in addition to jail time. It’s a device that monitors wherever someone goes to ensure they go only to court-approved places (home, work) and nowhere else they’re prohibited from going.
  • BrAC/BAC: Breath Alcohol Content/Blood Alcohol Content. A breath or blood test determines how much alcohol is in a person’s system.
  • NARO: No Alcohol Related Offenses. This is a condition of probation or sentencing, saying the person charged may be in deeper legal trouble if they receive more alcohol-related offenses, including getting into a physical fight at a bar after drinking.
  • LAB: Law Abiding Behavior. Another condition of probation and sentencing requires the sentenced person not to be arrested or convicted of any other criminal offenses.
  • J&S: Judgment and Sentence. The final court order after someone pleads guilty or is convicted of a criminal offense. It will detail any legal steps the person has to follow, including payment of fines, specific conditions (such as attending one of the classes mentioned above), and the deadlines for doing so.
  • NVOL: No Valid Operator’s License (pronounced “No Vol”). This means driving without a license which can either be a civil infraction or a misdemeanor criminal offense.
  • AEFU: Alcohol Evaluation and Follow Up. A convicted person can be required by the court to be evaluated to see if there are substance abuse issues. If abuse issues are diagnosed, the convicted person is also required to complete the treatment recommended and provide proof of that to the court.
  • ADR: Abstract Driving Record. This is the official driving record for every licensed driver. Copies can be obtained at any Department of Licensing office or online.
  • DCH: Defendant’s Case History. The official record of a person’s case history, showing the charges and other information.
  • ERR: Emergency Response Restitution. People convicted of a crime may be required to pay the cost of having the police officers involved in their arrest. This can vary from a few hundred to thousands of dollars.

Let Us Advise You

DUI laws and sentences vary due to a wide set of variables. If you or someone you know has been charged with a DUI, call trusted counsel for driving under the influence in Tacoma at 253-383-3328 to learn how we can help.