DUI vs DWI: Differences You Should Know

In 2016, over one million drivers were arrested for driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs according to the CDC. If you find yourself in the position where you are one of those drivers the question becomes whether you will end up with a DUI vs a DWI.

Both charges can have major consequences but they do have different meanings you should understand. If you do not know what the difference is between a DUI vs a DWI then keep reading to find out. 

What’s the Difference Between a DUI vs a DWI?

Whether it is your first offense or you have prior offenses a DUI or DWI is a serious offense with serious consequences. It is important to understand the difference between the two, however, one is not worse than the other.

While some states may not recognize these as separate charges in other states they are separate charges with different meanings. To understand the difference between a DUI and a DWI, you must first understand what each charge is individually and DUI vs DWI laws. 

What Is a DUI?

DUI stands for driving under the influence. This charge occurs when the driver of a vehicle has been drinking or is under the influence of drugs.

A key factor here is that the officer does not always need to administer a breathalyzer depending on the state.

In addition, if the officer does administer a breathalyzer and the blood-alcohol content (BAC) is 0.01% they can still charge the driver with a DUI even though they are under the legal limit. 

What is a DWI?

DWI stands for driving while impaired. A DWI charge occurs when the driver’s BAC is over the legal limit. This is 0.08% in most states but in Utah, it is 0.05%.  

What Happens When You Are Pulled Over for a DUI or a DWI? 

Today Bill (fictional character) was pulled over for a DUI. The officer suspected that he had been drinking due to driving that put others at risk. Bill’s BAC was only 0.04% so he was charged with a DUI vs a DWI. 

The officer cuffs and arrests Bill and takes him to jail where he calls his DUI defense lawyer, Timothy Webb. Bill makes bail and returns home to await his date before the judge. 

Once Bill goes to court depending on whether or not he has past convictions he could face various consequences including fines, a raise in his car insurance premiums, loss of his license, time in jail, and/or probation. Bill could also be required to take defensive driving courses to get his license back. 

Finally, Bill may be required to undergo evaluation for substance abuse treatment and attend counseling or AA.

Drive Safe and Responsibly

Everyone makes mistakes. How you move forward is what makes the difference. Now that you know the difference between a DUI vs a DWI take that knowledge and choose to not get behind the wheel when you have been drinking or using drugs. 

There are more lives than yours at risk. If this article was helpful to you make sure you take the time to check out the Law section for more helpful posts. 

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Christophe Rude

Christophe Rude

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