DUI vs DWI? While DUI simply stands for “driving under the influence.” DWI on the other hand is an acronym for “Driving While Intoxicated.” In some cases, DWI can also be used as “Driving While Impaired.”
DUI and DWI can stand for different things or can stand for the same thing (Mean the same thing), it all depends on which state you were pulled over.
Whether you were arrested for DUI or DWI, they both simply mean that the driver is charged with a very serious offense that put both his life and that of others in danger.
Both DWI and DUI apply to the use of alcohol or/and other drugs which include recreational drugs as well as those prescribed by a physician that impairs your ability to drive.
No one offense is greater than the other, both of them actually have a big effect on your life. You can even be considered a felon in most countries like Canada, etc if you are convicted for any of the two (2) offenses.
DUI vs. DWI — Difference Between DUI & DWI For Each State
It all depends on the law of your state, both terms are often used to describe drunken or impaired driving. While some state laws consider the offense of drunken driving as DWI, others call it DUI.
It’s more confusing when some states use both terms. Usually, one term may refer to alcohol and the other refer to impairment usually by substances that are not alcohol (recreational or prescription drugs) and both meanings can flip from one state to another.
The term DWI in some states refers to driving with a BAC (Blood Alcohol Content) more than the legal limit. These states use the term DUI when a driver is convicted for being under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
Meanwhile, other states may use DWI to refer to Driving While Impaired by alcohol, drugs, or some substances that are unknown. They also use DUI to refer to Driving Under the Influence of alcohol. It’s important you check the definition of the terms in the state you reside in.
OWI and OUI Other Acronyms for drunk Driving
Apart from DUI and DWI, there are other acronyms that represent drunk driving. Acronyms like OWI (“Operating While Intoxicated” often used for jurisdictions) and OUI (“operating under the influence” used only in 3 states Maine, Massachusetts, and Rhode Island).
The “operating” distinction surrounds more than just driving a vehicle. It doesn’t matter whether your vehicle is not running, anyone can be charged with the term “operating under the influence”.
Facts About Impaired Driving
If you’re arrested for any of the charges, this means that the arresting officer has cause to believe the driver was too impaired to continue driving. Some jurisdictions can even charge drivers with driving under the influence (or impaired driving) even if they are driving under the 0.08 legal limit.
You can also fail a field sobriety test and also be deemed impaired even though your BAC is less than 0.08.
Virtually all states have zero-tolerance laws that allow even people under 21 to be punished for driving with any trace of alcohol in their system.
Is Drugged Driving an Impaired Driving?
If an officer impairs you, but your breathalyzer test reveals that you’re not under the influence of alcohol, then he/she could suspect that probably drugs (Prescribed, nonprescribed medications, or illegal drugs) were the reason for your impaired driving ability.
The officer can proceed to call a DRE (Drug Recognition Expert) officer who would come and perform a series of tests.
If finally, the test reveals that you were actually under the influence of drugs, then you may be charged with DUI or DWI (Depending on what the state calls it).
Consequences and Arrest
It doesn’t matter what the offense is called within your jurisdiction, be ready to face serious consequences if you’re arrested and found guilty. You will pay fines, including court fees, and could possibly lose your driver’s license.
For a second offense, it’s possible to spend some time in jail. Sometimes you’ll be u will be placed on probation as well as subjected to perform some community service. In order to get your driver’s license back, you’ll be required to attend the defensive driving classes.
Some states will require defaulters to go through an evaluation of their substance use or drinking patterns also. The result of the evaluation will determine if you’ll take part in an alcohol or drug treatment program.
Things you will do in the program can include visiting a residential treatment facility and attending some support group meetings like Alcoholics Anonymous, and more.
After Conviction, What Next?
After getting back your driver’s license, you’ll probably need SR-22 insurance. And guess what? This could possibly double or even triple your premiums, but it depends on the laws of your state. You could pay higher premiums for three (3) years on average.
Some states could even mandate you to obtain an ignition interlock device that will be installed on your vehicle. With the ignition interlock device installed on your vehicle, you wouldn’t be able to start your vehicle without blowing into the device, the device will in turn determine if you’ve been drinking or not.
Note that both the purchase and installation of the ignition interlock device on your vehicle, as well as the monitoring fee will be your responsibility.
Summary on DUI vs DWI
It’s possible to protect both your health, safety, and that of others by simply avoid taking alcohol before driving. The truth is that getting arrested for DUI (Driving Under the Influence) is both very expensive as well as time-consuming. Luckily, it’s 100% avoidable.
Apart from driving under the influence of alcohol, also avoid prescribed medications that warn you about any side effect that affects your attention or impaired driving, or even cause drowsiness.
Let’s try to stay safe for ourselves and our loved ones. Thanks for taking the time to go through this post DUI vs DWI (Differences and Consequences).