Explaining the Difference Between DUI and DWI

What You Need to Know

Knowing the difference between DUI and DWI can be important and even life-saving. Both terms refer to operating a motor vehicle while under the influence of drugs or alcohol, but the two terms have different meanings and implications. Depending on where you live, the laws and penalties for each can vary. It is important to be aware of what constitutes a DUI or DWI and the potential consequences of your actions. By understanding the legal definitions and the differences between DUI and DWI, you can make informed decisions and stay safe on the road. Next Article.

Definition of DUI and DWI

Driving under the influence (DUI) and driving while impaired (DWI) are terms used to refer to operating a motor vehicle while under the influence of drugs or alcohol. The legal definitions of DUI and DWI may vary from state to state, and from jurisdiction to jurisdiction. For example, the BAC (blood alcohol content) limit for a DUI/DWI charge may vary based on your age, gender, and weight. Another key difference is the potential consequences. A Great Website.

Potential consequences of DUI/DWI

  • Immediate suspension of your driver’s license. Depending on the jurisdiction, this may be a mandatory suspension. 
  • A criminal record. In some cases, even with a first DUI/DWI offense, a criminal record is created and may stay on your record for 10 years or longer. 
  • Fines. The amount of fines and costs for a DUI/DWI conviction can vary widely. 
  • Imprisonment. While the potential penalties for a DUI/DWI convictions vary, imprisonment may be a possibility.
  • Increased car insurance rates. In some cases, a DUI/DWI conviction can increase your car insurance rates. 
  • Inability to travel to certain countries. Some countries refuse entry to those who have a DUI/DWI conviction on their record.

Laws and penalties for DUI/DWI

  • Blood alcohol content (BAC) limits: The BAC limit generally refers to the amount of alcohol in your system when driving. The BAC limit for most jurisdictions is 0.08%, with some exceptions. For example, the BAC limit in Colorado is 0.05%, and in Washington it is 0.10%. 
  • Penalties for DUI/DWI convictions: The penalties for DUI/DWI convictions may vary depending on the jurisdiction. However, generally the penalties for a DUI/DWI conviction will include fines, loss of driver’s license, and in some cases, imprisonment. Penalties for DUI/DWI convictions increase with each subsequent conviction.

What to do if you are charged with DUI/DWI

  • Seek legal counsel: The sooner you seek legal counsel after being charged with a DUI/DWI, the more options and potential outcomes you may have. 
  • Contact your insurance company: If you are charged with a DUI/DWI, it is important to contact your auto insurance company as soon as possible. In many cases, your insurance company will be able to put a hold on your premium payments until the matter is resolved. 
  • Be prepared to pay higher rates: If the charges against you are dropped or you are acquitted, you may be able to save money on your insurance rates. However, if you are convicted, your rates are likely to increase. 
  • Collect evidence: If you believe you have been falsely accused, or there are extenuating circumstances, you may want to collect evidence to support your case. 
  • Hire a lawyer: Even if you are innocent, it is important to seek legal counsel. Your lawyer can help protect your rights and explore all options.

How to avoid DUI/DWI

  • Designate a sober driver. It is important to avoid driving after consuming alcohol or drugs. If you are under the influence and get behind the wheel, you are likely to be arrested for a DUI/DWI. 
  • Explore alternative transportation options. If you plan to consume alcohol, you can explore different transportation options, such as public transportation, taxis, ride-share programs, or carpooling. 
  • Be aware of the potential consequences of DUI/DWI. The consequences of a DUI/DWI conviction can be severe. 
  • Learn about the legal definitions of DUI/DWI. By understanding what constitutes a DUI/DWI, you can make informed decisions and stay safe on the road.

Resources to learn more about DUI/DWI

Check out Gatlin Voelker Law Firm’s DUI page for great additional info.