Know The Difference Between DUI And DWI

Know The Difference Between DUI And DWI

Know The Difference Between DUI And DWI

The acronym DUI stands for “driving under the influence,” while DWI stands for “driving while intoxicated,” or, “driving while impaired.” The terms may have different meanings or can refer to the same offense, depending on the state. Neither is worse than the other and can apply to drug and alcohol abuse as well as when legal prescription drugs impair the ability to drive.

Laws vary by state

Both terms are used to describe impaired or drunk driving, depending on the state. Some states laws call the offense a DUI and others call it a DWI. Law enforcement is cracking down on any sort of driving under the influence to prevent the number of drunk driving accidents.

It can be confusing when a state uses both terms. Often one is used to referring to alcohol and the other to drugs or unknown substances. For example, in some states DWI refers to drunk driving, while DUI is used when the driver is charged with being under the influence of drugs. In other states, the meaning is reversed. One can refer to driving while under the legal amount of alcohol consumption, while the other means driving over the legal amount. Even if a person is under the legal blood alcohol content for alcohol, they can be charged. It is important to check the definition used by the state where you were pulled over.


OUI is an acronym for “operating under the influence,” and is used only in the states of Maine, Massachusetts, and Rhode Island. “Operating” includes more than just driving, and refers to any heavy machinery or vehicle use while under the influence of drugs or alcohol. Even if a vehicle is stopped and not running, a person can still be charged with operating under the influence.

Sobriety tests

If you fail a field sobriety test, such as walking a straight line, but pass a Breathalyzer test for alcohol, you can still be arrested for impaired driving. Impaired driving can even be caused by prescription drugs that are legally prescribed to you. You can be charged with drugged driving even if you have not consumed any alcohol or illegal drugs.


No matter which of the above options you are charged with, you will be facing some severe legal consequences. If found guilty for your first offense you will most likely lose your driver’s license and have to pay expensive court fees and fines. You could likely get jail time for a second offense, as well as probation and community service hours. You will have to attend driving classes to get your driver’s license back. You could also be required by law to participate in a rehabilitation program, ranging from an in-patient stay to a certain number of support group meetings.

Even if you get your driver’s license back, you will probably be required to get a special type of insurance with very expensive premiums for a set amount of years. You could also be required to have an ignition interlock device installed in your car, meaning you cannot start the car without blowing into a Breathalyzer-like device. If required, you will be responsible for payment of the device, installation, and a monthly fee. Source link: