The Differences between DWI and DUI



DWI is an acronym for “driving while impaired” or in some instances, “driving while intoxicated” while DUI stands for “driving under the influence.” Depending on the state you reside in, these two terms can mean the same offense or they can refer to different scenarios.

Nevertheless, whichever the case, DWI or DUI, both mean the driver is facing charges of risking the safety of the occupants and himself. The substances in question cover alcohol and other drugs including prescription drugs that impair your ability to drive.

At this point, it’s important to note that both scenarios hold equal weight and thus both can have a significant effect on the victim’s life.


The Definitions Differ by State

the two definitions depend on the state, but both refer to drunken or impaired driving. In some states, the laws regard drunken driving as DWI while others use DUI.

In some, the laws use both with referring to alcohol while the other referring to impairment due to other drugs and substances. Where the law refers to DWI as driving under the influence of alcohol, there’s a blood alcohol level set by the law and will be used as evidence.

With such variations in definitions, it’s important to refer to the state laws.


There’re other acronyms used to refer to drunk driving. OUI and OWI are some of them. OUI stands for operating under the influence and is used in three states alone, Rhode Island, Massachusetts and Maine. OWI, on the other hand, refers to operating while intoxicated.


Impaired driving

This can cause an officer of the law to arrest you if they believe your ability to drive is impaired. In other states, you don’t have to hit the blood alcohol levels to warrant an arrest. As long as you’re found driving under the influence or fail a sobriety test or indicate signs that you’re impaired, you’re liable for the consequences including an arrest.


Impaired Driving Includes Drugged driving

You might not be under the influence of alcohol, but the arresting officer might test you for other drugs. This includes nonprescription and prescription drugs as well as other illegal drugs. If the officer isn’t capable of performing the test, they can call a Drug Recognition Expert to determine the kind of drug you’re using.

If the results turn out positive for any banned substance, then you’ll be arrested and charged with DUI or DWI. The charges will depend on the state laws.


Impaired Driving Charges

If you’re charged with impaired driving, you’ll have to face dire consequences. Should you plead guilty, you may lose your driver’s license.

In addition, you’ll also have to pay court fees and fines. If you’re charged for the second time, you might go behind bars. On top of that, you’ll be put on probation while doing community service. Also, if you wish to get back your driving license, you’ll have to take defensive driving classes.


More Effects of a DUI Conviction

after getting your license back, you might have to take an SR-22 insurance. This means paying double or even triple for your premiums, but this will depend on the state you’re in.

You might also have to install an ignition interlock device on your car. This means you won’t be able to start the car until you blow into the device to determine blood alcohol levels. This is an additional cost considering you’ll have to purchase and pay for its installation.

Driving while impaired is a serious offense since it touches on human life not to mention the financial and emotional effects it’ll have on you and your loved ones. Therefore, don’t drink and drive. Also, if you’re on some prescription drugs, make sure you don’t drive as well.

However, if you find yourself in such a situation, it’s best to call a Beaverton DUI Attorney.




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