DUI Versus DWI: What’s The Difference?

dui versus dwiThe high prevalence of drunk driving in the country has interested a lot of people in knowing more about it. You may or may not have experienced getting entangled with the law because of drunk driving but it is highly advisable that you are aware of the legal implications of drunk driving beforehand.

Blood Alcohol Content and the Use of Illegal Drugs

Both driving under the influence (DUI) and driving while intoxicated or impaired (DWI) have something to do with a person’s blood alcohol levels while driving. These terms may also refer to operating a vehicle while under the influence of illegal drugs.

The different states of the United States have come up with legal limits of a person’s blood alcohol content when driving and anyone who goes over the limit gets charged with either a DUI or DWI. The states have varying rules as to this limit. Some of them do not differentiate between DUI and DWI but others have lower and higher brackets to distinguish the two.

The purpose of these limits is to help authorities determine the capability of individuals to continue driving in their current condition. Drivers who are less alert and with dulled senses due to the excessive use of drugs and/or alcohol may cause harm not only to themselves but to innocent motorists and pedestrians. Also worth noting is the value of damaged properties in case of accidents and mishaps.

DUI or Driving Under the Influence

The term DUI is used when the driver of a vehicle is under the influence of alcohol or drugs. In states which differentiate DUI from DWI or driving while intoxicated or impaired, the former is usually considered with a lesser charge carrying a lower penalty.

DUI is usually the one used as the charge in case it is the defendant’s first offense, displayed remorse over his actions and the blood alcohol level is only slightly above the legal limit. The charge of driving while intoxicated can also be downgraded to driving under the influence if the preceding conditions are also met with the help of a DUI lawyer.

DWI or Driving While Intoxicated or Impaired

In states where DUI is differentiated from DWI, the latter is considered with a more severe offense carrying a higher penalty. DUI is used in case a driver exceeds the minimum blood alcohol content level while DWI is used for those who exceed an even higher limit. While DWI could refer to driving while impaired, it is often used in cases where the driver is intoxicated with alcohol or has extremely high blood alcohol content. This is especially true in states where DWI and DUI are differentiated.

However, there are some states that have zero tolerance policy and in these states, the terms DUI and DWI are considered synonymous and interchangeably used. They are used to describe drunken or impaired driving as long as they exceed the legal limits regardless of the degree of impairment and intoxication.  They are punished with the same penalty and in the same manner.

While the meanings of DUI and DWI may differ, these differences are only minor and both terms essentially refer to the same condition which is drunken or impaired driving. Whether or not a state differentiates between the two, the bottomline is that both are considered serious criminal offenses which may have far reaching implications in your life.

Hiring help from professionals who are experts in this kind of situation is your best recourse. With the legal implications of drunk driving, hiring a DUI attorney would be extremely useful as DUI lawyers have a lot of experience in dealing with the law. Do not let a single mistake ruin your life. Get help from a DUI attorney as early as you can.

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