DUI or DWI: What’s the Difference?

The first thing you’ll need to know is whether you’re facing a DUI charge, or a DWI charge. Some states differentiate between the two, while others do not. In those that do, a DUI stands for “Driving Under the Influence” and this offense is generally not as severe as a DWI. A DUI may refer to an individual that was charged with driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs.  When alcohol is involved and a DUI is the charge, it indicates a lesser degree of drunkenness than a DWI.

In the states that make no distinction between the two, a DWI stands for “Driving While Intoxicated” and this charge can carry hefty penalties. Consequences of a DWI include jail time, loss of license, and incredibly expensive fines. States that have both designations often allow a DWI charge to be lowered to a DUI. But, this is usually only with the help of a DUI attorney – another reason why you need to hire one when facing this charge.

Other states however, that don’t differentiate will hand down the same sentence for being over the legal limit, no matter how much or how little you are over.


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