To get the exact difference between DUI and DWI, it makes sense first for a DUI lawyer define them before proceeding.
So, What Is DUI?
DUI is an acronym standing for the term, Driving Under the Influence. A DUI is more of a broad term that ideally encompasses people who operate vehicles under the influence of illegal drugs or even certain prescription drugs.
Obviously, illicit drugs can have serious effects that make it hard for an individual to operate a vehicle safely. Many prescription medications have certain side effects: extreme drowsiness being one of them, particularly drugs that are used to treat insomnia and depression. An individual who knows the dangers of his or her prescription and drives under their influence anyway can be charged with a criminal offense.
Therefore, people found under the influence of alcohol, illegal drugs or prescription drugs that are capable of impairing their ability to safely operate a car are likely to be charged with a DUI.
What about a DWI?
On the other hand, a DWI is an acronym that stands for Driving While Intoxicated. Such a charge is for individuals caught driving a vehicle while intoxicated with alcohol. The definition of intoxication varies slightly from state to state and each and every state has a a legal limit for blood alcohol content. Simply put, driving while intoxicated refers to cases where the individual operates a vehicle with an elevated blood alcohol content that’s above their state’s legal limit.
The implications for both DWI and DUI vary from state to state. Both can warrant jail time, community service and monetary fines. Most states will give lesser punishments to a first time offender, but they will still have a form of legal punishment. Situations that have the most serious implications for the offender are those that involve damages or, sadly, death.