DUI Vs DWI: What Is The Difference Between DUI and DWI?

A lot of people are often confused about DUI and DWI as to what each means, their similarities and differences hence the need to write a post on DUI Vs DWI.

What is DUI?

DUI simply means driving under influence. i.e a driver is being pulled over when he is clearly under influence of alcohol, drugs, or even prescription drugs that impair his/her ability

See Differences Between DUI and DWI

What is DWI?

DWI can be defined as driving while intoxicated, alternatively in some cases driving while impaired.



Both DUI and DWI can have different meanings or they can refer to the same offense, depending on the state in which you were being pulled over.

In any case, DUI and DWI both mean that a driver is putting the lives, health and safety of himself and others at risk and is being charged with a serious offense.

It’s also important to understand that one is not worse than the other and that both can have a big effect on your life.

What Is The Difference Between DUI And DWI?

Both DUI and DWI refer to the illegal act of driving a vehicle while impaired by alcohol and/or drugs. The chief difference lies in what the letters mean. DUI designates driving under the influence, while DWI refers to driving while intoxicated. While they may sound identical on the surface, some states actually classify them as separate crimes.

If you live in a jurisdiction that classifies them separately, DUI is the lesser charge. A DUI charge denotes a lesser degree of impairment than a DWI for a driver charged with drinking and driving. Level of impairment is determined by the driver’s blood alcohol concentration (BAC) at the time of arrest. In some cases, the state may agree to a plea bargain, reducing a more serious charge of DWI to DUI.

There are certain conditions that must be met in order to reduce a DWI charge to a DUI. For example, it must be a first offense and the driver’s BAC may not be excessively over the state’s legal limit.

What Happens After Getting Arrested For Impaired Driving

No matter what the offense is called in your jurisdiction, if you are arrested for impaired driving, you will be facing serious consequences.

If you are convicted or plead guilty, you will probably lose your driver’s license and pay fines and court fees. For a second offense, you may spend some time in jail.

It is also likely that you will be placed on probation and be required to perform community service. To get your driver’s license back, you will probably have to attend defensive driving classes.

In most states, you will probably undergo an evaluation of your drinking or substance use patterns as well. Based on the results of that evaluation, you may have to take part in a drug or alcohol treatment program. That program could range from attending a few support group meetings like Alcoholics Anonymous to entering a residential treatment facility.


For further readings you can see Types of DUI charges