At first glance, you might think that the difference between DUI and DWI is as simple as one letter. But in fact, you’d only be partially correct. The question of DUI vs DWI comes up in many states that use both terms, and the distinction isn’t always straightforward.
Of course, as a DUI defense lawyer will tell you, both can do serious damage to your driving record. If you’ve been charged with either, it’ll help you to go more in-depth on the difference, so you can better understand how to defend yourself, and avoid similar charges in the future.
DWI vs DUI: The Main Differences
If you’re going off of words alone, the simplest distinction between DWI and DUI is that DUI means driving under the influence, whereas DWI means driving while intoxicated. It gets trickier when you consider that sometimes the two can refer to the same situation. Overall, the more precise versions of these definitions depend upon your condition when you get pulled over.
- What is a DWI? Driving while intoxicated is when someone behind the wheel has alcohol in their bloodstream over the federal legal BAC limit of 0.08%. In some states, this can even apply to levels as low as 0.01% BAC.
- What is a DUI? Driving under the influence specifically means when someone behind the wheel is either under the influence of alcohol or drugs. This can mean any drugs — illegal, prescription, or over-the-counter.
While DUI seems to be a more flexible term, some states define DWI as driving while impaired, which can mean by either drugs or alcohol. That makes these terms even more similar to one another. But ultimately, both refer to dangerous behavior behind the wheel.
That’s why it’s so important, no matter which of these you’ve been charged with, that you work with a knowledgeable attorney who can help you navigate your case. There can be serious financial and legal consequences for these charges, especially depending upon whether another party was involved or if you’ve had any prior convictions. You don’t want to have to deal with the potential fallout on your own.
Working with a DUI Defense Attorney
Overall, the question of DWI vs DUI comes down not only to your level of impairment while driving, but also the state in which you were charged. You should know that DUI laws are as strict in several states as DWI laws, and can result in you having your license suspended, among other consequences.
If you’ve been charged with a DUI or a DWI in the Lehigh Valley, you don’t deserve to have it ruin your record forever. Let a defense attorney from Fliszar Law Offices help you with your DUI defense. You can contact us today to ask questions about your situation, or schedule a free consultation, by calling 484-498-4100.