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Difference Between DUI and DWI

drunk-drivingDUI vs DWI

DUI and DWI are the acronyms for two legal terms. These concern those who drink or under the influence of drugs and drive. While DUI stands for ‘driving under the influence’ of alcohol or drugs, DWI refers to ‘driving while intoxicated’. To a lay person, both these terms might mean the same as with anybody who simply skims through these terms. However the legal implications of the terms are different.

Driving under the influence of alcohol is a minor offence in comparison to driving while intoxicated. The latter charge has serious repercussions. If charged with DWI, then you are in for serious trouble as you have crossed the stipulated level of intoxication. DUI is of less serious implications in nature.

A person charged with DWI will be subjected to an instant breathalyzer test. The most commonly used test is BAC or Blood Alcohol Concentration. This test measures the ratio of blood and alcohol in your system at the time you undergo the test. The permitted BAC level differs from state to state across the United States of America. For instance, the upper limit for BAC is 0. 08 %. The crossing of this threshold limit will result in the immediate cancellation of one’s driving license.

In case you are jailed and booked, you will soon undergo a bail hearing in which you will be revealed the amount you have to pay for the bail. It will be relatively hassle-free an affair if you do not have a past record of any criminal activity. In such a circumstance, the offender will be let free on a lower bail or with the promise to report in the court as and when demanded.

For those who have had some kind of criminal background, the charge might be considered grave. In case you have made an attempt to flee, the same rule applies. You will be given a stricter sentence and will have to make an appearance on the trial date the court sets for.

If it so happens that you have had a previous tryst with DWI, you can certainly expect a higher fine and in some cases, you are sure to be serving time. For the ‘first-timers’, the punishment is quite predictable. This will include fine, attending awareness classes along with community service hours.

The DUI charge refers to having been caught drunk-driving. This is charged on the basis of the limit set again by each of the States which is normally less than that of the upper limit for DWI. This means that you were not caught legally intoxicated and the consequences too will be less grave. This does not involve the termination of your license. However, other legal consequences will more or less be the same. You will have to undergo the same processes of punishment and trials. If you are charged for the trial for the first time, the consequences are less severe. For those caught in the second time or more, the punishment can be more intense.


1.DUI refers to the charge of ‘driving under the influence’ of some drugs or alcohol. DWI means ‘driving while intoxicated’.
2.DWI is of graver consequences as it indicates that the person has crossed the permitted levels of intoxication. DUI has its upper limit below the level of DWI.
3.The legal consequences for DWI are stricter than that of DUI. DWI results in the termination of the driving license while the latter do not. However the other legal procedures that follow the charge are the same.
4.For those caught for the first time, the authority might show a little lenience. For those who are caught the second time or more and for those with any criminal past, the measures taken against might be stringent.

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