Difference Between Similar Terms and Objects

Difference Between DUI and OWI


DUI stands for “driving under the influence” and OWI stands for “operating while intoxicated.” Both of these terms are used for identifying motorists who drive their vehicles under the influence of drugs or alcohol, which is illegal, and have been arrested. The term DUI is used all over the U.S., and each state has different laws to penalize a person under the influence.

DUI is the term primarily used all over U.S., but OWI is also used by some states like Indiana, Wisconsin, and Iowa. Laws have been made to deal with drivers driving under the influence because every year about 40 per cent of the automobile accidents happening in the U.S. are due to drunk drivers

An officer can stop any driver he thinks is under the influence and observe him. The officers do a series of tests. They observe a person’s speech and smell for an alcohol odor on the breath of the driver. A sobriety test is taken, and if the driver fails, he is supposed to surrender to a BAC or Blood Alcohol Test. This test shows the percentage of alcohol in the bloodstream of the driver. The legal limit is 0.10 per cent, but many states give a DUI citation for 0.08 per cent levels. The percentage of BAC results can differentiate whether a person is issued a DUI or OWI in many states, although a DUI being a lesser charge than an OWI in those states.

In the U.S., the legal drinking age is 21. If a person under 21 is arrested for a DUI, then he can be charged immediately and can be kept in the holding cell. Bail set for drivers under 21 is higher than drivers above 21 and first-time offenders. Usually the bail can be up to $150-$2,500. First-time offenders can face 60 days in jail, 90 days to 2 years of license suspension.

If sentenced for driving under the influence, the driver needs to be rehabilitated before he can get his driving license back. For first-time offenders, the license is suspended for one year, and they have to do community service and pay a fine. They need to get an alcohol evaluation done, alcohol treatment and education has to be followed. Sometimes an ignition lock is installed in the car. This lock prevents the driver from starting the car if his breath is over the legal limit. For serious offenders, the license can be suspended forever, and they can be jailed.

A person can lose his/her insurance plan if charged with a DUI/OWI. Some insurance companies increase the monthly premium if a person gets a DUI/OWI.
Getting arrested for a DUI or OWI can change a person’s life forever. People might not like to hire people with DUI/OWI charges as they have to spend a lot of time in court, community services, and rehabilitation.


1.DUI stands for “driving under the influence”; OWI stands for “operating while intoxicated.”
2.DUI is a general term used all over the U.S.; OWI is used in some states like Indiana, Wisconsin, and Iowa along with DUI.
3.In some states where both terms are used, a DUI is a lesser charge than an OWI depending upon the percentage found in the BAC test. An OWI can be reduced to a DUI charge with the help of lawyers fighting the case.

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