Criminal Law – What’s the Difference Between a DUI and a DWI?

One of the top questions that a DUI / DWI Lawyer gets asked is what is the difference between a DUI and a DWI. Here is a quick and simple explanation, but of course, it is always best to seek out a lawyer for the most complete legal advice and help.

DWI Definition – DWI stands for Driving While Intoxicated. You will get a DWI if you are caught driving a means while you are drunk or after drinking alcohol that puts your blood alcohol level higher than the legal limit.

DUI Definition – DUI stands for Driving Under the Influence. You will get a DUI if you are driving while impaired by any substance or drug. Alcohol is clearly a substance that impairs your judgment, so you can get a DUI if you are caught drunk and driving, just like you can get a DWI if you are caught driving after having too many alcoholic beverages. However, if you are impaired by drugs while driving, you will get a DUI and never a DWI.

Generally, a DUI comes with a more strict punishment and a higher monetary penalty, than if you are given a DWI. However, these rules and laws vary on a state by state basis.

What about OVI, OVMI, and OVUAC? What are these terms and how do they relate to DUI and DWI?

OVI Definition – Operating a means While Intoxicated

OVMI Definition – Operating a Motor means While Intoxicated

OVUAC Definition – Operating a means Under a Controlled Substance

These definitions should begin to give you a basic idea of the terminology used in DWI and DUI situations, but you should definitely seek legal counsel if you are faced with any of the above legal charges.

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