How is a DUI different with DWI? 75 Answers as of July 25, 2012

I am up against a DWI charge. Is this graver or less graver than DUI? What should I do?

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Reeves Aiken & Hightower | Arthur K. Aiken
South Carolina has driving under the influence (DUI) and driving with an unlawful alcohol concentration (DUAC) but not driving while intoxicated (DWI).
Answer Applies to: South Carolina
Replied: 7/25/2012
Salladay Law Office | Lance Salladay
DUI and DWI are effectively the same- driving under the influence of intoxicants (DUI) or driving while intoxicated (DWI).
Answer Applies to: Idaho
Replied: 7/20/2012
Mark Thiessen, Attorney at Law
Mark Thiessen, Attorney at Law | Mark Thiessen
DUI is for people under 21 with under a 0.08 alcohol concentration. DWI if for anyone, any age who is intoxicated.
Answer Applies to: Texas
Replied: 7/20/2012
Law Offices of Ward F. McDonough, Jr. | Ward F. McDonough, Jr.
Usually it depends upon the level of a persons blood alcohol. While the level is not always determinative, the difference is whether the a person was "impaired" or whether the person was intoxicated to the extent that their ability to drive was seriously affect/effected.
Answer Applies to: Michigan
Replied: 7/20/2012
Law office of Robert D. Scott | Robert Scott
They are equally bad. DWI requires a blood alcohol content of .08 or higher. DUI requires operating a motor vehicle when your ability to do so is appreciably impaired by alcohol, drugs or a combination thereof.
Answer Applies to: Maryland
Replied: 7/19/2012
    Michael Breczinski
    Michael Breczinski | Michael Breczinski
    I n many places they are the same thing Driving while Intoxicated and Driving under the Influence. There is a lesser charge of impaired driving. That used to be Driving While Impaired so that is the confusion but they do not use those initials anymore for impaired driving.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 7/19/2012
    Gregory Casale Attorney at Law
    Gregory Casale Attorney at Law | Gregory Casale
    This is a good question and one that I am asked often. In Massachusetts there is no such thing as DUI or DWI. They are both acronyms for the terms Driving Under the Influence (DUI) and Driving While Intoxicated (DWI), respectively. The Massachusetts statutory language is actually "Operating Under the Influence". Therefore, here in MA, the term is OUI. There are states, such as New York, where there are varying levels of drunk driving. In such a state the charges and punishments differ and the accompanying acronyms have significance. Here in MA, there is only one level and the terms DUI, DWI and OUI are all interchangeable and all refer to the same charge (ch. 90, ? 24); Operating Under the Influence of alcohol.
    Answer Applies to: Massachusetts
    Replied: 7/19/2012
    The Short Law Group, P.C.
    The Short Law Group, P.C. | Shawn Kollie
    Under Oregon Law the crime is actually DUI, not DWI or OUI (as it is in other states). An individual can be arrested and charged with Driving Under the Influence when they are 'intoxicated to a noticeable degree' or have a BAC over .08 at the time of driving. Simply because someone blows above the .08 does not necessarily mean they are over the limit at the time of driving. A DUI is a Class A Misdemeanor with a maximum of 1 year in custody and a $6,250 fine. A DUI also has mandatory minimums in fines and jail time. Contact a DUI Lawyer about the facts of your case.
    Answer Applies to: Oregon
    Replied: 7/19/2012
    Nelson & Lawless
    Nelson & Lawless | Terry Nelson
    They are the same thing. Just different slang. A little free advice: When arrested for DUI, whether alcohol or drugs, then upon release from jail or booking the defendant is given documents that include a notice that you have only ten days to file a request with DMV for a hearing on an appeal of the automatic suspension of your license imposed by DMV. That is separate and runs consecutively with any suspension that may be imposed by the DMV, or the court upon conviction. Contact DMV and do so, timely, then appear at your scheduled DMV appeal hearing and present any supporting evidence and testimony. If you do not win the appeal, you can still apply later for a restricted license for to/from work and school, etc., after serving at least of the full suspension period. If you don't know how to do these things effectively, then hire an attorney that does. When arrested or charged with any crime, the proper questions are, can any evidence obtained in a test, search or confession be used against you, can you be convicted, and what can you do? Raise all appropriate defenses with whatever witnesses, evidence and sympathies are available for legal arguments, for evidence suppression or other motions, or for trial. Effective plea-bargaining, using those defenses, could possibly reduce the potential time and other penalties you face. While this isn't a 'capital case', you certainly face fines and potential jail, so handle it right. If you don't know how to represent yourself effectively against an experienced prosecutor intending to convict, then hire an attorney who does, who will try to get a dismissal, charge reduction, diversion, program, or other decent outcome through plea bargain, or take it to trial if appropriate.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 7/19/2012
    Law Office of Michael E. Dailey
    Law Office of Michael E. Dailey | Michael E. Dailey
    The terms are generally used interchangeably and your just as bad off with either. You still need a lawyer.
    Answer Applies to: Missouri
    Replied: 7/19/2012
    Toivonen Law Office | John Toivonen
    In Michigan the charges are Operating While Intoxicated (OWI), and Operating While Visibly Impaired (OWVI) which is a lesser charge. An experienced criminal defense attorney can get an OWI reduced to an OWVI.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 7/19/2012
    Austin Hirschhorn, P.C.
    Austin Hirschhorn, P.C. | Austin Hirschhorn
    DUI means driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs and is a more serious charge than DWI which means driving while your ability to drive is impaired by the ingestion of alcohol or drugs. Both of these offenses are categorized as misdemeanors. While you are not required to hire a lawyer to represent you, I would recommend that you hire an attorney who handles these cases regularly to represent you. The penalties for these offenses are severe and the courts have lost much of their influence in the handling of these cases to the Secretary of State which has very strict requirements for licensing after a DUI or DWI conviction. A lawyer can usually negotiate a much better result for you than you can negotiate on your own.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 7/17/2012
    Law Office of Richard Williams
    Law Office of Richard Williams | Richard Williams
    They are one and the same.
    Answer Applies to: Alabama
    Replied: 7/19/2012
    Peacock Law Group of the Lowcountry, LLC | Richard Peacock
    In SC, a DWI was most likely issued pursuant to either a municipal or county code of ordinances. It will depend what code it was issued pursuant to. It would be wise to seek legal counsel in regards to this matter.
    Answer Applies to: South Carolina
    Replied: 7/19/2012
    THE LOCKHART LAW FIRM | CLAYTON LOCKHART
    The two are actually synonomous with each other. Some states call it DUI, others call it DWI. In MS it's a DUI. Generally the punishments are the same regardless of the terminology used.
    Answer Applies to: Mississippi
    Replied: 7/19/2012
    Law Office of Peter F. Goldscheider
    Law Office of Peter F. Goldscheider | Peter Goldscheider
    They are the same but are divided into two ways of proving it: first, if you are above a .08 % blood alcohol; and, second, if you are found to actually be under the influence usually based on the opinion of the arresting officer.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 7/19/2012
    Law Office of Jared Altman
    Law Office of Jared Altman | Jared Altman
    In NY they mean the same thing.
    Answer Applies to: New York
    Replied: 7/19/2012
    Law Offices of James H. Dippery, Jr. | James H. Dippery, Jr.
    There is no practical difference between a DUI (driving under the influence) and a DWI (driving while intoxicated). Hope this helps.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 7/19/2012
    Douglas M. Philpott, P.C. | Peter J. Philpott
    The are two types of drunk driving. Operating under the influence and lesser offense operating while impaired. You should retain an attorney to assist you and let you know if your options and to inform you of the multiple ramifications of this charge.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 7/10/2012
    Cornish, Crowley, Rockafellow, & Sartz, PLLC
    Cornish, Crowley, Rockafellow, & Sartz, PLLC | Jacob Peter Sartz IV
    I'd recommend you obtain counsel to assist you with this matter. You have a right to counsel and should not be afraid to exercise that right. If you cannot afford to retain a lawyer, the court may appoint you one at the public's expense. Generally speaking, in Michigan, there are three types of primary OUI/DUI/DWI offenses; Operating While Intoxicated, high BAC ("The Super Drunk Law"), which carries the toughest penalties for first time offenders, Operating while Intoxicated (Usually charged when people have a BAC of at or above .08), a 93 day misdemeanor with less severe sanctions than the super-drunk law, and Operating While Impaired (no BAC requirement; prosecutor needs to show that any alcohol in the driver's system impaired the driver's ability to operate a motor vehicle), which is the least severe of the usual OUI offenses. If you were charged with Operating While Impaired, then the sanctions for conviction would be considerably less severe than the other two.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 7/19/2012
    Timothy J. Thill P.C.
    Timothy J. Thill P.C. | Timothy J. Thill
    You are in a state where they use the old term DWI, instead of DUI. It makes no difference, as far as I can tell, except that the threshold for being considered intoxicated might well be .10, instead of the more commonly held threshold of .08, used in the vast majority of states throughout the US, now. Penalties vary from state to state, you would have to consult with counsel who practices in your state about the specifics in your case. I can tell you that you are in serious trouble, be sure to hire an attorney, or you could possibly be facing jail time, and loss of your license.
    Answer Applies to: Illinois
    Replied: 7/19/2012
    Michael E. Jones, P.S. | Michael E. Jones
    DUI and DWI are the same offense by different names. Either carries nmandatory jail and fine. You should seek immediate help from experienced, local counsel.
    Answer Applies to: Washington
    Replied: 7/19/2012
    Smith Hood Bigman
    Smith Hood Bigman | Horace Smith
    Both are merely abbreviations referring to the same law but choosing different words in driving under the influence or driving while intoxicated.
    Answer Applies to: Florida
    Replied: 7/19/2012
    Myles Hahn III Attorney at Law | Myles Hahn III
    Both are equally serious. Hire an attorney.
    Answer Applies to: Illinois
    Replied: 7/19/2012
    Dunnings Law Firm
    Dunnings Law Firm | Steven Dunnings
    DWI is a lesser charge.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 7/19/2012
    Law Offices of John Carney
    Law Offices of John Carney | John Carney
    You should call my office or a good criminal attorney to handle the case to try and get the best possible disposition. A DWI is a misdemeanor and means you were intoxicated and "incapable of operating a vehicle as a reasonable and prudent driver". A DWAI is a violation and is less serious but can still be a problem with getting a job or getting into certain schools or organizations. A DUI is what some states call a DWI, Driving Under the Influence. DWI is Driving While intoxicated. Almost all DWI cases are young men coming home late at night from a bar who are stopped for a traffic violation or just because the police suspect that the driver might have been drinking. It is a foolish and dangerous thing to do considering it can get you killed, cause an accident and injure innocent people, cause your license to be revoked and your insurance to go up to $10,000 a year, and ruin your chances of getting a good job for the rest of your life. Thousands of people are competing for a few jobs and corporations and companies will almost never hire people with a criminal record, especially for theft or DWI since they are liable for their employees actions. Almost everyone gets at least a DWAI conviction and employers look at that the same way as a DWI. You can't even get into Canada and some other countries with a DWI conviction. In short, it is much smarter and cheaper to just take a taxi.
    Answer Applies to: New York
    Replied: 7/19/2012
    Law Office of James A Schoenberger
    Law Office of James A Schoenberger | James A Schoenberger
    They are the same.
    Answer Applies to: Washington
    Replied: 7/19/2012
    Universal Law Group, Inc. | Francis John Cowhig
    They are exactly the same. I suggest that you contact an experienced criminal law attorney for a face-to-face consultation and give him/her all of the facts surrounding your case. He/she would then be in a better position to analyze you case and advise you of your options.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 7/18/2012
    Law Firm of Martin & Wallentine
    Law Firm of Martin & Wallentine | Jerry Lee Wallentine Jr.
    A DUI in Kansas is equivalent to a DWI in Missouri. There is a DWI city ordinance in a Kansas municipality though. It is serious, but different than a regular DUI. Perhaps this is what you are facing.
    Answer Applies to: Kansas
    Replied: 7/18/2012
    Law Office of Jared C. Winter
    Law Office of Jared C. Winter | Jared C. Winter
    There is no distinction between DUI and DWI in California. It's the same thing.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 7/18/2012
    William L. Welch, III Attorney | William L. Welch, III
    Driving Under the Influence requires the state to prove BAC or .08 or greater either by chemical test (blood or breath) or by other evidence that proves that the driver was "drunk," like odor, inability to stand, passed out, vomiting, etc. Driving While Impaired requires the state to prove BAC of .07 or less by similar evidence. Both carry up to a year in jail for the first offense, two years in prison for a second offense, and three years in prison for a third or subsequent offense. Conviction for DUI results in 12 points, which would cause the MVA to seek administrative revocation of the driver's license, while conviction for DWI results in 8 points, which would cause the MVA to seek administrative suspension of the driver's license. What you should do is seek a confidential consultation with an experienced defense lawyer.
    Answer Applies to: Maryland
    Replied: 7/18/2012
    Kevin Bessant
    Kevin Bessant | Kevin Bessant
    Although DUI and DWI are often interchangeable terms when used to describe drunk driving offenses,there is a difference between the two. In Michigan a DUI (driving under the influence) is considered a OWVI (operating while visibly impaired). An DWI (Driving while intoxicated) is called an OWI (Operating while intoxicated). A OWVI is a lesser offense than an OWI. An OWI is where you blood alcohol level is .08% or above, and you are legally declared intoxicated. An OWVI is where you BAC is lower than a .08, but being under the influence of alcohol has affected your ability to operate a motor vehicle. It is considered a lesser offense because you are not legally "intoxicated" under the statue. A DWI/OWI conviction can have both legal and financial consequences as it will severely impact you criminal record, driver's record, and insurance rates. I strongly suggest you seek the representation of a criminal defense attorney to help navigate your case and place you in the best legal and financial position possible.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 7/18/2012
    Law Office of Gregory Crain | Gregory Crain
    DUI is for under 21. DWI is for over 21.
    Answer Applies to: Arkansas
    Replied: 7/18/2012
    Law Offices of Brian J. Lockwood
    Law Offices of Brian J. Lockwood | Brian J. Lockwoood
    DUI (Driving Under the Influence), DWI (Driving While Intoxicated), OMVI (Operating a Motor Vehicle while Intoxicated) and DUBAL (Driving with an Unlawful Blood Alcohol Level) are all just different ways to describe the same charge.
    Answer Applies to: Alabama
    Replied: 7/18/2012
    Darrell B. Reynolds, P.C. | Darrell B. Reynolds
    They are the same.
    Answer Applies to: Georgia
    Replied: 7/18/2012
    Alvin Lundgren | Alvin Lundgren
    They are the same.
    Answer Applies to: Utah
    Replied: 7/18/2012
    Dennis Roberts, a P.C.
    Dennis Roberts, a P.C. | Dennis Roberts
    No such thing in CA. Only DUI.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 7/18/2012
    Blough Law Office | Janis L. Blough
    DUI means "driving under the influence," whereas DWI means "driving while impaired," a lesser offense with lower penalties. Sometimes these initials are used incorrectly, so it is critical to find the statute or ordinance number under which you are charged. Best advice is to hire an experienced attorney who will work to minimize consequences to your wallet, your freedom, your driving privileges, and your insurance costs for the next few years. These offenses are not to be taken lightly because the penalties can have such a long term and serious effect on all of the above. Hire a good lawyer and Good Luck!
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 7/18/2012
    Elmbrook Law Offices
    Elmbrook Law Offices | Gregory Straub
    There is no difference. DWI is driving while intoxicated. DUI is driving under the influence. Same penalities for both of them.
    Answer Applies to: Wisconsin
    Replied: 7/18/2012
    Steven Alpers | Steven Alpers
    There is no difference. Some people call it DUI others call it DWI.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 7/18/2012
    Law Office of Phillip Weiser
    Law Office of Phillip Weiser | Phillip L. Weiser
    They are the same charge just referred to differently by different state statutes.
    Answer Applies to: Kansas
    Replied: 7/18/2012
    Law Office of Richard Southard
    Law Office of Richard Southard | Richard C Southard
    There is no DUI charge in New York - There is Driving while Intoxicated (a misdemeanor crime) and Driving While Ability Impaired (a traffic infraction) The misdemeanor is a much more serious charge.
    Answer Applies to: New York
    Replied: 7/18/2012
    Beaulier Law Office
    Beaulier Law Office | Maury Beaulier
    A DWI and a DUI are synonymous terms referring to the same type of action. Different states use different terminology.
    Answer Applies to: Minnesota
    Replied: 7/18/2012
    Freeborn Law Offices, P.S.
    Freeborn Law Offices, P.S. | Steve Freeborn
    There is no difference. They are the same thing.
    Answer Applies to: Washington
    Replied: 7/18/2012
    Law Office of George M. Derieg
    Law Office of George M. Derieg | George Derieg
    DUI and DWI are the exact same charge. DUI means driving under the influence and DWI means driving while intoxicated. They are both one and the same under California Vehicle Code section 23152 and it's progeny.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 7/10/2012
    R. Jason de Groot, P.A
    R. Jason de Groot, P.A | R. Jason de Groot
    What you should do is hire a private attorney. DWI stands for driving while intoxicated, DUI stands for driving under the influence. It's always DUI in Florida. Other states use DWI. So, you are not actually charged in Florida.
    Answer Applies to: Florida
    Replied: 7/18/2012
    Anderson Law Office
    Anderson Law Office | Scott L. Anderson
    A DWI and DUI are the same, actually a DWI no longer exists because it was replaced with driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
    Answer Applies to: Minnesota
    Replied: 7/18/2012
    Law Office of Michael Morgan, l.L.C.
    Law Office of Michael Morgan, l.L.C. | Michael Morgan
    DUI is an acronym for Driving Under the Influence while DWI is an acronym for Driving While Intoxicated.
    Answer Applies to: Washington
    Replied: 7/18/2012
    Glass Defense Firm
    Glass Defense Firm | Jason M. Glass
    There is basically no difference. In WV it is referred to as DUI or driving under the influence. Other states refer to it as DWI, driving while intoxicated, OUI, operating under the influence, or OWI, operating while intoxicated. The different acronyms basically mean the same thing though.
    Answer Applies to: West Virginia
    Replied: 7/18/2012
    The Law Offices of Harold L. Wallin | Harold L. Wallin
    Illinois only has DUI. There is no DWI here. If you were arrested in another state, be advised that Illinois will treat a DWI conviction the same as a DUI conviction and revoke your drivers license.
    Answer Applies to: Illinois
    Replied: 7/18/2012
    Conway Law Pllc.
    Conway Law Pllc. | B. L. Conway
    No real distinction friend. Be it by drug, marijuana or alcohol, the issue is the same: Intoxication as defined by the code. You are looking at up to a Year w/ license suspension, ignition interlock w/ restricted priviliges and a $2500 fine.
    Answer Applies to: Virginia
    Replied: 7/17/2012
    Germaine & Blaszka, P.A.
    Germaine & Blaszka, P.A. | Donald L. Blaszka, Jr.
    DUI and DWI are used interchangeably in NH. There is no difference.
    Answer Applies to: New Hampshire
    Replied: 7/17/2012
    Law Office of James S. Lochead
    Law Office of James S. Lochead | James S. Lochead
    And refers to the same crime. Same thing essentially. DUI as the law is written in California is Driving While Under the Influence of a Conrolled Substance or Alcohol. DWI is Driving While Intoxicated and refers to the same crime.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 7/17/2012
    Law Office of Ronald G. Draper | Ronald G. Draper
    It's the same charge. Hire a lawyer to defend you.
    Answer Applies to: Illinois
    Replied: 7/17/2012
    Palumbo and Kosofsky
    Palumbo and Kosofsky | Michael Palumbo
    It's merely semantics.
    Answer Applies to: New York
    Replied: 7/17/2012
    Clos, Russell & Wirth, P.C. | Gary A. Russell
    The terms DUI and DWI are carry over acronyms from the past. The current acronym, under state statute at least, is OWI and OWVI, operating while intoxicated and operating while visibly impaired. Most likely the DWI is the same as OWI.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 7/17/2012
    Healan Law Offices
    Healan Law Offices | William D. Healan, III
    Some states call it DUI, some call it DWI. In Georgia the offense is called DUI.
    Answer Applies to: Georgia
    Replied: 7/17/2012
    Gutin and Wolverton
    Gutin and Wolverton | Harley Gutin
    It is the same. No real difference it is just what it is called in some places other then Florida.
    Answer Applies to: Florida
    Replied: 7/17/2012
    The Rogers Law Firm
    The Rogers Law Firm | Andrea Storey Rogers
    DUI and DWI are terms that are used interchangeably in Missouri for driving while under the influence of alcohol. DUID is driving under the influence of drugs. You need to hire an experienced DWI/DUI lawyer to represent you to avoid jail time and to preserve your driving privileges.
    Answer Applies to: Missouri
    Replied: 7/17/2012
    Law Office of James J. Rosenberger | James Joseph Rosenberger
    They are the same. You can also be charged with physical control of a motor vehicle under the DUI laws but that charge is brought under the same statute.
    Answer Applies to: Washington
    Replied: 7/17/2012
    Robert Valles and Associates P.C.
    Robert Valles and Associates P.C. | Robert Valles Jr.
    It's the same type of case and you should hire an attorney.
    Answer Applies to: Texas
    Replied: 7/17/2012
    Rhoades & Miller, LLP
    Rhoades & Miller, LLP | M. Jason Rhoades
    In Georgia, these are the exact same charges. You will lose your license, encounter huge fees, and have many requirements thrust on you if you are found guilty. What should you do? - Get an experienced criminal defense attorney to represent you IMMEDIATELY!
    Answer Applies to: Georgia
    Replied: 7/17/2012
    Law Office of Eric Sterkenburg
    Law Office of Eric Sterkenburg | Eric Sterkenburg
    A DUI is driving under the influence; a DWI is driving while intoxicated. For all practical purposes they are the same. What you should do depends on the facts of the arrest. Contact an attorney for a free consultation or talk with the public defender at your arraignment.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 7/17/2012
    Law Office of Jeff Yeh
    Law Office of Jeff Yeh | Jeff Yeh
    No, the two are one and the same.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 7/17/2012
    Law Office of Charles J. Block
    Law Office of Charles J. Block | Charles J. Block
    In New Jersey, a DWI is the same as a DUI.
    Answer Applies to: New Jersey
    Replied: 7/16/2012
    Natty Shafer Law
    Natty Shafer Law | Nathaniel Shafer
    Different states use slightly different terminology, and a DWI is just another name for DUI. Your best option is to hire a talented attorney to help achieve the best possible outcome for your case. DUIs/DWIs have long-lasting effects that could make you regret trying to fight it on your own.
    Answer Applies to: Utah
    Replied: 7/16/2012
    Ramsell & Associates LLC
    Ramsell & Associates LLC | Donald Ramsell
    The terms DUI and DWI are the same in Illinois. Both describe the same thing - impaired driving from drugs or alcohol. In Illinois, the official term used is "DUI."
    Answer Applies to: Illinois
    Replied: 7/16/2012
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