What is the difference between a DWI and a DUI? 76 Answers as of February 22, 2012

Is there a difference between a DWI and a DUI?

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Austin Legal Services, PLC
Austin Legal Services, PLC | Jared Austin
Not really. Different states give them different acronyms but in the end they all refer to some form of drunk driving.
Answer Applies to: Michigan
Replied: 8/24/2011
Cornish, Crowley, Rockafellow, & Sartz, PLLC
Cornish, Crowley, Rockafellow, & Sartz, PLLC | Jacob Peter Sartz IV
The terms are used interchangeably but occasionally are used to differentiate between the types of offenses in particular state. It depends on where you live. The bottom line is that the term is used to describe drunk driving or impaired driving from the effects alcohol.
Answer Applies to: Michigan
Replied: 8/17/2011
Law Office of Sara Sencer McArdle
Law Office of Sara Sencer McArdle | Sara Sencer McArdle
No. Both carry the same penalties. You can call me for further information.
Answer Applies to: New Jersey
Replied: 8/15/2011
Edward  D. Dowling IV Attorney at Law
Edward D. Dowling IV Attorney at Law | Edward D. Dowling IV
DWI is deriving while intoxicated and is a higher charge than DUI which is Driving while under the influence ( of drugs or alcohol ).
Answer Applies to: New York
Replied: 8/13/2011
Law Office of Phillip Weiser
Law Office of Phillip Weiser | Phillip L. Weiser
There is no difference in the two monikers. Kansas uses the DUI moniker while other states may term the same behavior as a DWI.
Answer Applies to: Kansas
Replied: 8/12/2011
    Timothy J. Thill P.C.
    Timothy J. Thill P.C. | Timothy J. Thill
    In reality, there is no difference in the names. Most states have a minimum threshold for determining if a person is under the influence, and it is .08. Some states go to .10, but their number are diminishing.
    Answer Applies to: Illinois
    Replied: 8/11/2011
    Andersen Law PLLC
    Andersen Law PLLC | Craig Andersen
    None at all. They're just different names for the same animal.
    Answer Applies to: Washington
    Replied: 8/11/2011
    Thomas J. Tomko Attorney At law
    Thomas J. Tomko Attorney At law | Thomas J. Tomko
    Thank you for your inquiry There is no difference in Michigan OWI, DUI, DWI . . . its all generic reference to a drinking and driving charge. In Michigan we have Driving While Intoxicated and Driving While Impaired. There is also a "Super Drunk" charge for high BAC levels in a first-time offender. The penalties between these offenses vary I hope that this was helpful.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 8/11/2011
    Law Office of Thomas F. Mueller
    Law Office of Thomas F. Mueller | Thomas Mueller
    No difference
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 8/10/2011
    The Law Office of Cindy Barton
    The Law Office of Cindy Barton | Cindy Barton
    DUI stands for Driving Under the Influence (of alcohol or drugs)DWI stands for Driving While Intoxicated (alcohol or drugs)Some states us one set of words and others us another.As a matter of practice there is no difference.
    Answer Applies to: Utah
    Replied: 8/11/2011
    The Law Office of Harry E. Hudson, Jr.
    The Law Office of Harry E. Hudson, Jr. | Harry E. Hudson, Jr.
    No.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 8/10/2011
    Night Life Lawyers
    Night Life Lawyers | Joshua Aldabbagh
    There is no difference in Nevada.
    Answer Applies to: Nevada
    Replied: 8/10/2011
    Law Offices of John Carney
    Law Offices of John Carney | John Carney
    A DWI is a misdemeanor offense and a criminal conviction that you can get a year or less in jail for. An Impaired is 1192-1 which is a traffic violation with a maximum jail sentence of 15 days. It is not a criminal conviction. DUI is what some states call our DWI...Driving Under the Influence. It is also a misdemeanor.
    Answer Applies to: New York
    Replied: 8/10/2011
    Law Office of Roianne H. Conner
    Law Office of Roianne H. Conner | Roianne Houlton Conner
    There is no difference. The older term was Drving While Intoxicated and the newer term, particularly after the use of drugs became popular was Driving Under the Influence.
    Answer Applies to: Alabama
    Replied: 8/10/2011
    Healan Law Offices
    Healan Law Offices | William D. Healan, III
    It is generally the same thing. Some states call it DUI, others call it DWI. The laws do vary from state to state, but it basically means driving while intoxicated.
    Answer Applies to: Georgia
    Replied: 8/10/2011
    Craig W. Elhart, P.C.
    Craig W. Elhart, P.C. | Craig Elhart
    There is no difference. Over time the terms to describe drunk driving have changed. The current term is OWI, operating while impaired by alcohol or drugs.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 8/10/2011
    Law Office of Tracey S. Sang
    Law Office of Tracey S. Sang | Tracey Sang
    No difference, different states call the same offense different things (driving while intoxicated or driving under the influence.)
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 8/10/2011
    Law Office of James A Schoenberger
    Law Office of James A Schoenberger | James A Schoenberger
    They are the same.
    Answer Applies to: Washington
    Replied: 8/10/2011
    Michael Breczinski
    Michael Breczinski | Michael Breczinski
    They are different designations for the same offense. There is no difference.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 8/10/2011
    Cynthia Henley, Lawyer
    Cynthia Henley, Lawyer | Cynthia Henley
    Many states use "DUI" in the way that Texas uses "DWI". In Texas, DWI refers to driving while intoxicated which means driving while you do not have the normal use of your mental and / or physical faculties due to the introduction of alcohol, drugs, or a combination into your system. It includes prescription and nonprescription drugs. The legal limit is .08. Texas DUI refers to a person under 21 driving - not intoxicated (.08 or without the normal use) but having consumed ANY alcohol. Texas is ZERO tolerance for people under 21 driving after consuming alcohol. (This does not refer to drugs.) Note - a person under 21 can be intoxicated and charged with DWI but a person over 21 can only be charged with DWI.
    Answer Applies to: Texas
    Replied: 8/10/2011
    Law Office of Nixon Ayemi | Nixon Ayeni
    DWI IS DRIVING WHILE INTOXICATED AND DUI IS DRIVING UNDER THE INFLUENCE Both DUI and DWI refer to operating a motor vehicle while impaired by alcohol or illegal drugs. The biggest difference between DUI and DWI is the letters and what they stand for. The laws regarding how a DUI or DWI is prosecuted. differ from state to state, in some states the drunk driving laws are different for DUI and DWI. In some states, the DUI is a lesser charge and also indicates a lower degree of intoxication than the DWI. Your blood alchol level determine your level of intoxication if you have been charged with a DWI or DUI call a lawyer.
    Answer Applies to: Minnesota
    Replied: 8/10/2011
    Jules N. Fiani, Attorney at Law
    Jules N. Fiani, Attorney at Law | Jules Fiani
    Nothing.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 8/9/2011
    The Law Office of Kevin O'Grady
    The Law Office of Kevin O'Grady | Kevin O'Grady
    Technically driving while under the influence of alcohol means that, according to state definition, your ability to drive is impaired by reason of the alcohol in your system. Driving while intoxicated, generally is when the legislature has set a blood or breath alcohol level which is considered to be intoxicated, such a .08, and if your blood, or breath, contains that amount, or more, then you are legally intoxicated. You should consult and hire an attorney if you are charged with either.
    Answer Applies to: Hawaii
    Replied: 8/9/2011
    Gregory Casale Attorney at Law
    Gregory Casale Attorney at Law | Gregory Casale
    There is no difference legally between a DUI, DWI and an OUI, which is the correct acronym here in Massachusetts. They are simply acronyms for the terms Driving Under the Influence (DUI), Driving While Intoxicated (DWI) and Operating Under the Influence (OUI). It just depends who is saying it and where they heard it. Different states have different terms in their drunk driving statutes. One state's statute may have Driving While Intoxicated, where another state may call their drunk driving law Driving Under the Influence. Here in Massachusetts the statute actually reads Operating While Under the Influence of Alcohol. It is appropriately shortened in Massachusetts to OUI, although most people refer to it as DUI. Once charged for drunk driving in one state, it doesn't matter what you call it; OUI, DWI, DUI it is still the same statute and you should get yourself a lawyer ASAP!
    Answer Applies to: Massachusetts
    Replied: 8/9/2011
    Kevin Smith, Attorney at Law
    Kevin Smith, Attorney at Law | Kevin Smith
    Not in Connecticut.
    Answer Applies to: Connecticut
    Replied: 8/9/2011
    Shane Law Office
    Shane Law Office | Robert J. Shane
    There is no difference between a DWI and a DUI. Its just a matter of terminology.
    Answer Applies to: Minnesota
    Replied: 8/10/2011
    Law Office of Jared Altman
    Law Office of Jared Altman | Jared Altman
    New York uses the term "DWI". The term "DUI" is commonly used to mean the same thing in many other states. New York also has "DWAI" (driving while ability impaired), which is a lesser offense.
    Answer Applies to: New York
    Replied: 8/9/2011
    Gutin and Wolverton
    Gutin and Wolverton | Harley Gutin
    In Florida the term DUI means Driving Under the Influence to the extent that your normal faculties are impaired. DWI is an abbreviation for Driving While Intoxicated. DUI is a better description of what the State has to prove if your arrested for Driving Under the Influence because they the State does not have to prove the driver was "intoxicated" only that the driver was under the influence to the extent that his normal faculties were impaired.
    Answer Applies to: Florida
    Replied: 8/9/2011
    Anderson Law Office
    Anderson Law Office | Scott L. Anderson
    There really isn't any difference between a DUI and DWI. A DWI is driving while intoxicated. A DUI is driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs. In other words, a DUI is more inclusive since it includes drugs and alcohol.
    Answer Applies to: Minnesota
    Replied: 8/9/2011
    Connell-Savela
    Connell-Savela | Jason Savela
    Colorado has a dwai which is a lesser offense of DUI. DWI is a different name for DUI, as is OUI.
    Answer Applies to: Colorado
    Replied: 8/9/2011
    The Law Office of B. Elaine Jones
    The Law Office of B. Elaine Jones | B. Elaine Jones
    There is no difference between DWI and DUI. They are anagrams of "Driving While Intoxicated" DWI, and "Driving Under the Influence" DUI. Both involve the operation of a motor vehicle while impaired by something. It could be Nyquil, if it impairs your driving it will fall under a DWI or DUI. Hope this helps.
    Answer Applies to: Florida
    Replied: 8/9/2011
    Beaulier Law Office
    Beaulier Law Office | Maury Beaulier
    The terms are synonymous. There is no difference.
    Answer Applies to: Minnesota
    Replied: 8/9/2011
    Eric J Schurman, Attorney at Law
    Eric J Schurman, Attorney at Law | Eric James Schurman
    DWI is the old name/version of what is now called DUI in Washington. The difference between the two offenses is irrelevant given DWI no longer exsits in this state.
    Answer Applies to: Washington
    Replied: 8/9/2011
    Robert Mortland
    Robert Mortland | Law Office of Robert Mortland
    A DUI and a DWI are the same. Done states have it written in the vehicle code as a DWI whereas others call it a DUI.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 8/9/2011
    The Chastaine Law Office
    The Chastaine Law Office | Michael Chastaine
    They are the same.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 8/9/2011
    Law Office of Eric Sterkenburg
    Law Office of Eric Sterkenburg | Eric Sterkenburg
    A DUI is driving under the influence and can be both alcohol and/or drugs. DWI is driving whale intoxicated which can interpreted to be only alcohol. DUI just makes it easier to understand.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 8/9/2011
    Miller & Harrison, LLC
    Miller & Harrison, LLC | David Harrison
    In Colorado there are two levels of drunk driving - Driving While Ability Impaired (DWAI) and Driving Under the Influence (DUI). The definition of DUI is driving at a time when you are incapable of safely driving due to alcohol consumption. If a blood or breath test is performed and the amount is over .08 the jury can infer that one was DUI. DWAI is defined as driving when your ability to do so was affected to the slightest degree by the consumption of alcohol. A jury can infer one is DWAI if their alcohol level is between .05 and .079.
    Answer Applies to: Colorado
    Replied: 8/9/2011
    Law Office of Jeff Yeh
    Law Office of Jeff Yeh | Jeff Yeh
    No difference. Same thing.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 8/9/2011
    Law Offices of James A Bates
    Law Offices of James A Bates | James A Bates
    Nothing. Just like some people still refer to it as a 502 but that code section was changed at least twice since those days.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 8/9/2011
    Law Offices of Martina A. Vigil, PC
    Law Offices of Martina A. Vigil, PC | Martina A. Vigil
    A DUI is driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs, a DWI is driving while intoxicated. In California, we refer to CVC23152 as DUIs. Sometimes they are referred to as DWIs in other states.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 8/9/2011
    Laguzzi Law, P.C.
    Laguzzi Law, P.C. | Carina Laguzzi
    One is called driving while intoxicated and the other is driving under the influence. They are essentially one in the same as many DWI contains, in the statutory language, prohibitions against driving while under the influence of alcohol and/or controlled substances.
    Answer Applies to: Pennsylvania
    Replied: 8/9/2011
    John Segelbaum, P.S.
    John Segelbaum, P.S. | John Segelbaum
    No. The prior version of the law was commonly referred to as DWI or Driving While Intoxicated. It is now known as DUI for Driving Under The Influence, a more accurate term since the crime doesn't require intoxication. In some states it is still DWI or DUI.
    Answer Applies to: Washington
    Replied: 8/9/2011
    The Law Firm of David Jolly
    The Law Firm of David Jolly | David Jolly
    Technically there is no difference between DWI (driving while impaired/intoxicated) or DUI (driving under the influence). The use of either depends on the State's preference but ultimately the meaning is the same.
    Answer Applies to: Washington
    Replied: 8/9/2011
    Nichols Law Firm
    Nichols Law Firm | Michael J. Nichols
    There is no difference between the 2. They mean the same thing.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 8/9/2011
    Harden Law Offices
    Harden Law Offices | Leonard D. Harden
    The only difference is the name some states call is driving under the influence and others driving while impaired.
    Answer Applies to: New Hampshire
    Replied: 8/9/2011
    Russman Law
    Russman Law | Ryan Russman
    There is no difference between a DWI and a DUI. They mean the same thing. Driving while intoxicated or Driving Under the Influence.
    Answer Applies to: New Hampshire
    Replied: 8/9/2011
    Rothstein Law PLLC
    Rothstein Law PLLC | Eric Rothstein
    No. Most people seem to say DUI but NY law calls it Driving While Intoxicated.
    Answer Applies to: New York
    Replied: 8/9/2011
    The Law Office of Eric R. Chandler, P.C., L.L.O.
    The Law Office of Eric R. Chandler, P.C., L.L.O. | Eric R. Chandler
    No, just different terminology. In fact most states actually refer to it as as OWI or OMWI. In Nebraska the laws cover anyone who is operating a motor vehicle under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
    Answer Applies to: Nebraska
    Replied: 8/9/2011
    Dichter Law Office, PLLC
    Dichter Law Office, PLLC | Jonathan Dichter
    In Washington there is no such crime as DWI. In many states, and in most instances, DWI and DUI are interchangeable. They essentially mean the same thing. But as I said, in Washington, DWI doesn't exist. Only DUI.
    Answer Applies to: Washington
    Replied: 8/9/2011
    Elmbrook Law Offices
    Elmbrook Law Offices | Gregory Straub
    There is no difference. DWI is driving while intoxicated. DUI is driving under the influence.
    Answer Applies to: Wisconsin
    Replied: 8/9/2011
    Jason Overton, Attorney at Law
    Jason Overton, Attorney at Law | Jason Overton
    Driving While Intoxicated vs Driving Under the Influence. They are state crimes, and different states just call them different things.
    Answer Applies to: Alabama
    Replied: 8/9/2011
    Nelson & Lawless
    Nelson & Lawless | Terry Nelson
    None. They are the same crime called two different informal names. If you got one, and if youre interested in hiring counsel to help you, feel free to contact me.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 8/9/2011
    Frances R. Johnson
    Frances R. Johnson | Frances R. Johnson
    In Colorado, it's called a DUI (driving under the influence). In other states, it may be referred to as DWI (driving while intoxicated). The difference mainly will be in the percentage of ETOH (ethanol, more commonly understood to the layperson as alcohol) that can be measured before a person is presumed to be intoxicated.
    Answer Applies to: Colorado
    Replied: 8/9/2011
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