When you drink and drive, you are putting not only yourself, but all those around you, at risk for serious injury and harm. Because of the dangers of driving while drinking or under the influence on drugs, the consequences are vast and always include hefty fines, a revoked license and often jail time.
While the consequences are often well known, many people are unsure of the difference between a DUI or DWI. Both of these terms are used equally when referring to drunk or under the influence driving and usually carry the same weight and lead to the same consequences. The acronym DUI stands for driving under the influence and DWI stands for driving while impaired. Most often, the main difference is that a DWI includes the use of drugs, but both offenses can be placed on a driver under any type of influence.
The true difference comes down to each state. Most states will use both terms interchangeably, while others have different meanings for each. For example, some states use the term DWI to refer to a charge that includes a blood alcohol content that is over the legal limit and use DUI for a charge that is not technically over the limit but still under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
Either way, getting pulled over for a DUI or DWI is a life-changing experience. Many people still associate these charges with drinking, but as drug usage continues to rise, the law has changed to include drug use as well. Standard field sobriety tests and Breathalyzers often do not show drug use, so an officer is able to charge you with impaired driving just by their suspicion alone. Once you arrive at the station, more significant testing will be done to determine if there is any type of substance in your body.
If you have been charged with a DUI or DWI, you are looking at hefty fines, a trial, possible jail time and higher auto insurance. The more serious your crime, the more serious your charges will be. No matter what term you were charged under, you are going to need an experienced DUI or DWI attorney on your side throughout the process. For more information about how the attorneys at Stewart & Stewart can help you after a DUI or DWI, give us a call at 1-800-33-33-LAW or visit our website for more information.