Which is worse: DUI or DWI? Difference between DUI and DWI


Many accidents get reported each year to have caused the consumption of alcohol while driving. Significant arrests include DUI and DWI.

Often DUI or DWI get used interchangeably. Most people understand both as the same without knowing what they exactly mean. Though both get related to the violation of the law while driving, there is a difference between DUI and DWI.

Depending on your state, whether you have received a DUI or DWI, both will affect your driving record.

Defining the difference between DUI and DWI:

  • DUI is the acronym of ‘Driving under the influence.’ DUI considers driving under the influence of alcohol or any drugs. 
  • DWI is the acronym of ‘Driving while ’Impaired. DWI charges can also be imposed for prescribed drugs or over-the-counter drugs if they are found impaired by taking them. So the impairment could be alcohol, drug, sleepiness, or any other factor.

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You can be charged with DUI or DWI only when the law enforcement officer has reason to believe that you were impaired while driving. The explanation involves a failed field sobriety test or breathalyzer test or even when you were too sleepy to drive safely.

The difference between DUI and DWI charges get ultimately determined by the state in which the incident occurred, as some states have entirely different terminology to charge an individual who has operated a motor vehicle while intoxicated. 

Some states consider DUI and DWI to be separate charges. Among the two, DWI is more severe in comparison to DUI. If someone’s driving with a BAC (Blood alcohol content) of 0.08 or higher, you will impose a DWI charge. For the charge of DUI, the BAC has to be below 0.08. Learn more about the difference between DUI and DWI at Getlegal.

Arrest and Consequences of DUI and DWI:

Whatever the offense is called in your jurisdiction, but if you get arrested for impaired driving, the consequences will worsen. A first offense when there’s no involvement f injuries, death, or aggravating situations. It is a misdemeanor. Either convicted or plead guilty, there can be chances that you might lose your driver’s license and pay heft fines and impoundment fees, also court fees.

For the second offense, you might have to spend some time in jail. You can also be placed on probation, and you will have to do some community service. You will be able to get the driver’s license back; you might have to attend defensive driving classes.

Many states undergo an evaluation of your drinking or substance use patterns. Based on the result, you might be ordered to participate in a drug or alcohol treatment program. The program could include attending a few support group meetings. After being charged with DUI or DWI, your car insurance premium will skyrocket and will remain the same for years.

After being charged for DUI or DWI, it’s good to consult a skilled DUI or DWI attorney who knows how to handle such charges. Like an agricultural law attorney who focuses on helping the clients deal with the issues raised in food and agriculture. Click here to know more about agricultural law. Click here to learn more about agricultural law.

After the conviction of DUI or DWI:

After being convicted, depending on the laws in your state, you will need SR-22 insurance. This will double or triple the amount of the premium. When talking of average, you will have to pay higher premiums for three years.

The state you reside in may also require you to have an ignition interlock device installed on your vehicle. With the device, you can’t start your car unless you blow into the machine, and it determines you are not under the influence of alcohol. It will involve device amount, installation amount, and monitoring fee.


There’s a very minute difference between DUI and DWI. Many states treat both terms as the same. The law enforcement officer determines your abilities impaired if your alcohol blood content is above the legal limit. Such laws are made to avoid potentially dangerous situations worse than a DUI or DWI conviction.


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