The Difference Between DUI and DWI

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People often use the terms DUI and DWI interchangeably, but they have minor differences that set them apart. Despite their differences, they have one similarity. If you violate either law, you’ll need FR-44 insurance in Florida to reinstate your license. Learn more about these violations in this blog post.

Twenty-nine individuals lose their lives daily in the United States due to drunk driving. Approximately one-quarter of all car accidents involve alcohol or drug-impaired drivers. Florida takes drunk driving very seriously. DUI and DWI are acronyms describing impaired driving in slightly different contexts. This brief post will distinguish driving under the influence (DUI) from driving while intoxicated (DWI) and explain the differences between the two. Let’s take a look.

Do You Know the Difference Between DUI and DWI?

States use both terms to describe this violation. For instance, in New York, DWI means “driving while intoxicated.” In contrast, Florida uses DUI, “driving under the influence.” However, there is a perceptible difference in the level of impairment between DWI and DUI.

Driving under the influence indicates that a motorist has a degree of cognitive impairment from drugs or alcohol. Driving while intoxicated implies that the driver has a significant cognitive impairment from alcohol or drug consumption. States typically base disparities in charges on factors such as age, degree of impairment, and any special conditions.

It’s worth stressing that the substances in question need not be illegal. If a person shows diminished mental or physical abilities from any drug – prescription or otherwise – an officer has the authority to arrest them for DUI or DWI.

What Does the Law Say?

Some state governments utilize other terms for DUI and DWI violations. These terms include “operating under the influence” (OUI) or “operating while intoxicated” (OWI). Florida drivers facing charges for violations of this type likely have a BAC above the permissible limit of 0.08.

A judge evaluates the defendant’s blood alcohol concentration (BAC) and other factors, such as previous convictions, in sentencing the defendant. Drivers who registered a BAC of 0.15 or above will face harsher charges and penalties.

DUI/DWI Consequences for First-Time Offenders

Penalties for substance-related motor vehicle offenses vary from state to state. In Florida, possible outcomes of a first DUI/DWI conviction may include:

  • One year in jail
  • Community service requirement of 50 hours
  • Up to a one-year license suspension
  • Fines of up to $2,000
  • An ignition interlock requirement for a minimum of six months

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This article was last updated on May 9th, 2024 by