Is there any difference between a DUI and a DWI?

UPDATED: Oct 10, 2018

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Is there any difference between a DUI and a DWI?

I’m confused about this.

Asked on October 10, 2018 under Criminal Law, Alaska


M.D., Member, California and New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 4 years ago | Contributor

Both terms are used in regrda to operating a vehicle while impaired by alcohol/illegal drugs. Specifcally, DWI is stands for "driving while intoxicated/impaired" and DUI stands for "driving under the influence". The laws regarding how each is to be treated varies from state-to-state. Additionally, these terms can have different meanings or they can refer to the same offense, depending on the jurisdiction in which a person is were pulled over. In the states where the drunk driving laws are different for a DUI and a DWI, a DUI is treated as a lesser charge and indicates a lesser degree of intoxication than a DWI. Further, these states sometimes may allow the charges of a DWI to be reduced to a DUI.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

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