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The Difference Between a DUI and a DWI

Tens and hundreds of thousands of people get stopped each year for DUI and DWI violations. In 2015, the state of California alone had more than 214,000 DUI arrests, according to Statistic Brain. Many people use the two terms interchangeably, but there are some slight differences between them, depending on your state laws.

DUI VS DWI Definitions

Both terms are acronyms that stand for something that relates to intoxication. The acronym DUI stands for driving under the influence. The acronym DWI stands for driving while intoxicated. Either one of those terms can refer to either drugs or alcohol. A driver does not have to be under the influence of an illegal drug to receive a charge of DUI or DWI. The person can be under the influence of a prescription drug. Most narcotic drugs and fatigue-inducing medications have warnings on them so people will not drive while they are under the influence of them.

DUI VS DWI Penalties

A person who receives a conviction for a DUI or DWI is susceptible to several types of penalties. The penalties vary between states. Some states view DUI and DWI as different offenses, and other states use the terms interchangeably. One thing that can happen to an offender is a license suspension. Another penalty that one may have to pay is a fine. Jail time may occur for a couple of days or many months.

Other Implications

The courts may order a convicted person to take mandatory alcohol classes so that he or she will stay out of trouble. An ignition interlock device may also be necessary as the courts may order it. Another consequence of an intoxication charge is an SR-22 form. Some companies, like Great Northern Insurance Agency, realize that an SR-22 is a form that a person may have to file after a DUI or DWI. It is a high-risk paper that allows the person to reinstate the driving privileges and get insurance. Most states use this form. Insurance rates will skyrocket for an individual who has a DUI whether the person has to file an SR-22 or not.

A defendant should contact a DUI or DWI attorney as quickly as possible to fight the charge since it has so many consequences. An attorney can examine the case to see if he or she may be able to prove the defendant not guilty or at least prove that the arresting officer might not have followed protocol.

Author’s Information: Bio: Rachelle Wilber is a freelance writer living in the San Diego, California area. She graduated from San Diego State University with her Bachelor’s Degree in Journalism and Media Studies. She tries to find an interest in all topics and themes, which prompts her writing. When she isn’t on her porch writing in the sun, you can find her shopping, at the beach, or at the gym. Follow her on Twitter and Facebook.

Bob Kraft

I am a Dallas, Texas lawyer who has had the privilege of helping thousands of clients since 1971 in the areas of Personal Injury law and Social Security Disability.

About This Blog

The title of this blog reflects my attitude toward those government agencies and insurance companies that routinely mistreat injured or disabled people. As a Dallas, Texas lawyer, I've spent more than 45 years trying to help those poor folk, and I have been frustrated daily by the actions of the people on the other side of their claims. (Sorry if I offended you...)

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