DWI is an acronym for “driving while intoxicated” or “driving while impaired.” Drunk driving laws vary from state to state. For the most part, DWI is interchangeable with other drunk driving acronyms like DUI or OWI. Some states refer to drunk driving as DUI and others DWI. A few states have drunk driving laws referring to both DUI and DWI. While there are different names for drunk driving offenses; all states have laws that prohibit drivers from operating vehicles while under the influence of alcohol.
STATES WITH DWI
Arkansas, Hawaii, Louisiana, Minnesota, Missouri, New Mexico, and Texas are just some of the states that use the acronym DWI. Some of these states refer to a DWI instead of DUI.
However, some states have both DUI and DWI where the meaning is distinctly different. In Texas, DUI means a minor who was drinking and driving while DWI means an adult caught drunk driving. Other states may differentiate between alcohol and drugs where drunk driving on alcohol refers to DWI and driving under the influence of drugs is DUI. In other states with both DWI and DUI, the former is the more significant criminal charge and DUI is the lesser charge. For example, DWI in Maryland is driving with a .08 or higher, while DUI is driving somewhere between .04-.07, but driving was demonstrably impaired. Similarly, in New York, DUI means your blood alcohol content (BAC) is below. 08 while DWI means that your BAC is above .08.
In states such as Maryland or New York, it is possible to reduce your charges from a DWI to a DUI. Whether you can reduce the charges is based on a number of factors including your BAC, whether this is a first drunk driving offense, and whether the drunk driving caused a collision.
The differences between a DUI and a DWI can be very slight or completely non-existent. If you have been arrested for driving while intoxicated or driving under the influence, it is important to review your particular state’s laws to see how your state defines the term.
DRUNK DRIVING CONSEQUENCES
Regardless of whether you have been arrested for DWI or a DUI, there can be far reaching consequences. You could face fines in the thousands of dollars, jail time, community service, probation and revocation of your license. You will be required to attend a drinking and driving school, face an increase in insurance rates and may have to install an ignition interlock device.
It is imperative that you hire an experienced attorney who understands your state’s laws. A good attorney will be able to help you develop a defense, navigate the system, mitigate the consequences to your case and assist you in putting your life back together.