Some states differentiate between DUI and DWI

Are DUI and DWI the same thing? Yes, they are the same thing, despite what some may think.

Some states do tend to differentiate between charges involving driving under the influence (DUI) and driving while impaired (DWI). In actual fact, these are the same offense and are not usually considered to be separate and distinct crimes.

There is a prevailing belief about the distinctions between DUI and DWI. Most believe that DUI means driving under the influence of something, which could mean drugs – either street or prescription – and that DWI means driving while drunk/impaired, since impaired is generally a term used in reference to drinking and driving.

Realistically speaking, the distinction is actually minimal, as the key here is being under the influence or impaired by something. Put another way, drugs or alcohol will impair a driver, making them “under the influence” of drugs or booze.  But, drunk driving is drunk driving whether you’re “drunk” by drugs or alcohol.

The bottom line here is that the terms DWI and DUI mean the same thing, and the charge is usually read as operation of a vehicle while intoxicated or under the influence of drugs or alcohol. When it comes right down to it, this is one of those instances where the difference is without distinction in the eyes of the law in some parts of the U.S., but not necessarily the public. The fact is, that even some states make a distinction between the severities of the crimes. This is one very good reason to discuss a case with a seasoned car injury attorney in Austin.

For instance, some states consider a DUI a lesser offense than DWI. Their reasoning is that there is a distinction between being under the influence and actually being drunk. Basically, they believe that it implies there is a different level of impairment going on affecting a driver’s motor skills and coordination.

In other states, DUI/DWI is one and the same, in that there is a legal limit for being drunk, and anyone blowing over the limit is treated the same way. The differences come in at the punishment stage in court, where a judge may have the discretion to take different levels of intoxication into consideration. Only an experienced Austin personal injury attorney can outline the possible outcome in court cases where there is a prior record of DUI/DWI.

If a driver lives in a state where DWI and DUI are separate and distinct, they are best off to hire a DUI attorney to get the charges pled down. If a bad driving record is a part of the pleadings, this will affect the sentence, and ultimately mean that the difference (in certain states) between a DUI and DWI lies in how much jail time each one may result in.

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