Many people use the terms DUI and DWI simultaneously and often get confused about the meaning of these two words. Have you ever wondered yourself is there any difference between these legal terms? Let’s explain in detail the meaning of these two acronyms as well the differences between them. The first thing you need to know is that both of these terms refer to the same crime – driving under the influence of alcohol or illegal substances. DWI stands for driving while intoxicated and DUI stands for driving under the influence. DWI can also mean driving while impaired. As you can see, both terms don’t include only drunk driving, but also operating a vehicle under the influence of illegal substances.
Can DWI Be A More Severe Crime Than DUI?
Although there isn’t a big distinction between these two terms, in some states the difference between these acronyms is based on the severity of the crimes. In those states, DWI is a more severe crime than DUI. DUI charges are considered simpler, usually when someone is arrested for being drunk or under the influence of drugs. DWI means that the intoxicated person was actually driving in that condition. These distinctions should imply a level of intoxication a person has and the degree of impairment of his or hers motor skills.
Laws for operating a vehicle while impaired are very strict and every person who is charged with this crime and convicted will meet severe consequences, from paying costly fines and losing a driver’s license, to having ignition interlock system installed in his/her car and serving jail time. If you live in a country that makes these differences between the two terms, you might find yourself in a rather convenient situation if you are only charged for DUI. Since DUI is considered a less severe crime, your penalties are also going to be lighter. However, if you want to ensure you’ll get the most positive outcome of the case, you should definitely hire a DWI lawyer. If you are charged with DWI, with proper legal representation your charge can be reduced to DUI.
Why Do We Use Different Acronyms for Drunk Driving?
As we said, countries that use the two terms simultaneously often make a distinction based on the severity of the crime. These acronyms are used to describe the charge and express the level of its severity. Terms like DUII-CSS, OMVI, and DWAI, tell us in detail what is the person charged for. For example, DUII-CSS means driving under the influence of intoxicants: controlled substances.
Besides the two most commonly used terms, DUI and DWI, countries in U.S. use terms such as OWI, OVI, OUI, etc. OWI stands for operating a vehicle while intoxicated, and OVI means operating a vehicle under intoxication. As you can see, the primary purpose of these terms is the same – it describes the crime of drunk driving or drugged driving.
Now let’s put the acronyms on the side and remind you that no matter what term they use in your country, DUI laws are very strict and getting charged for drunk driving is a serious crime that can have severe consequences on every aspect of your life.