Difference Between DUI and DWI

Drivers, beginner or professional, have to be careful of certain terms when dealing with laws concerning their vehicles. For instance, drunk driving is generally bad, but there’s more to it than simply just being “drunk driving.” This is why laws – both state-specific and in general – tend to cover a lot of aspects, because drivers find themselves in different situations.

For example, the general term for the law that prohibits drunk driving is called DUI or “driving under influence.” This does not just constitute drunk driving, however, but also be charged to people under the influence of drugs or medications.

However, some states have more specific terms. According to the Driving Laws website, this includes:

  • DUIL (driving under the influence of liquor)
  • DWI (driving while intoxicated)
  • OMVI (operating a motor vehicle while intoxicated)
  • OWI (operating while intoxicated), or
  • OUI (operating under the influence)

“DWI” is a more specific acronym used in some states. Others just interchange DWI and DUI, but drivers have to check if their states does this. Some states use the term “Driving While Impaired,” which is a different case entirely.

Similar to DUI, DWI cases involve drivers driving vehicles while under the influence. However, there’s an “impairment” factor, meaning drivers are either asleep or physically incapable of operating said vehicle safely. This also means drugs and alcohol are not necessarily involved in these cases.

However, the standard DUI case has basic “requirements” to be considered an actual act of drunk driving. For instance, there is something called the operation requirement that requires the driver in question to be actually operating the vehicle during the said encounter.

Police officers who saw the driver tend to satisfy this requirement. In the cases of accidents where drivers are outside the vehicle, there are some more intricate requirements, to be detailed in future posts.

Some states do not need drivers to be actually “operating” the vehicle, meaning car engines can be turned off, to be considered part of a DUI case.

The other requirement is to be actually under the influence. This is why some drivers need to have blood alcohol level tests, which will be explained in future articles. However, the general rule of thumb is that the legal limit of BAC is 0.08-percent in all states, and 0.01-percent for those below 21.

“DUI Per Se” is the case of a driver operating a vehicle while exceeding the BAC, regardless of whether or not he or she has visible “impairments.”

It is important to take note of these requirements, and even the difference in the terms, to make sure that drivers in question know what they are getting into. Curious drivers are advised to study specific laws of their state just to make sure they get their terms correctly.