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DUI vs DWI – What’s the Difference?

DUI vs DWI – What’s the Difference?

October 27 2020


DUI vs. DWI – What’s the Difference?

You’ve likely heard both the terms “DUI” and “DWI” when it comes to drunk driving arrests, but what is the difference between the two?

  • DUI stands for Driving Under the Influence
  • DWI means Driving While Intoxicated
  • Both refer to driving while impaired by some substance, whether alcohol or drugs.

In some states, the terms DUI and DWI refer to two different infractions. A DUI indicates that a person has alcohol in their system. This infraction is easier to prove since a simple breathalyzer test can show the presence of alcohol. A DWI, however, is a little more complicated to prove since it requires significant evidence that the driver is absolutely impaired. Of the two, DWI’s tend to have more severe consequences and be a more serious charge.

Recently, most states have stopped separating DUI and DWI infractions. In these states, including California, the two terms are used interchangeably. The state of California exclusively uses DUI, though you may still see DWI used in some cases since it’s such a familiar term. Whether convicted of a DUI due to drugs or alcohol, in California the charges and penalties are the same.

DUI in California

A first time DUI offense in California is classified as a misdemeanor and the penalty typically involves 3-5 years of probation as well as hundreds or even thousands of dollars in fines. Additionally, an ignition interlock device is installed in the vehicle of the offender, requiring the driver to pass a breathalyzer test before operating the vehicle. Other penalties of a DUI conviction include required DUI school, a 6-month driver’s license suspension, and even up to six months in jail.

In the cases where a DUI is not the first offense, the consequences are far more severe. Longer jail time and more expensive fines are just the start. The requirements for DUI school are extended, and driver’s license suspensions may last longer.

Mr. Ticket Can Help With Your Drunk Driving Arrest

If you’ve been arrested for drunk driving in California, it’s important to seek legal representation right away. Mr. Ticket is practiced in representing clients in traffic violations and will protect your rights while helping to minimize consequences. Contact us today to schedule an appointment with a licensed attorney.