What is the difference between DUI and DWI?

DUI and DWI scan in different states with a comparison chart, their consequences on the credit score, employment, and on your life.
DUI vs. DWI: What’s The Difference?

DUI and DWI difference varies across different states of the US. The major difference lies in the intoxication found in the driver’s blood. When a person is driving under the influence of alcohol, DUI comes into force. On the other hand, when a person is driving under the influence of drugs, DWI is chargeable.

Defining DUI vs. DWI for better understanding

What is DUI?

DUI refers to Driving Under the Influence and typically relates to the influence of alcohol. However, some states consider all kinds of influence under DUI.

What is DWI?

DWI refers to Driving While Impaired and is usually applied when a driver is scanned positive for drugs. It is referred to as Driving While Intoxicated in some states that do not have separate laws for DUI and DWI.

Discussing the cons of DUI and DWI:

Does DUI affect employment?

A DUI charge might or might not affect your employment. It depends on your employer, the nature of your job, and the intensity of your charge.  

Does a DUI ruin your life?

A DUI does not necessarily ruin your life. It can be ruined in case you accidentally kill a person under the influence of alcohol or drugs.

What happens on a first DUI offense?

The first DUI offense generally invites fines, license suspension, possible probation, and community service.

Does DUI affect credit score?

DUI does not usually affect the credit score. However, in some cases, it might affect it indirectly.

Can you still drive to work with a DUI?

A temporary permit can help you resume your driving to work till the date of a court hearing. A serious charge, however, may hamper your ability to drive. 

How much does insurance cost with a DUI?

DUI increases the insurance cost to a large extent. This increase can even reach more than 300% in some states.

Will a DUI fail a background check?

A DUI might or might not appear in your background check, depending on how it is conducted.

States where DUI and DWI are used similarly:

DUI vs. DWI in Washington

Washington laws do not make a distinction between DUI and DWI. A person driving with BAC above the legal limit is charged with DUI.

DUI vs. DWI in Virginia

Virginia’s law does not differentiate between DUI and DWI. You’ll be charged with DWI if your BAC exceeds the legal limit. Additionally, an individual is also charged if he is found in the driver’s seat with keys in the ignition.

DUI vs. DWI in South Dakota

The law of South Dakota charges you for DUI if your BAC is above the legal limit, or you are found driving under the influence of drugs. It treats DUI and DWI similarly.

DUI vs. DWI in NJ (New Jersey)

The New Jersey state laws don’t differentiate between DUI and DWI. An adult is charged with DUI when his BAC exceeds the legal limit, while a person below the legal drinking age of 21 years is charged with DUI when his BAC is recorded as 0.01% or higher.

States where DUI and DWI are used differently:

DUI vs. DWI in Texas

To understand rules about DUI and DWI in Texas, you need to know the regulations prescribed by the Texas Penal Code. A person above the age of 21 years will be charged with a DWI if the blood-alcohol content (BAC) exceeds the legal limit of 0.08%. A minor is charged even if the BAC is below the limit but with a DUI, not DWI.

DUI vs. DWI in South California

In South California, you’re charged with DUI when your BAC exceeds the legal limit of 0.08%. Whereas if you’re found with drug content in your blood, you’ll be charged with a DWI.

States where either DUI or DWI has been replaced:

DUI vs. DWI in New York

DUI and DWI in New York do not exist as the state laws don’t mention DUI at all. There are two kinds of charges in New York, namely, DWI and DWAI. DWAI expands to Driving While Ability Impaired. When your BAC exceeds the legal limit, you’ll be charged with DWI. DWAI is charged when drug-content is found in your blood.

DUI vs. DWI in Colorado

Colorado doesn’t mention DWI in its law. It has given DUI and DWAI a legal status. With BAC above the legal limit, one is charged with DUI. For charging with DWAI, the BAC must exceed 0.05%.

Now let’s answer some frequently asked questions:

Is Texas DUI or DWI?

The Texas Penal Code has made provisions for both DUI and DWI.

What is worse, DUI or DWI in Maryland?

In Maryland, DUI is worse than DWI, as it attracts more penalties and severe punishment.

Which is worse, DWI or DUI in Virginia?

Virginia’s drunk driving rules do not differentiate between DUI and DWI. 

How many points is a DWI?

The points added to your license vary across different states. 

What state has the toughest DUI penalties?

Arizona, Alaska, and Washington are some states with the toughest DUI penalties.

Comparison between DUI and DWI at a glance

BasisDUIDWI
Full-formIt expands to Driving Under the Influence.It expands either to Driving While Impaired or Driving While Intoxicated in some states.
MeaningIt usually involves the influence of alcohol.It usually involves the influence of drugs.
PenaltyIt attracts a lesser penalty with a few exceptions.It attracts a higher penalty and punishment in most states.
BAC (Blood Alcohol Content) limit For people above the legal drinking age of 21 years, the BAC limit is 0.08%. It is set lower by some states at 0.05% when there is obvious impairment.For people above the legal drinking age of 21 years, the BAC limit is 0.08%. It is set lower by some states at 0.05% when there is obvious impairment.

Comparison Chart

DUI and DWI scan in different states with a comparison chart, their consequences on the credit score, employment, and on your life.

Comparison Video

What is the difference between DUI and DWI?

What Is Worse, A DUI Or DWI?

To know, “What is worse?”, you must understand that both the offenses are extremely serious and might land you up in prison. However, in most states, DWI attracts more severe punishment and penalty than DUI, as DWI usually means higher levels of intoxication. Both can limit your freedom of driving to work.

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