DUI or DWI? Know the Difference
DUI stands for “driving under the influence,” while DWI stands for “driving while intoxicated” or “driving while impaired”. Even though both a DUI and DWI can refer to the same offense, they can have different meanings depending on the state where the offense occurs.
In the end, DUI and DWI both mean that you’re facing charges for a serious offense that puts your safety and health, as well as that of others, at risk. These charges are not limited to alcohol and recreational drugs; they also apply to cases where you’re found driving while your abilities have been impaired by prescription drugs.
If you’re arrested with a DUI or DWI, contact the Lawyer Referral Service of Central Texas (LRS) in Austin, Texas for a criminal lawyer.
Definitions vary with the state.
Without legal representation in Austin, TX, it can be confusing when a state uses both terms. In most cases, the state uses one of the terms for cases involving alcohol and the other term for cases involving other known or unknown substances.
In some states, a DWI specifically refers to driving while intoxicated of alcohol and having a blood alcohol content (BAC) that exceeds the legal limit; whereas a DUI specifically refers to cases where you’re charged with driving under the influence of either alcohol or other drugs.
Where both terms are used, a DWI refers to driving while impaired by either alcohol or other drugs, known or unknown, whereas a DUI refers only to driving under the influence of alcohol.
Check out the Texas specific definitions and, seek the guidance of an Austin, Texas criminal lawyer to further explain how a DWI can impact your life and case.
When you’re arrested for either of these charges, it means that the arresting officer believes you’re too impaired to drive safely. In some states, a driver can be charged with a DUI or DWI even if their blood alcohol content is within the legal limit. In this case, having an experienced criminal lawyer Texas is your best bet of avoiding a conviction as they know how to navigate the legal issues surrounding these charges.
DUI/DWI charges apply to non-alcoholic ability-impairing drugs
If the arresting officer believes you’re impaired but your breathalyzer tests show that you have no alcohol in your system, they may suspect that you are under the influence of other ability-impairing drugs such as prescription pills or illicit drugs. A Drug Recognition Expert (DRE) may at this point be called to the scene to perform a series of tests. A DRE is an officer who has specialized training to evaluate suspects under the influence.
If the DRE officer’s tests determine that you’re under the influence of other drugs, you’ll be charged with a DUI or DWI. In such a situation, find a criminal lawyer by contacting Lawyer Referral Services of Central Texas to link you to attorneys in Austin, Texas.
A final word
Protect your health and safety, and that of others, during the holiday by never driving after consuming alcohol because your abilities may be diminished even if your blood alcohol content is within the legal limit. Also, avoid driving after taking any illicit drugs or prescription medication. The laws are aimed at preventing potential outcomes that are far worse than a DWI or DUI conviction. Taking precautionary measures, like having a designated driver, Uber, Lyft or a taxi, is better than finding yourself in a situation where you need legal representation in the Austin, Texas area.