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DUI and DWI: Is there a difference?

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DUI and DWI: Is there a difference?

POSTED ON: 01/16/2020

If you get arrested for a DUI or DWI, you may be ordered to get an ignition interlock device such as those offered by Smart Start of Alabama. This order may be initiated by a judge, probation officer, or other authority such the coordinator of a pretrial intervention or diversion program. But back to the DUI or DWI… what is the difference between the two? 

DUI

DUI stands for driving under the influence. Influence can refer to any substance, not just alcohol. You can get a DUI for using any drugs including legal prescription or over-the-counter medications. If you are arrested for a DUI, it basically means that the police officer had reason to believe you were impaired while driving or operating a vehicle. Because not all substances can be tested for on-the-spot, officers sometimes rely on field sobriety tests and other means of determining someone’s level of impairment. 

DWI

DWI stands for driving while intoxicated. In the past, intoxication referred to the use of alcohol. In recent years, though, more focus has been placed on the dangers of driving while using drugs and other substances as well.

Still not sure?

Depending on the state, the definitions and repercussions of a DUI and DWI charge vary. Some states only recognize one or the other. Sometimes the terms are used interchangeably. In any case, DUI and DWI both mean that a driver is being charged with a serious offense that risked the safety of everyone on the road. Do yourself a favor and just trust that both are charges that you do not want on your record. 

Drive safely!

As law enforcement procedures and sometimes even laws change to adapt to the nationwide problem of impaired driving, remember that a DUI or DWI conviction can cause major issues in your life. Stay sober or don’t drive. Stay up to date on things related to DUI and DWI by following our blog.

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