28 April, 2020

Facing DUI or DWI charges is a serious matter. Both have the ability to affect your current life, driving privileges, as well as limit future career options.

For drivers who are new to the world of DUI and DWI offenses, here is a guide telling you the differences between and severity of DUI and DWI charges.


DUI vs. DWI: What’s the Difference?

While some states have a definition for the difference between DUIs and DWIs many states do not. These terms (DUI and DWI) are sometimes used interchangeably to describe the same offense while other times they are used to describe different offenses (this is largely dependant on the state in which the driver is pulled over in.

Despite not having crystal clear definitions, they are both viewed as severe and should never be taken lightly. Here are some of the main defining factors of each to help you better distinguish the difference between DUIs and DWIs.

DUI Definition

Driving under the influence (DUI) charges occur when the level of alcohol detected in a driver’s bloodstream is more than .08 BAC (the legal limit). Some states have zero-tolerance laws and will charge drivers for having less than the .08 BAC that typically constitutes a DUI charge (usually, minors are the ones who receive DUIs even though they have less than .08 as drinking underage is considered very dangerous).

DUIs may in some states be issued without the driver even failing a breathalyzer test. This usually happens if the driver is clearly intoxicated and exhibiting erratic or dangerous driving behaviors.

DWI Definition

Driving while impaired (DWI), while sometimes used as a synonym for DUI charges, sometimes refers to those who are driving impaired due to other substances (such as prescription or illegal drugs).

DUI vs. DWI: Which is Worse?

As mentioned above, some states do not recognize DUIs and DWIs as separate charges, but use the terms interchangeably. If you reside in a state that does recognize the differences between DWIs and DUIs, a DWI charge will likely be worse and come with more serious consequences. The states that recognize DUIs and DWIs as different charges may offer the offending driver the chance of having a DWI charge reduced to a DUI if this has been their first driving-related offense.

What to do if You are Facing DUI or DWI Charges

Regardless of which is considered worse, DUI and DWI charges should never be handled casually. Drivers facing either charge should contact a reliable defense attorney immediately. DUIs and DWIs have the ability to affect a person’s life for years to come. Not only will drivers face immediate consequences (fines, driving suspensions, etc.), but they may also face future limitations (employment opportunities, etc.) due to DUI or DWI charges.

To mitigate the negative effects of such charges, drivers facing them should immediately consult a DUI or DWI defense attorney.

Contact a Reliable DUI and DWI Defense Attorney Today

Here at Leyba Defense in Seattle, expert DUI and DWI defense attorney, Matthew Leyba works tirelessly to defend his clients from the lasting repercussions of driving-related charges. Contact Leyba Defense today to schedule a free consultation with an expert DUI and DWI attorney.