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DUI vs DWI?

What Is the Difference Between DUI and DWI?

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Updated May 16, 2014

Police officer taking sobriety test of man
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DUI is an acronym for driving under the influence. DWI stands for driving while intoxicated. In some cases, depending on state law, the two terms are both used to describe impaired or drunken driving. Some state laws refer to it as DUI and others call it DWI.

However, in states where both terms are used, DWI usually refers to driving while intoxicated of alcohol, while DUI is used when the driver is charged with being under the influence of alcohol or drugs.

Both charges mean the arresting officer has reason to believe the driver is too impaired to continue to drive. In some jurisdictions, drivers can be charged with impaired driving (or driving under the influence) even if they do not meet the blood alcohol concentration levels for legal intoxication.

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