What’s the Difference Between DWI vs. DUI Charges?

In 2020, over 11,000 people died from alcohol-related traffic deaths. It’s no secret that driving under the influence can lead to harsh consequences, but not everybody understands the differences between a DWI vs DUI.

We’ve put together a brief guide that has key information you need to know.

Let’s take a closer look.


DWI stands for “driving while intoxicated,” and it means that a person is caught driving with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.08% or higher. In some states, the legal limit is lower depending on the age of the driver.

A DUI stands for “driving under the influence” and typically refers to someone who has been impaired by drugs, not just alcohol.

For instance, someone could have no alcohol in their system but still be charged with a DUI.

Penalties and Consequences

The penalties for DWI and DUI vary from state to state, but they can include jail time, fines, and license suspension or revocation. They could also include community service, ignition interlock devices (these prevent the vehicle from starting if alcohol is detected), and mandatory alcohol treatment programs.

Insurance premiums and car repair costs can skyrocket after a DWI or DUI conviction.


The best way to avoid the risk of getting into an alcohol-related accident is by not driving after drinking. Designate a sober driver, use public transportation, call an Uber, or stay overnight if you have been drinking.

Doing so could not only save your life but other lives on the road. If you see someone who looks impaired behind the wheel, let them know that it is not safe for them to drive and offer an alternative.

Taking Action

If you’ve been charged with either of these offenses, seek legal advice as soon as possible. A qualified attorney can provide you with expert counsel and ensure that your rights are protected in court.

When searching for an attorney to work with, look for someone who has experience with DWI/DUI cases. You should also look for an attorney who has a solid reputation and proven track record.

This will provide you with the best chance of getting a favorable outcome. It’s in your best interest to search for lawyers with a strong local presence. For example, those located in Austin, Texas can visit this Austin DWI site to get started.

Never Drive Under the Influence

Be sure to consider the above guidelines. Under no circumstances should you get behind the wheel if you are impaired. As long as you follow the law, you’ll never have to worry about what happens if you get a DWI vs DUI.

If you do find yourself in this situation, reach out to a reputable attorney as soon as possible. Looking for other useful information that can help you out in the future? Feel free to take a look at the rest of our blog.


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