Driving under the influence (DUI), or driving while intoxicated (DWI) seem like they should both be describing the same action, but they are not.
Both mean that you have been driving while you are impaired, by either alcohol or drugs, regardless of whether the drugs are legal or illegal.
Whether it is considered a DUI or a DWI will be determined by the state where the incident took place. There are some states with only one classification; it is either a DUI or a DWI and not both. There are some states with two different classifications, and a DWI can be reduced to a DUI under some circumstances.
A reduction in the state of New York for instance, can apply if the driver has a blood alcohol content under 0.08, or is a first time offender. The reduction may also be made if the offender shows genuine remorse.
All states consider a blood alcohol level of 0.08 to be drunk driving and being pulled over for drunk driving and not submitting to a test can result in immediate suspension of your driver’s license and then you would need to hire a DUI lawyer.
Some states consider DUI as driving under the influence of narcotics, regardless of whether they are a legal or illegal substance. They then classify anyone driving while intoxicated with alcohol as a DWI, or an OWI, which is operating while intoxicated.
Since DUI laws and DUI penalties differ greatly from state to state, if you are arrested for drunk driving, it is best if you contact a DUI lawyer to help you through the legal red-tape.
If you are convicted of breaking DUI laws, you may find the DUI penalties are more than a fine and possible jail time. You may find that you are no longer able to get a driver’s license, which can affect your employment. You may find your insurance rates go up, and in some cases, you may need to apply for an SR-22 insurance. Of course, you will need to pay for that as well.
Additionally, if you have a job where driving is required as part of your employment, you may lose that job and find yourself unemployed.
If you find yourself in a situation where you have broken the DUI laws and are faced with DUI penalties, the best thing to do is talk to a DUI lawyer. A DUI lawyer specializes in all the laws and penalties and will be better equipped to handle your drunk driving case than a general attorney.