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DUI and DWI - what is the difference?

Jul 21st 2015 at 11:43 AM

DUI stands for Driving Under Influence while DWI stands for Driving With Intoxication. Both the terms relate to impaired driving due to consumption of alcohol, drugs, or other chemical substances. Since substances like alcohol can alter a person’s thinking, decision making, response time, and other mental capabilities, driving under the influence of such substances is viewed as a serious offence across the globe and can lead to very harsh punishment.


In the United States, DUI and DWI are used interchangeably and imply the same in most of the states, but in certain states, they are used as two distinct terms and have different rules and punishments for each. These chemical substances need not essentially mean illegal drugs. Even certain prescription drugs if consumed in excess can cause impairment.

In states where DUI and DWI are considered as 2 separate offenses, DWI is a more serious offense than DUI. A person is usually charged with DUI only when charged for the first time, and usually only repeat offenders are charged with DWI and there are provisions in the law where a DWI sentence can be reduced to a DUI sentence.

DUI/DWI in Florida

In the state of Florida, DUI and DWI terms are used interchangeably. DUI is charged if a person’s BAC or blood alcohol content is found to be 0.8% or more. A commercial driver can be charged with DUI/DWI if his BAC is 0.4% or more. The State of Florida has adopted a police of Zero Tolerance for drunk driving in the case of minors, and as per the zero tolerance policy, any driver under 21 years of age can be charged with DUI if his BAC is 0.2% or more.

Traffic tickets in Florida for drunk driving can adversely affect your freedom, finance, career, and peace of mind. The laws of the state relating to drunk driving are very strict and punishments can vary depending upon the severity and the number of repeat offenses. A jail sentence of 6 months or more, community service of 50 hours, fines ranging from $500 to $2000, suspension of driving license - the list is long and complicated. The best advice is not to drink and drive, but if at all you are charged with drunk driving, the best solution is to seek help from an attorney.


Ticket Clinic is a reputed Miami traffic ticket attorney with offices all over Florida. You can get in touch with any of their 22 office locations in Florida or call 1(800) 248-2846. Ticket Clinic is a specialist in DUI/DWI cases.

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