DUI Meaning and How it Differs from DWI

Lucy Lazarony January 27, 2021

You may think you’re not drunk but your body may be saying something else, meaning a DUI if you’re pulled over. Often, people who drink regularly confuse feeling “nice” with the ability to drive carefully. While you may feel great in a social setting and are more relaxed, your reflexes are also not as sharp, and your judgment may be too impaired for operating a vehicle optimally. You may be facing a DUI or even a DWI when you get behind the wheel after a few drinks.

DUI stands for driving under the influence and DWI stands for driving while intoxicated. The DWI meaning also could be driving while impaired. The DWI meaning varies from state to state. We think of a DUI as driving under the influence of alcohol but a DUI could mean driving under the influence of drugs. And those drugs could be over-the-counter drugs, prescription drugs, medical marijuana or illegal drugs. A DUI or DWI charge need not be in a car. You could be charged for drunk driving if you are on a moped, scooter or even a bicycle. Let’s examine DUI meaning and DWI meaning and drunk driving even further.

Other Charges for Drunk Driving Besides a DUI

There are other charges beyond DUI AND DWI for drunk driving. In some states, you could be charged with an OUI, operating under the influence, with an OWI, operating while intoxicated, and with a DWAI, driving while ability impaired.

Blood Alcohol Concentration Level for Drunk Driving

The federal legal blood alcohol concentration level is .08 percent. Anything at this level and higher and the driver is considered drunk. And this is true for drivers in every state. To test this level, you would need a breath, blood or urine test. In some states, the penalties for drunk driving increase if the driver’s blood alcohol concentration level is .15 percent or higher.

A DUI Is a Misdemeanor Crime

In many states, drunk driving is considered a misdemeanor offense. Drivers with repeat drunk driving charges may face felony charges in their state. Penalties for drunk driving may include jail time, fines and loss of driving privileges. It all depends on the state where you live and the severity of the charges brought against you.

Loss of Driver’s License Would Cancel Insurance

If charged with drunk driving, you may lose your driving privileges and your driver’s license. Once you lose your driver’s license, your car insurance may be canceled as well. Because you did not maintain continuous car insurance coverage, it will cost you more for insurance when you purchase car insurance in the future.

DUI When Not Driving

Believe it or not, you can be charged with drunk driving if you’re simply seated in the driver’s seat and the car isn’t moving. As long as you are intoxicated, you can be charged with drunk driving if you are in the driver’s seat of a vehicle or have an open container of alcohol in the car.

Some States Have Both DUIs and DWIs

In some states, both terms DUI and DWI are used for drivers under the influence. Often, one will refer to alcohol and the other will refer to prescription, over-the-counter or illegal drugs.

DUI Meaning is Different from DWI Meaning

The DWI meaning varies from state to state and so do the penalties for drunk driving. And that is why it is important to check out the DWI meaning in your state. Does it refer to drugs or alcohol? What are the penalties for drunk or drugged driving?

Do the same level of scrutiny for the DUI meaning in your state. Does a DUI refer to alcohol or drugs? What are the penalties for a DUI? Gather all the information that you can. You want to make sure you obey the laws regarding drunk driving and you’ll need to understand the laws first.

Zero-Tolerance for Drivers Under 21

All 50 states have zero-tolerance laws that punish people under the age of 21 for driving with even a trace of alcohol in their systems. So if someone under the age of 21 has a blood alcohol concentration test of anything greater than zero, he or she will be charged with a DWI or DUI. Remember that it’s illegal to be drinking in the first place, hence the heavy punishment!

Alcohol and Drug Testing

If you look impaired and are tested and but show you are not under the influence of alcohol, the arresting officer may call a drug recognition expert to perform a series of tests. If these tests show that you are under the influence of drugs, you will be charged with a DUI or DWI depending on your state.

Fatalities with DUI

Drunk driving crashes in the United States are a serious matter.

There were 10,511 deaths from drunk driving crashes in 2018, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).

And every day almost 30 people in the United States die in drunk driving crashes, according to the NHTSA.

What to Expect with a First Offense DUI

For a first offense with a drunk driving charge, you could pay thousands in fines, penalties and court costs plus a fee for a lawyer.

What to Expect With a Second Offense DUI

For a second offense for drunk or impaired driving, you may spend some time in jail and you may be placed on probation and be required to perform community service.

In most states, you will be evaluated for your drinking and substance use and you may take part in an alcohol treatment program.

Getting Insurance After a DUI or DWI

When you get your driver’s license back after a DUI or DWI, you’ll need SR-22 insurance. A SR-22 is a vehicle liability insurance endorsement required by most state Department of Motor Vehicles for high-risk drivers. This type of insurance could double or triple your insurance premiums depending on the state where you live.

Shop Around for New Insurance After a DUI

Looking for a break on your car insurance after a DUI or DWI conviction? Shopping around for insurance from several different insurance providers can help to lower your car insurance premiums. SmartFinancial can help you do just that, even if you have a poor driving record. With SmartFinancial’s assistance, you’ll be able to compare offers from many of the insurance providers near you. SmartFinancial has access to more than 200 insurance companies so you’re bound to find the coverage you need at a good price.

Obey the Rules of the Road, Especially After a DUI

Once the DWI meaning and DUI meaning in your state are clear, you will be sure to drive the road with care given your alcohol level. You’ll also be more aware of driving with prescription and over-the-counter drugs. You don’t want to take anything too strong that will impede your ability to drive safely. So be a safe driver and monitor your alcohol and drug content carefully. When in doubt, let someone else take the wheel and get you home safely.

I Got a DUI and Need an SR22

An SR22 is often required for people who have a DUI or DWI on their driving record or had an at-fault accident while driving without insurance. Pretty much anyone working on getting their license back after having it revoked has to get an SR22 certificate. Do you have multiple traffic violations in a short amount of time? You may need to file one if you aren’t careful. Have you fled the scene of an accident? That could make a judge rule that you need an SR22 too.

An SR22 may be required for serious or repeat traffic offenses or after getting too many tickets in a short period of time. SR stands for “statement of responsibility.” The SR22 certificate ensures that you’re fully covered, and it is expensive. So, remember that an SR22 is not insurance. It’s a form your insurance carrier has to file. An SR22 tells the government that you are now driving legally. This is why it’s expensive, because it’s extra paperwork on the part of the insurance company. Someone who needs to file an SR22 form will likely need to file it for several years.

It’s not easy getting an insurance company to file an SR22 on your behalf. Not only is it more paperwork but it also means that you are a high-risk driver. Insurance carriers need to balance how much risk they incur. Otherwise, they run the risk of not having enough money for coverage when people file claims. Each company has a unique formula for determining how much risk they assign drivers and how many high-risk drivers they are willing to take on as clients. Your best bet is to work with an agent who specializes in SR22 forms. You can be paired up with a reliable agent by visiting here.

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