In many states, the difference between the terms DUI and DWI may not recognized. However, some states classify them separately.
Most states have undertaken zero-tolerance policies. Often, these states do not make any difference between a DUI and a DWI.
Basically, DWI refers to driving while intoxicated by alcohol consumption. A person may be charged with DWI if the blood alcohol level is above the limits defined by the State laws. DWI may also refer to chemical substances or drugs.
DUI (driving under the influence) refers to operating a vehicle while affected by alcohol, drugs, or a combination. Theoretically, there is no specific blood alcohol level.
In Los Angeles, you can be charged with DUI if you are under the age of 21 and with a BAC of .02 or higher.
New York uses the term DWI by establishing a blood alcohol level of .08 as the legal limit. But, you can be convicted of a DWAI (Driving While Ability Impaired) if your blood alcohol concentration is at least .05% and less than .08.
Other states like Virginia, California or New Jersey do not recognize any difference.
In Texas, a zero tolerance state, only drivers under the age of twenty-one with a BAC under 0.08 can be charged with driving under the influence of alcohol.
In Ohio, you can be convicted of OVI (Operating a vehicle impaired). The main difference is that the vehicle doesn’t need to move in order to be charged with OVI.
Massachusetts employs another term OUI which stands for Operating Under the Influence of alcohol (Operating Under the Influence).
DWI (Driving While Intoxicated)
DWI can be proven by showing that the driver has a BAC of 0.08% or higher. However, it is not required to prove that the defendant’s driving was impaired. DWI includes both alcohol and drugs in most states.
DUI (Driving Under the Influence)
The prosecution must prove that the driver’s ability was impaired by alcohol consumption with blood levels of alcohol above the legal limit and/or drugs.
OWI (Operating While Intoxicated)
OWI can be proven by showing that the defendant operated a motor vehicle and was driving under the influence of any amount of alcohol. The defendant can also be charged with OWI if the vehicle is stopped or not running. (Iowa, Wisconsin)
DWAI (Driving While Ability Impaired)
DWAI is a traffic infraction. In general, the defendant’s BAC exceeds 0.05 but is less than 0.08. (Colorado or New York)
OVI (Operating a vehicle impaired)
DUI is called OVI in Ohio since January 2005. (Ohio)
OUI (Operating Under the Influence)
OUI can be proven by showing that the defendant was operating a motor vehicle with a BAC level at/above 0.08 or under the influence of other chemical substances (Massachusetts, Maine, Rhode Island.)