What is the Difference Between DUI and DWI?

May 24, 2021 | DUI Accidents,Personal Injury

One thing that most people can agree on is that driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs is not a good thing. Driving while impaired by any substance is incredibly dangerous, though we know there are people that drive impaired on a regular basis throughout the state of Indiana. However, there are various ways that jurisdictions throughout the country refer to intoxicated driving incidents. Often, we will hear this referred to as driving under the influence (DUI). Other times, we will hear it called driving while intoxicated or driving while impaired (DWI). Here, we want to discuss the difference between these two phrases and then look at how Indiana refers to impaired driving offenses.

DWI and DUI – Is There Really a Difference?

Whether we are talking about a person driving under the influence or driving while intoxicated, the reality is that both DUI and DWI mean that a driver is being charged with a criminal offense because they endangered themselves and others on the roadway. DWI and DUI are essentially the same things, and the phrasing depends on a particular jurisdiction’s preferences. Typically, states codify one or the other in their laws.

Some states use DWI to refer to a person operating a vehicle with a blood alcohol content level over the legal limit. In those areas, DUI is used to describe a driver being charged with being under the influence of alcohol OR drugs.

In other states, DWI is used to refer to impairment by alcohol, drugs, or another intoxicating substance. In those areas, DUI is used to refer to only driving under the influence of alcohol.

Indiana and the OWI

When we come to Indiana’s laws, we will see the term operating while intoxicated (OWI) instead of DUI or DWI. However, most people still refer to these offenses as DUI or DWI when discussing the actions of a drunk or drugged driver.

In Indiana, OWI laws prohibit motorists from operating a vehicle under the following circumstances:

  • If their blood alcohol level is .08% or higher
  • With any amount of a schedule I or schedule II controlled substance in their system
  • While intoxicated by any alcohol or drugs

Additionally, the state of Indiana has a zero-tolerance law that makes it illegal for any driver under the age of 21 to operate a vehicle with a blood alcohol content level of .02% or higher.

OWI Consequences in Indiana

In the state of Indiana, the penalties for OWI revolve around whether or not it is a person’s first offense as well as how much alcohol the person has in their system at the time of their arrest. For the purposes of this article, we will look strictly at first offense OWI penalties, which are as follows:

  • Up to 60 days of jail time (up to one year if the BAC is .15% or more)
  • A fine of up to $500 (up to $5,000 if the BAC is .15% or more)
  • 180-day license suspension
  • Requirement of ignition interlock device (IID) for up to 60 days (up to one year if the BAC is .15% or more)

Reach out to an Attorney for Help

If you or somebody you love has been injured in an accident caused by a drunk or drugged driver, you need to speak to a skilled Indiana personal injury lawyer as soon as possible. An attorney will have the resources necessary to conduct a complete investigation into the case and help you secure the compensation you need. This can include coverage of your medical bills, lost income, property damage expenses, pain and suffering damages, and more.

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