Have you or a loved one recently been accused of a DUI or DWI? Do you fear that being charged with a DWI is going to spell trouble for your future? If so, then you are probably wondering what the difference is between DUI vs DWI.
These two are often confused with one another. In fact, some people have the misconception that they are the same thing. They are not. You must know the differences between the two.
See below for an in-depth guide you can use to understand the differences between a DUI (Driving Under the Influence) and a DWI (Driving While Intoxicated).
What is a DUI?
Let’s start by giving firm definitions for both DUIs and DWIs. But before we do that, you must know this: both are serious offenses. If you or a loved one has been accused of either one, then you should visit criminalattorneytampa.net to get the legal representation you need for your case.
DUI, as we pointed out in our intro, stands for “Driving Under the Influence.” As that title would imply, a DUI is handed out to those that show signs of operating a moving vehicle while under the influence of either alcohol or drugs, or both.
Contrary to popular belief, you don’t have to be drunk to be accused of driving under the influence. In the state of Florida, for instance, any blood alcohol content test at or above a .08 will warrant a DUI charge.
You should be warned that there are different parameters for a regular DUI and an underage DUI. If you’re under the legal drinking age (21) and caught with a BAC (blood alcohol content) level above .02, you can be accused of a DUI.
Many of you may have seen articles on the internet encouraging you to refuse a DUI test. We strongly suggest against this, as it can result in revocations, misdemeanor charges, and so on. If a law enforcement official asks you to take a BAC test, take it.
What is a DWI?
DWI stands for “Driving While Intoxicated” and is generally considered to be the more serious offense of the two. Think of a DWI as a more serious version of a DUI.
The penalties for DWIs and DUIs are very similar in the state of Florida. However, the severity of those penalties and fees is heightened when you’re caught driving while intoxicated.
Such penalties can include thousands of dollars in penalties, jail time, and the revocation of your license. The second your car insurance provider finds out you’ve been accused of a DUI or DWI, you’re automatically seen as a high-risk driver. Many providers will then choose to delete your coverage. But even if they stay on, your premium rates will rise exponentially. That’s a guaranteed consequence.
If this is your first offense for either a DUI or DWI, then the penalties will reflect the state’s intention for you to realize the error of your ways and avoid becoming a repeat offender. However, if there were any injuries or deaths involved, it can complicate matters further.
Steps to Take After a DUI Charge
If you’re ever charged with a DUI, you must take a few important steps. Don’t get caught up in the moment, but rather focus on making the right choices to set yourself up for success in the future. Here are a few steps to consider.
Hire a Criminal Defense Attorney
Like it or not, a DUI or DWI charge is considered a criminal act. Therefore, you’ll need a trusted criminal defense attorney to represent you.
In fact, the very first thing you should do once you’ve been released from jail is reach out to a criminal defense lawyer for your case. You can tell them your side of the story. After you’ve given them a thorough replay of what happened, they’ll start building evidence for your case.
They can help give you step-by-step instructions to follow during this time. This will help you receive the lowest penalty possible for your situation.
Find SR-22 Insurance
As we mentioned previously, a DUI or DWI charge will cause you to become labeled as a “high-risk driver” in the eyes of insurance agencies. For that reason, you should expect your current provider to drop your coverage soon after the DUI occurs.
For that reason, you’ll need to invest in another form of car insurance. Even if your license has been revoked, it’s a good idea to start searching for providers that will take you on as a client, as it can take a while for the process to be completed.
We recommend looking into what’s known as SR-22 insurance. An SR-22 can ensure that you’ll maintain car coverage for a predetermined amount of time.
Prepare for Your Court Dates
Hiring an experienced criminal defense attorney will help with this part of the process. You’ve already been charged with a DUI, not appearing for your court dates will only make matters worse.
It’s really best to just comply. Follow the step-by-step instructions that your lawyer gives you, appear when needed, and answer all of their questions honestly.
More importantly, don’t do anything to complicate matters further. Some examples include making sure not to drive if your license has been revoked and also try to stay away from situations involving alcohol or drugs during this time.
DUI vs DWI: Hire a Trusted Attorney Today
Now that you have seen an in-depth guide on the difference between DUI vs DWI and what they mean for your case, be sure to use this information to your advantage.
Be sure to read this article for more information on whether or not the police can force you to turn over your phone and online records.