DUI vs. DWI: Which is worse?

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Difference between DUI and DWI

Motorists are always risking our safety when driving down the road. Event if one is a safe driver, we still are unsure that we are completely safe because of the dangers that always a part of driving. Accidents can happen at anytime and can be unavoidable, especially when you are dealing with other drivers who are driving under the influence. There are lots of publicized reports about accidents due to drunk driving and they comprise a big percentage of the car accidents today. Even if there are penalties under law covering this type of violation, many people are still doing it. These violations are called DUI (driving under influence) and DWI (driving while intoxicated).



Driving under the influence or more popularly known as DUI is a criminal offense wherein the motorist in question is under the influence of alcohol and other drugs. The drugs that are stated in this definition do not exactly have to be an illegal drug. It can be an overdose of over the counter drugs or some prescribed medicine that a driver is taking which makes them drowsy or temporarily not in a normal state of mind which can cause accidents on the road. On the other hand, driving while intoxicated, sometimes called DWI or OWI (operating while impaired) has the same definition and therefore it also has the same grounds for arrest. 


In order for a driver to be charged of DUI (driving under the influence) or DWI (driving while intoxicated), he or she must be brought in by the authorities for some testing. There are different levels of intoxication in different countries which determine the qualification of the crime. The driver will be examined for his or her alcohol levels in the blood for the authorities to be able to determine in which level of offense they qualify. If the alcohol level in the blood of the examined person results into a 0.08 alcohol level, they will be charged with DWI (driving while intoxicated). On the other hand, if the test results into an alcohol level which is lower than 0.08, the driver is charged of DUI (driving under the influence) which has lesser penalties than the former. Note that in some states or countries, DWI and DUI are all the same.


When a person can be arrested for DWI or driving while intoxicated, whether it is by alcohol or by a certain kind of drug, the penalties are high and most of the time the accused may be imprisoned or do some civil service to pay for his crime. On another note, DUI or driving under the influence has a lower penalty or sentence compared to the former because the severity of the BAC (blood alcohol content) is lower and the level of sanity of the accused is still quite normal.


  • Impaired driving is a leading cause of traffic fatalities.
  • DUI and DWI are regarded as the same in some states and countries.
  • DWI has higher penalties compared with a DUI.
  • DWI refers to alcohol blood levels over the legal limit and and DUI includes both alcohol and drugs.


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