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DWI, DUI, OWI, OUI & DWAI: Know the Difference for This Cinco de Mayo
April 22, 2014
Many people may wonder if there is a difference between a DWI and a DUI. The issue gets even more confusing when people hear about drivers being charged with OUI or OWI. The reality is that different jurisdictions use different terms to refer a similar action.
All of these terms refer to the action of a person operating a vehicle while intoxicated on alcohol or drugs. In most cases, a person charged with driving while intoxicated is facing the same situation as a person who is charged with driving under the influence.
Knowing about these different terms and understanding the truth about intoxicated driving charges can help people avoid being arrested for drunk driving. Cinco de Mayo is coming up soon and many people may be planning to celebrate with alcohol. With common sense and preparation, the festival of Cinco de Mayo can be a fun experience without legal consequences.
What Are DWI/DUI/OWI Charges?
All of these charges are very similar because they describe operating a motor vehicle while inebriated. For the most part, these different terms only differ in the words that they use. The penalties for this crime generally remain the same no matter what acronym is used.
The variation in the terms used for intoxicated driving is mostly due to policies used by different jurisdictions. The terms may also vary based on the type of vehicle involved in the case. For example, DWI and DUI are usually used for cases of intoxicated operation of cars and trucks. OWI (operating while intoxicated) and OUI (operating under the influence) may be used in cases of intoxicated drivers who are discovered in parked cars that have the engine on. They may also be used in cases of people operating a watercraft while intoxicated.
All of these terms have similar penalty implications. One exception is the charge of DWAI (driving while ability impaired) which is used in two states to penalize drivers who have a blood alcohol level below .08 but higher than .05.
How to Avoid a DWI
There are a few steps to avoid being arrested on DWI charges. If someone is arrested for DWI, there are things that they can do to help fight a DWI conviction. To avoid a DWI:
don’t drink and drive, even if you have only one drink
have a designated driver or call a cab if you have had any alcohol
make a plan to get home safely before you have any alcohol
If you’re pulled over for suspicion of DWI:
don’t tell the officer you have been drinking
cooperate with the officer but don’t answer any incriminating questions