Clearing the confusion between a DUI and a DWI

On Behalf of | Mar 8, 2023 | Blog, Criminal Defense |

A Louisiana driver who opts to operate a motor vehicle under the influence of drugs or alcohol puts themselves and others at risk. They also open themselves up for legal consequences, including jail time, suspended licenses, and penalties.

What’s the difference between a DUI and a DWI?

DUI is an acronym for driving under the influence. This could mean driving while impaired by drugs or alcohol. The term focuses on the behavior of the driver. It is more frequently used by states when charging someone for drunk driving.

DWI is an acronym for driving while intoxicated or driving while impaired. It can refer to alcohol. In Louisiana, it can also refer to other substances. If a driver has a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.08% or more, they are considered intoxicated. DUI and DWI can be used interchangeably when referring to drunk driving.

Penalties for DWIs

The first DWI offense is a misdemeanor in Louisiana. Penalties can include:

  • Fines of up to $1,000
  • Ten days to six months of jail time
  • One year driver’s license suspension
  • Probation with jail time and community service

Stricter penalties can apply if a person’s BAC is over 0.2%. For example, they may need to use an ignition interlock device once their license is reinstated.

Civil injury claims for accidents involving DWI

In Louisiana, there is a system of enhancements for DWI charges. The penalties are increased for each subsequent DWI offense a person is guilty of. Suppose someone hurts another person while driving while intoxicated. In that case, they could find themselves liable under the personal injury laws of Louisiana, and they may be required to pay out compensation to a third party for their losses.

Driving while intoxicated is dangerous. You can protect yourself and others by using good judgment and not getting behind the wheel if intoxicated.


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