Understanding the Difference Between DUI and DWI Offenses in Virginia
People are found guilty of a DUI in Virginia if their blood alcohol level is .08 or more when they are driving. Police officers can arrest people for driving under the influence of alcohol or under the influence of drugs by conducting a field sobriety test, breathalyzer test, chemical test or simply due to their erratic driving behaviors.
A DWI in Virginia is defined as driving while intoxicated. When it comes to drinking and driving in Virginia, there is really no difference between a DUI and DWI. The only real difference is the acronym, but they carry the same penalties and same charges in this state. They both refer to operating a motor vehicle while being impaired by drugs or alcohol.
The confusion regarding the differences between a DUI and DWI is due to other states and jurisdictions indicating a difference between the two offenses. Charges can vary for the two offenses in other states as a DUI is typically a lesser offense than a DWI. This is because police generally use the term DUI for a lesser amount of intoxication than a DWI. Even though there are still some states that indicate a difference between a DUI and DWI, it is diminishing as the majority of states use the two terms interchangeably.
There are two other terms that are also used interchangeably with DUI and DWI in some areas of the country. These are OUI and OWI and are defined as operating a motor vehicle under the influence and operating a motor vehicle while intoxicated. There are many other acronyms used when referring to impaired driving, and these differ depending upon what area of the country you live.
As for Virginia, the state has a zero tolerance policy and does not recognize a difference between a DWI and DUI. The laws, fees, and charges for a DUI and DWI in Virginia are the same and receive the same punishments.
If you have been arrested for driving under the influence in Virginia, the charge is considered a criminal offense and should not be taken lightly. You need an experienced Virginia DUI, DWI lawyer who can help you understand the DUI laws and explain your rights. Call T. Kevin Wilson, an experienced Virginia DUI defense lawyer at the Wilson Law Firm toll free at (800) DUI – LWYR or (703) 361-6100 today. We may be able to get your charges dismissed or reduced.