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About DUI Terms

What is the difference between DUI and DWI?

DUI stands for “driving under the influence” and DWI stands for either “driving while intoxicated” or “driving while impaired”. In some states, these terms can have different meanings or they could refer to the same offense while you were pulled over.

In either case, both DUI and DWI imply that a driver is being imposed with a serious offense of having risked the health and safety of himself and others. These charges are applied for not just alcohol and recreational drugs but also to driving when your prescription drugs impair your abilities. It is also crucial to understand that one is not adverse than the other and that both can have a huge effect on your life.


BAC (Blood Alcohol Concentration) is used to check the percentage of alcohol content in the driver’s bloodstream. Having a BAC of .10% means that an individual’s blood supply contains one part of alcohol for every 1000 parts blood. In most states, a driver having a BAC of 0.08% or higher is considered legally intoxicated.

Zero tolerance BAC laws

For anyone below the age of 21, driving with any amount of alcohol in their blood is considered illegal. This law is enforced by the entire 50 states. Even a slight amount of BAC levels like .01 or .02 would lead to a penalty. Considering such laws, even an innocent glass of wine with dinner could lead a young driver with a DUI charge.

Enhanced penalty laws( high BAC)

In some cases, BAC is not the only cause considered when penalties are issued. In certain states, DUI penalties are issued likewise if the driver is speed driving, has children onboard, causes an accident or denies to be tested.

Implied consent

The implied consent law states that all persons who opt to drive on public roadways thereby implicitly agree to undergo chemical tests of breath, blood, or urine to determine alcohol or drug content, if asked to do so by a law enforcement officer. In case the driver disagrees to take the test implied consent laws carry penalty charges like mandatory suspension of driver’s license.

Alcohol education and assessment

In the majority of the states, if you are convicted for a DUI, you will need to be evaluated for alcohol abuse at some point during the criminal proceedings that proceed. Alcohol abuse assessments are intended to understand whether and to what extent a driver has a substance abuse problem following an alcohol-related arrest. This can allow experts who are specialized and knowledgeable about alcohol abuse to develop a treatment plan to address your specific circumstances.

Administrative License Revocation

ALR or Administrative License Revocation is the removal of a DUI/DWI offender’s driver’s license at the time of an arrest upon the failure or refusal of a chemical test. This divergence is important – administrative revocations are immediate in nature and, because of this, ALR is one of the most highly effective ways to deter people from driving under the influence of alcohol. Not to mention, ALR laws are effective in saving lives.

DUI penalties by state

State Imprisonment Fines & Fees License Suspension Ignition Interlock Device Required
Alabama None $600 to $2,100 90 Days No
Alaska Min. 72 hours $1,500 Min. 90 days Yes
Arizona Min. 24 hours $250 base fine 90 to 360 days Yes
Arkansas 1 day to 1 year $150 to $1,000 6 months Yes
California 4 days to 6 months $1,400 to $2,600 30 days to 10 months Yes, in some counties
Colorado Up to 1 year (DUI), or up to 6 months (DWAI) Up to $1,000 (DUI), or up to $500 (DWAI) 9 months (DUI), none for DWAI No
Connecticut 2 days up to 6 months $500 to $1,000 1 year No
Delaware Up to 6 months $500 to $1,1500 1 to 2 years No
Florida 6 to 9 months $500 to $2,000 180 days to 1 year Yes
Georgia 1 day to 1 year $300 to $1,000 Up to 1 year No
Hawaii None $150 to $1,000 90 days No
Idaho Up to 6 months Up to $1,000 90 to 180 days No
Illinois Up to 1 year Up to $2,500 Min. 1 year Yes
Indiana 2 months to 1 year $500 to $5,000 Up to 2 years No
Iowa 2 days up to 1 year $625 to $1,200 180 days Yes, if BAC above .10
Kansas Min. 2 days $750 to $1,000 30 days Yes
Kentucky None $600 to $2,100 90 days No
Louisiana 2 days to 6 months $1,000 90 days Possible
Maine 30 days $500 90 days No
Maryland Up to 1 year (DUI); up to 2 months (DWI) Up to $1,000 (DUI); up to $500 (DWI) Min 6 months (DUI & DWI) No
Massachusetts Up to 30 months $500 to $5,000 1 year No
Michigan Up to 93 days From $100 to $500 Up to 6 months Possible
Minnesota Up to 90 days $1,000 Up to 90 days -
Mississippi Up to 48 hours $250 to $1,000 90 days No
Missouri Up to 6 months Up to $500 30 days Possible
Montana 2 days to 6 months $300 to $1,000 6 months Possible
Nebraska 7 to 60 days Up to $500 Up to 60 days No
Nevada 2 days to 6 months $400 to $1,000 90 days Possible
New Hampshire None $500 to $1,200 6 months No
New Jersey Up to 30 days $250 to $500 3 months to 1 year Possible
New Mexico Up to 90 days Up to $500 Up to 1 year Yes
New York None $500 to $1,000 6 months Yes
North Carolina 24 hours (for level 5 offender) (however, if 3 aggravated factors are present -- Level 1A -- minimum of 12 months) $200 (for level 5 offender) 60 days to 1 year No
North Dakota None $500 to $750 91 to 180 days No
Ohio 3 days to 6 months $250 to $1,000 6 months to 3 years No
Oklahoma 5 days to 1 year Up to $1,000 30 days No
Oregon 2 days or 80 hours of community services $1,000 to $6,250 1 year Yes
Pennsylvania None $300 No Yes, if you refused to take a chemical test
Rhode Island Up to 1 year $100 to $500 2 to 18 months No
South Carolina 48 hours to 90 days $400 to $1,000 6 months No
South Dakota Up to 1 year $1,000 30 days to 1 year No
Tennessee 48 hours up to 11 months $350 to $1,500 1 year Yes
Texas 3 to 180 days Up to $2,000 90 to 365 day No
Utah 48 hours min. $700 min. 120 days No
Vermont Up to 2 years Up to $750 90 days No
Virginia Min. 5 days Min. $250 1 year Yes - if BAC .15 or above
Washington 24 hours to 1 year $865.50 to $5,000 90 days to 1 year Yes
West Virginia Up to 6 months $100 to $1,000 15 to 45 days Possible
Wisconsin None $150 to $300 6 to 9 months No
Wyoming Up to 6 months Up to $750 90 days Yes - if BAC .15 or above

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