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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

StateImprisonmentFines & FeesLicense SuspensionIgnition Interlock Device Required
AlabamaNone$600 to $2,10090 DaysNo
AlaskaMin. 72 hours$1,500Min. 90 daysYes
ArizonaMin. 24 hours$250 base fine90 to 360 daysYes
Arkansas1 day to 1 year$150 to $1,0006 monthsYes
California4 days to 6 months$1,400 to $2,60030 days to 10 monthsYes, in some counties
ColoradoUp 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 DWAINo
Connecticut2 days up to 6 months$500 to $1,0001 yearNo
DelawareUp to 6 months$500 to $1,15001 to 2 yearsNo
Florida6 to 9 months$500 to $2,000180 days to 1 yearYes
Georgia1 day to 1 year$300 to $1,000Up to 1 yearNo
HawaiiNone$150 to $1,00090 daysNo
IdahoUp to 6 monthsUp to $1,00090 to 180 daysNo
IllinoisUp to 1 yearUp to $2,500Min. 1 yearYes
Indiana2 months to 1 year$500 to $5,000Up to 2 yearsNo
Iowa2 days up to 1 year$625 to $1,200180 daysYes, if BAC above .10
KansasMin. 2 days$750 to $1,00030 daysYes
KentuckyNone$600 to $2,10090 daysNo
Louisiana2 days to 6 months$1,00090 daysPossible
Maine30 days$50090 daysNo
MarylandUp to 1 year (DUI); up to 2 months (DWI)Up to $1,000 (DUI); up to $500 (DWI)Min 6 months (DUI & DWI)No
MassachusettsUp to 30 months$500 to $5,0001 yearNo
MichiganUp to 93 daysFrom $100 to $500Up to 6 monthsPossible
MinnesotaUp to 90 days$1,000Up to 90 days -
MississippiUp to 48 hours$250 to $1,00090 daysNo
MissouriUp to 6 monthsUp to $50030 daysPossible
Montana2 days to 6 months$300 to $1,0006 monthsPossible
Nebraska7 to 60 daysUp to $500Up to 60 daysNo
Nevada2 days to 6 months$400 to $1,00090 daysPossible
New HampshireNone$500 to $1,2006 monthsNo
New JerseyUp to 30 days$250 to $5003 months to 1 yearPossible
New MexicoUp to 90 daysUp to $500Up to 1 yearYes
New YorkNone$500 to $1,0006 monthsYes
North Carolina24 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 yearNo
North DakotaNone$500 to $75091 to 180 daysNo
Ohio3 days to 6 months$250 to $1,0006 months to 3 yearsNo
Oklahoma5 days to 1 yearUp to $1,00030 daysNo
Oregon2 days or 80 hours of community services$1,000 to $6,2501 yearYes
PennsylvaniaNone$300NoYes, if you refused to take a chemical test
Rhode IslandUp to 1 year$100 to $5002 to 18 monthsNo
South Carolina48 hours to 90 days$400 to $1,0006 monthsNo
South DakotaUp to 1 year$1,00030 days to 1 yearNo
Tennessee48 hours up to 11 months$350 to $1,5001 yearYes
Texas3 to 180 daysUp to $2,00090 to 365 dayNo
Utah48 hours min.$700 min.120 daysNo
VermontUp to 2 yearsUp to $75090 daysNo
VirginiaMin. 5 daysMin. $2501 yearYes - if BAC .15 or above
Washington24 hours to 1 year$865.50 to $5,00090 days to 1 yearYes
West VirginiaUp to 6 months$100 to $1,00015 to 45 daysPossible
WisconsinNone$150 to $3006 to 9 monthsNo
WyomingUp to 6 monthsUp to $75090 daysYes - if BAC .15 or above

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