DWI or DUI can cause similar damage to your driving record but their meanings may not be the same. There is often a distinction between DUI and DWI.
DUI is driving under the influence. DWI is driving while intoxicated. DUI may be confused with DWI in one state. In another, the terms might be different.
Regardless of the reason, those letters shouldn’t be on your driving record.
What does DUI and DWI mean?
DUI can refer to driving while under the influence or driving under the influence. Drugs could be prescription, over-the-counter or illegal. DWI can also refer to driving while intoxicated, or driving while impaired. The exact definitions will vary depending on the state.
No matter what the charge is called, DUI or DWI can be brought against you if a law enforcement officer believes that you are too impaired to drive. You could have impaired driving ability due to alcohol, drugs or sleepiness.
Depending on the state you live in, you could be charged with operating under the influence (OUI), operating whilst intoxicated (OWI), or driving while impaired (DWAI) rather than DUI or DWI.
Driving drunk might be illegal in your state. Utah is the only exception. Drunk driving is considered a misdemeanour in many states. However, repeat offenders could face felony charges.
In many states, penalties may increase for BACs below 0.15%. A breath, urine, or blood test is used to determine BAC.
In many states, drunk driving can be charged if you are in the driver’s chair but your car isn’t moving. You might be charged with DUI, DWI, or another similar offence in some cases if you are operating a watercraft or moped, scooter, bike, or other motorised vehicle.
Driving laws for drunk and drugged drivers
Consider the New York legal definitions to see how complex state laws regarding drunk driving and drugged driving are. These are:
- Driving under the influence (DWI), usually involves a blood alcohol content of at least 0.08 percent. New York’s legal limit for commercial drivers is 0.04 percent.
- A BAC of at minimum 0.18 is required for aggravated driving under the influence (aggravated DWI).
- Driving while impaired by alcohol (DWAI/alcohol), a BAC greater than 0.05%, but less than 0.07 percent.
- Driving with impairment of ability due to a single drug other than alcohol (DWAI/drug).
- Driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs (DWAI/combination) can cause impairment to your ability.
New York’s Zero-Tolerance Law allows drivers under 21 years old to be charged with driving with a blood alcohol content (BAC) of 0.02 to 0.7%.
New York’s penalties for drunken or drugged driving include prison time, fines, and the loss of driving privileges.
Your car insurance policy will be cancelled if you lose your driver’s licence.
New York’s laws represent just one example. The laws regarding drunk driving and drugged driving vary from one state to the next. A first offence of drunk driving can result in a nine-month suspension in Wisconsin, or a one year suspension in Georgia and Tennessee.
Alcohol impaired driving laws by state
Below is a list of licence suspensions and restricted driving privileges for those who violate alcohol impaired driving laws in each State.
What is the impact of a DUI on car insurance rates?
After a DUI , you can expect your auto insurance rates to rise. The national average rate rise was 74%, according to our research. Insurance companies consider a DUI-convicted driver more risky than someone who has not been convicted. A DUI conviction can cause your premiums to soar.
What is the SR-22?
Premiums can be higher, but that’s not the only cost. After a DUI, your state may require you to obtain S R-22 insurance. An SR-22 certificate certifies that you have valid car insurance. These certificates are only for high-risk drivers such as DUI convicts. An FR-44 certificate is available in Florida and Virginia, but it is essentially the same as an SR-22.
No matter if it’s an SR-22 certificate or an FR44 certificate, the fee to the insurance company will be $25. The state regulations regarding how long you have to keep an SR-22 certificate valid vary, but the average is at least three years.
What length of time does a DUI stay on your insurance record?
A DUI remains on your record, and can have an impact on your car insurance rates for up to three years in most states.
Although the surcharge will drop in your rates after three to five year, a DUI can still have an impact on your car insurance for many years. California, for example, doesn’t allow you to get a 20% discount for being a good driver until 10 years after your DUI.