Learn More About DWIs

DWI, DUI, OUI: What’s the Difference?

May 11, 2016

When facing a drinking and driving conviction, so many people are confused about the charges facing them. One of the most common questions are: what have I been charged with? In regards to drinking and driving, it can be difficult to tell the difference between a DWI, DUI, and an OUI.

Drinking and driving laws are state law, which means every state deals with the law and the offense differently. Some states do not distinguish between drinking and driving offenses while other states have heavier charges for certain charges.

Driving While Intoxicated

Driving while intoxicated (or DWI) is a charge of a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of .08% or above. In states that distinguish between DWI and DUI, a DWI will often carry a more serious sentence than a DUI.

Driving Under the Influence

Driving Under the Influence (DUI) is a charge of a controlled substance that impairs driving ability. Many states use DWI and DUI terms in tandem. However, in states where there a difference, a DUI is usually a lesser charge than a DWI.

Operating Under the Influence

Operating Under the Influence (OUI) is not common throughout the United States. This is a different term for DWI and DUI that is used interchangeably, particularly in states such as Massachusetts.


An important note is that all of the offenses can be applied outside of a typical drinking and driving case. A conviction can be based on any substance abuse, such as drugs, other than alcohol. These terms are not exclusively to driving a vehicle, either. Depending on the state, the law can extend to boats, planes, bikes, carriages, and even horses.
Regardless of the allegation, drinking and driving offenses are very serious. Get a serious attorney who is knowledgeable about the laws and charges in your case. Find a top rated attorney who can help you win your case.

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Updated: May 12, 2016 at 10:03 am