The Difference Between a DUI and DWI

Perhaps you have a general curiosity, or maybe due to a recent encounter with law enforcement that has brought you to this page. Whatever your reason for googling if there is any difference, we are here to tell you that in the great state of Florida what differences are between a DUI and a DWI. Driving under the influence of any drugs or alcohol is a highly dangerous and idiotic thing to subject not only health and safety of yourself, but to risks the lives and well-being of others is both selfish and a serious offense. These split second decisions can result in an experience that can follow and haunt you for the rest of your life. 


In Florida, driving under the influence, or a DUI, is legally the most commonly known offense, however, it may also be referred to as driving while intoxicated, or a DWI, even though that is not considered to be the legal term. These terms are interchangeable in the Sunshine State, but may different in other states and regions. If suspected of driving while under the influence, you will be arrested and charged with a DUI which falls under the Florida Statute §316.193. 

While Florida may have simplified these terms to basically refer to someone driving who should not be, other states may have separated the terms to help duel out different penalties for different severities in cases. For instance, a state may see a DUI as a lesser offense than a DWI and results in a lower penalty. There are even some states that have coined the term OUI, or operating under the influence, which again describes drunk driving.

No matter what the term is referred to on your ticket, driving over the legal blood alcohol content (BAC), it is illegal and will come with heavy consequences and costly penalties. In Florida, a driver being charged for the first time with a DUI, can result in the driver losing their license for six months. Not only is that lose an inconvenience, but it can make it difficult to maintain employment, attend classes or school. After this first offense, a second or third incident can end in even harder penalties such as loss of a driver’s license for up to 10 years without the possibility of applying for a hardship license (for first time offenders to allow driving in certain instances), or you may be facing a felony charge and/ or prison time, especially if another individual was harmed as a result of your actions. These charges will also depend on how much time in-between convictions, along with the BAC results at the time of arrest. 

If your record obtains a DUI conviction, it may be difficult in certain situations for the rest of your life. Some employment opportunities, especially those with driving as a big aspect of the job, may no longer be a viable option. This can include many jobs from truck drivers, taxi and Uber/Lyft drivers, to delivery workers, sales, and even theme park attraction workers (a big one here in Central Florida).

If you have been charged with a DUI or DWI, contact you Orlando DUI attorney, Ali & Blankner to know your rights. 

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