If you grow up in one of the states that have both DUI and DWI charges, you may be confused about which is which. In spite of the similarities in the terms, DUI and DWI are not exactly synonyms. If you are being accused of committing one of these crimes, you need to understand the core differences between them.

Understanding DUI Charges

Driving under the influence, or DUI, is a common charge. You could be charged with a DUI if you drive a car while drunk or intoxicated. Still, a DUI does not have to involve alcohol. You could also face the same charge if you are driving under the influence of narcotics or prescription medications. Even if you have a prescription, you may not be safe to drive.

A DUI is typically associated with a blood alcohol concentration of 0.08% or higher. So, even if you are not visibly impaired, you could face criminal charges.

Understanding DWI Charges

Diving while impaired is a slightly more complicated charge. DWI implies you are physically unable to control the vehicle safely. Even if you are not drunk or on drugs, you could face a DWI. For example, you could have fallen asleep at the wheel rather than been drunk.

One of the reasons for DWI charges is that there are some drugs, including prescriptions, that authorities are unable to test for. They may be able to tell you are impaired by something, but they may not know exactly what. They simply know you should not be driving.

You need not have your blood alcohol tested in order to be charged with a DWI in many cases. If you fail a field sobriety test, you could face criminal charges even if your blood tested fine.

Understanding Your Rights

If you are facing DUI or DWI charges, you need to hire an attorney. Police will use all the tools they have to bring your case to court, including video, field sobriety test results, and blood alcohol concentration test results.

Having either of these charges on your record is serious, leading to real consequences. For example, you could lose your job or have your driver's license suspended. Some people go to jail, and those who have other DUIs or DWIs in their history can face time in prison.

You must hire a criminal defense attorney who understand alcohol-related charges. Get in touch with an attorney today to learn more about your legal rights.