What is a DWI vs. DUI?

Although a DWI and a DUI have similar consequences, there might be some differences depending on the state in which you live. Both offenses have significant ramifications for the short term, such as fines, higher insurance premiums, mandatory driver’s education programs, and, possibly, jail time. However, the long-term implications can harm your future opportunities for years to come.

Keep reading to learn more about DWI and DUI, and contact Myrtle Beach Recovery if you or a loved one would like to learn more about our effective 12-Step Program.

What is the Meaning of DUI?

Driving Under the Influence, or a DUI, is an offense involving drugs or alcohol that shows up on your criminal record as a misdemeanor or felony. In most states, the first two DUI convictions result in misdemeanor charges, which means you’ll receive fines and jail time for said DUI of typically less than one year. Some states mandate a minimum jail time for a second misdemeanor. Several factors can lead to felony DUI charges, including:

  • Having more than two misdemeanor DUI convictions.
  • Driving recklessly and causing injuries to another driver or pedestrian. In most cases, the injury needs to be considered severe or of a great bodily injury nature, such as permanent disfigurement, loss of a body part, or impairment of an organ.
  • Negligent driving that leads to death, or an increased risk of death.
  • Driving under the influence with a passenger of minor age.

What is the Meaning of DWI?

Some states distinguish between Driving While Intoxicated (DWI) and DUI. For example, in some states, DWI is a more severe charge. It indicates that a driver was over the legal blood alcohol limit. On the other hand, you can receive a DUI conviction by driving under the influence of drugs or any other intoxicating substance. In those states that recognize these as two separate offenses, DUI represents a lesser level of impairment. There is also such thing as an aggravated DWI which comes with harsher punishment.

Which is Worse, DWI vs DUI?

In those states that recognize these as two separate offenses, DUI represents a lesser level of impairment. However, both charges can impact your finances, personal life, occupation, and a criminal record for many years. Typically, a DWI carries more serious consequences, such as:

  • Higher fines and fees.
  • More likely and longer jail times.
  • Longer driver’s license suspension.
  • Mandatory time in an alcohol addiction treatment program.

DWI and DUI Statistics 

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, driving while impaired by alcohol causes the death of twenty-nine people every day in the United States and results in an annual cost of $44 billion. Other statistics reported by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration include:

  • More than one million arrests for driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs each year.
  • One death every 50 minutes due to drunk driving.
  • Almost one-third of all fatal accidents involve alcohol.
  • Drivers between ages 25 and 34 are involved in the highest number of fatal accidents involving alcohol.
  • More than one in one-hundred thousand Americans under twenty-one die due to drunk driving.
  • One third of people convicted with a DUI go on to get another. 
  • Over half of those who receive a DUI have a mental illness.
  • In one study, more than half of those convicted with a DUI had serious issues with drinking.

Consider Myrtle Beach Recovery

Myrtle Beach Recovery can help you or a loved one recover from alcohol addiction in a safe and comfortable environment. Contact us today to learn more about conquering addiction through The 12 Step Program.