The Denson Firm

What is the Difference Between DWI and DUI?

Drunk driving legal terminology can be confusing to Florida drivers.

Understanding DWI vs. DUI helps you to know what to expect if you or someone you know is arrested for drinking and driving. Each state has sometimes vastly different DWI and DUI laws, and Florida drivers should be aware of the associated risks and consequences.

What is a DUI?

In Florida, DUI is defined as “driving or being in actual physical control of a vehicle while under the influence of alcohol or controlled substances to the extent your normal faculties are impaired” or “driving with a blood alcohol content (BAC) of .08% or higher.” For drivers under 21 years of age, the legal limit is lowered to .02% BAC. For commercial drivers (CDL) drivers, the legal limit is .04% BAC.

It is crucial to note that under Florida law, driving under the influence of controlled substances, prescription medications, or even over-the-counter medications that your impair driving ability subjects you to the same legal standards and penalties as alcohol-related DUI offenses​​.

Anyone can be accused of DUI, but that does not always mean the State can prove the person was, in fact, Driving Under the Influence of alcohol or controlled substances. This is why every person who is arrested for DUI should immediately consult with an attorney.

What is a DWI?

The term “DWI” is not used in Florida, but in most states, DWI is synonymous with DUI. In other states, DWI refers to as a lesser offense than DUI, such as Reckless Driving. Some states use the term DWI for DUIs involving prescription or recreational controlled substances, or drivers with very high blood alcohol content.

What is the Difference Between a DUI and DWI?

This is a common question. DWI vs. DUI is utilized differently in criminal law around the country, depending on the particular state, but not here in Florida. The difference may become relevant for someone who was previously convicted of DWI in another state, and later arrested for DUI in the State of Florida. Depending upon the language of the DWI statute in the other state, DWI’s can be considered DUI’s for purposes of Florida’s enhancement laws.

What Does This Mean?

The penalties for DUI in Florida increase in severity with each DUI conviction. For example, if you are convicted of a DWI in another state, and that state’s definition of DWI is the same as Florida’s, a subsequent DUI arrest in Florida would be treated as a second DUI.

This is why it is important to understand the consequences of an out-of-state DWI conviction. If you find yourself with a DWI your record, and are later arrested in Florida for DUI, it is absolutely essential that you consult with a DUI attorney.

How Denson Firm Can Help When Facing a DWI or DUI

When you are facing DUI, you can trust the Denson Firm. Our attorneys have many years of experience helping people after they have been arrested for drunk driving and understand what it takes to get the best outcome in a difficult situation.

With the strict penalties you are up against, it is critical to have a legal professional to advocate for you.

Bruce Denson and Tracey Sticco practice criminal law exclusively and understand how the criminal justice system works. Their team can relieve much of your anxiety by explaining the process and the likely outcome of your case to you. We are strong investigators, negotiators, and litigators.

Many Florida DUI cases can be successfully defended if the person charged with drunk driving hires a St. Petersburg DUI lawyer immediately to present a strong defense. If you win your case, you preserve your driving privileges and avoid jail time.

Contact The Denson Firm today.

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