A DUI is a DWI is an OWI...

Posted by Neil Shouse | Oct 26, 2009 | 0 Comments

In California, we call it “driving under the influence” or DUI. In some states, they call it “driving while impaired” or DWI. Still others call it “driving while intoxicated” which is still DWI. And finally, some states call it “operating while intoxicated” or OWI.

The bottom line is that a DUI is a DWI is an OWI…which basically means that they're all the same. Each state may have its own slight variation on what constitutes a DUI, but in reality, if you drive while under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs, you will be prosecuted for this offense.

Although each state prohibits driving with a blood alcohol level of 0.08% or greater (which is California's Vehicle Code 23152b VC), most of the discrepancies lie in the exact definition of what it takes to be “under the influence” or “impaired by drugs and/or alcohol”.

For example, in California under Vehicle Code 23152(a), you must be impaired to the point that you “no longer have the caution characteristic of a sober person under the same or similar circumstances." Some other states have less stringent requirements, while others penalize you even if your BAC is below a 0.08% but above a 0.05%.

Because every state's DUI laws are different…as are their DUI penalties…it makes sense to consult with a local DUI attorney who understands the rules of the state in which you were arrested. Learn about expunging California DUIs from your criminal record.

About the Author

Neil Shouse

Southern California DUI Defense attorney Neil Shouse graduated with honors from UC Berkeley and Harvard Law School (and completed additional graduate studies at MIT).


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