DUI stands for driving under the influence, and DWI stands for driving while impaired or driving while intoxicated. Therefore, they mean the same thing: drunk driving or drugged driving.
But in Nevada, prosecutors exclusively use the term DUI, not DWI.
Other states use various terms that are synonymous with DUI and DWI. Some of these terms include:
- DUIL – driving under the influence of liquor
- DUII – driving under the influence of an intoxicant
- DWUI – driving while under the influence
- DWAI – driving while ability impaired
- OUI – operating under the influence
- OWI – operating while intoxicated
- OMVI – operating a motor vehicle while intoxicated
No matter the state, you always face drunk driving charges for operating a motor vehicle with a blood alcohol content of .08% or higher. (Utah is the only state with a lower BAC limit: .05%.)
Are there different degrees of DUI in Nevada?
Driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs in Nevada can be prosecuted as either a:
- misdemeanor, or
Misdemeanor DUI comprises:
- a first-time DUI in seven years and which causes no serious injuries or death; and
- a second-time DUI in seven years and which causes no serious injuries or death.
Felony DUI comprises:
- a third-time DUI in seven years and which causes no serious injuries or death;
- a DUI that causes serious injuries or death;
- a DUI that follows a prior felony DUI conviction; and
- vehicular homicide, which is a fatal DUI following three DUI convictions.
DUI is never prosecuted in Nevada as an infraction or a gross misdemeanor.1
Are drunk driving and drugged driving different crimes?
No. Driving under the influence of alcohol is prosecuted under the same Nevada statutes as driving under the influence of drugs (DUID).
The main difference is that people arrested for drunk driving get to choose whether to take a breath test or blood test. People arrested for DUID must take a blood test since breath tests cannot detect controlled substances and other drugs.2
Is driving with an open container a DUI?
No. DUI and driving with an open container of alcohol are entirely separate crimes in Nevada.
If police catch you driving with an open alcohol container, you should not also be charged with DUI as long as you are sober and have a legal BAC level.
Conversely, if police catch you drunk driving, you should not also be charged with an open container unless police see an open container of alcohol in the passenger area.3
Does Nevada recognize other states’ DWIs?
Yes. If you get arrested for DUI in Nevada – and you were convicted of DWI in another state or Washington, D.C. in the last seven years – prosecutors will consider that past DWI a “prior.” This means you would face charges for a second-time DUI in Nevada.4