DWI and DUI: The Differences in Pennsylvania
Throughout the United States, you might encounter the acronyms DWI and DUI. For those not familiar with them, both refer to driving offenses resulting from being under the influence of either drugs or alcohol.
While some states use the two simultaneously or even interchangeably, Pennsylvania only uses one: DUI, short for Driving Under the Influence.
What is the difference between DWI and DUI? Does it really matter when they are both referring to driving impaired or intoxicated? Under the law, and especially if you got involved in a case like this, then yes, knowing the difference matters.
While you are at it, you might as well make sure you have access to a Pennsylvania DUI lawyer, so you can get the legal representation you need as early as you can from reputable firms like Engle, Kauffman, and VanHorn.
What is a DWI?
DWI means driving while intoxicated or impaired. This typically involves alcohol or drugs, either recreational or prescription.
Depending on where you are, the penalty for this offense may range from an imposed fine to imprisonment, or even revocation of license. Because of the possible severity of penalties involved, it would be much more beneficial for you to have your own Pennsylvania DWI lawyer to guide you through the legal process.
What is a DUI?
On the other hand, DUI refers to driving under the influence. This one refers to being under the influence of alcohol, and so you would typically involve the use of a breathalyzer to measure your blood alcohol content (BAC).
Technically, there is a recognized BAC limit of 0.08% but there are other factors that may lead you to be charged with a DUI even if your BAC is well within the limits. For example, being under 21, the legal drinking age, can still get you in trouble regardless of how little alcohol is in your system.
Other situations that could lead to a DUI charge include failing your sobriety test or driving erratically as a result of your alcohol consumption.
Whatever the resulting situation may be, the point is that you need a Pennsylvania DUI lawyer that can help you get out of this bind as quickly as possible.
DWI vs DUI: Fines and Penalties
Obviously, there are notable differences between DWI and DUI. Let us know further what is the difference between DWI and DUI in terms of fines and penalties.
Fines and penalties will vary not only depending on the extenuating or mitigating factors involved, but also on the state where the offense allegedly took place.
In Pennsylvania, specifically, there are different types of penalties ascribed to the frequency of offenses committed. If it is your first offense, you can have a fine of up to $5,000 and up to 6 months in jail. And even though it is our first offense, it is still possible for the suspension of your license.
If it is your second DUI offense or more, the fine can be up to $10,000 and up to 5 years in jail, while the suspension of your license could last for up to 18 months.
Which One is Worse?
When it comes to evaluating DWI vs DUI in terms of which one is more severe than the other, you will have to consider the disposition of the state applying the law.
For example, those that recognize both as one and the same will most likely charge you with a misdemeanor, as long as there are no deaths or injuries involved. But still, both will leave a mark on your record, which could definitely impact your car insurance premium.
Plus, both still put you at risk of seeing some jail time. The bottom line is that you should take utmost care when driving, regardless of DUI or DWI, or both.
Driving is a responsibility that you should take seriously, not only for your safety but for your passengers, fellow motorists on the road, and pedestrians.
In case you do find yourself involved in a DUI or DWI case, get in touch with credible and reliable lawyers from firms like Engle, Kauffman, and VanHorn. Get the legal representation you need to get the justice you deserve.