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Difference Between DUI and DWI Charges in DC

While DWI used to be a completely separate charge from DUI, it is now charged as a per se offense. The following is information on what this means for you and your case and how this is different from just being charged with a DUI. For more information regarding your case and the penalties you are facing, call and schedule a consultation with a DC DWI attorney today.

An attorney can take you through the various steps of the legal process, and help you find the strongest defense possible for your specific circumstance. To learn more, call and schedule a consultation today.

How DWI is Charged

DWI stands for ‘Driving while intoxicated’ and DUI stands for ‘Driving under the influence’. DWI used to be charged as a separate offense from DUI. However, now the Attorney General’s Office prepares a driving under the influence case in a manner where DWI is considered to be a per se offense for driving under the influence.

In a driving under the influence case the prosecutors need to prove two things:

  • The first is that the defendant was operating or in physical control of the vehicle.
  • The second thing is that alcohol or drugs or medication impaired the defendant’s ability to operate the vehicle to an appreciable degree.

DWI means that if the defendant has a blood alcohol content or breath alcohol content of .08 or higher at the time of testing, then that BAC alone is evidence that the defendant was impaired by alcohol to an appreciable degree. If the defendant had a urine alcohol content of .10 or higher, then that is also considered to be per se evidence of the defendant being impaired by alcohol to an appreciable degree. This finding of impairment is not dependent on the results of standardized field sobriety tests or other observations by police officers.

Does DWI Charges Apply to Every Case?

The DWI standard does not apply in situations where a person is alleged to be under the influence of drugs or medications or a combination of alcohol and drugs or medications.

Penalties For DWI

The penalties for DWI are exactly the same as penalties for DUI. When charged, a first offense DUI carries a maximum of 180 days of jail, a maximum fine of $1000 or both and a mandatory court cost payment of between $100 and $250. However, the DWI charge is no longer considered a separate offense from a DUI. It is simply a manner by which the prosecutors can prove a DUI by showing that the person’s blood alcohol content or breath alcohol content was above a certain level.

Importance of An Attorney

If you have been accused of driving while intoxicated it is imperative you seek legal representation in order to ensure that your rights are protected. Call today to learn more and discuss your case.

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