DWI vs. DUI: What’s the Difference?

Although they are often used interchangeably, there are some key differences between DWIs and DUIs. In any case, they mean that a driver is being charged with an offense that endangered themselves and others, typically relating to substances that impair a driver's ability to drive.

DUI Meaning

DUI is an offense associated with drunk driving. However, the charge can also be applied to individuals driving under the influence of prescription medications or recreational drugs. In Illinois, you can be charged with a per se offense. This means that you have committed a DUI crime by driving a car on a highway or a road with a .08 percent blood-alcohol concentration test or 5 ng or more of cannabis in your blood or urine, without considering whether or not you are visibly impaired.

DWI Meaning

On the other hand, DWI often varies from state to state. Illinois does not have an offense of “DWI”. In some states, it means, "driving while intoxicated" and commonly used in place of DUI. In other states, it means "driving while impaired." In this case, any impairment could be used as grounds for criminal charges, including driving while physically incapable of maintaining control of the car or even driving while falling asleep.

While the elements of a DWI are mostly the same as those of DUI, a DWI offense does not have to include alcohol or drugs.

Impaired Driving in Illinois

It is important to note that there is no distinction between these offenses in the state of Illinois. In fact, Illinois only uses the term "driving under the influence" or DUI in regards to impaired driving. If you plead guilty or are convicted, you may lose your driver's license or pay hefty fines for this offense. Repeat offenders may also lead to jail time.

DUI Attorneys in Chicago, IL

At The Toney Law Firm, our team of compassionate Chicago DUI defense attorneys has been helping individuals fight their charges for countless years. We are firm believers that mistakes happen, and people can change when given the opportunity, and we want to help make that possible.

If you’ve been charged with DUI for being in your parked vehicle, our team is here to help. Call us today (888) 473-4058 to learn more about how our team can help you put your charges behind you and move forward with your life.