What Is The Difference Between A DWAI, DWI, And A DUI?

Last updated on August 15, 2022

Getting behind the wheel of a car under the influence of alcohol, drugs (illegal or prescription), or a combination of these substances can have serious consequences in the state of New York. If you are arrested for drunk driving or after you took drugs, the specific criminal charges you will face depend largely on the level of intoxication. Most people don’t go out for the evening intending to drive under the influence, but sometimes “just one drink” leads to another, and then another… and then the next thing you know you’ve been pulled over by the police for drunk driving in the state of New York. Because one lapse in judgment can lead to an arrest with pretty severe consequences, it’s important for you to know of the differences in DUI vs DWI vs DWAI, as well as to understand how a DWI lawyer can help.

Is A DWI And A DUI The Same Thing?

DWI stands for “Driving While Intoxicated” while DUI stands for “Driving Under the Influence”. People often use DUI and DWI interchangeably, however, which term is used officially in the laws of a particular state varies across the country. In most states, a person is considered too intoxicated to legally drive if they have a BAC (which stands for blood alcohol concentration) of at least .08 %. The difference between DUI and DWI can be subtle. Some states use the term DWI for this criminal offense and others use DUI. In the state of New York, we use DWI for a driver with a BAC of over .08 %.

What is a DWAI?

DWAI stands for “Driving While Ability Impaired”. The laws in the state of New York identify three types of DWAI, which are DWAI/Alcohol, DWAI/Drug, and DWAI/Combination. DWAI/Alcohol is when a driver is driving while ability impaired by alcohol and with a BAC between 0.05 and 0.07, DWAI/Drug is when a driver is driving while ability impaired by a single drug other than alcohol, and DWAI/Combination is when a driver is driving while ability impaired by a combined influence of drugs or alcohol.

What Are The Potential Consequences Of Getting Charged With A DWI In New York?

The consequences for being convicted of violating the laws against driving under the influence of alcohol and drugs or DWI in the state of New York can include a suspended or revoked driver’s license, monetary fines, and even a potential jail sentence. The severity of the penalties depends on, amongst other things, the level of the charge and whether or not it is the first offense. Having a previous conviction for drunk driving offenses typically results in steeper possible penalties. For even a first-time DWI offense in the state of New York, depending on the circumstances, someone can face fines of between $500 and $1000, a revoked driver’s license for at least 6 months, 3 years of Probation, or up to 12 months of jail time.

What Are The Potential Consequences Of A DWAI?

As stated in a previous section, in the state of New York a DWAI is short for “Driving While Ability Impaired.” The major differences between a DWAI and a DWI are that the BAC is more than .05 % but less than .07% or there is proof that the driver is impaired either by illegal or prescription drug use or a combination of both drugs and alcohol. As such, there are three different kinds of DWAIs in the state of New York and each kind has different potential consequences. Being charged with a DWAI involving a driver with a BAC between .05 and .07 can result in a fine between $300 and $500, a 90-day license suspension, and up to a 15-day jail sentence. Being charged with DWAI involving drugs and a DWAI for a combination of both drugs and alcohol can mean a $500 to $1000 fine, a revoked license for at least 6 months, and three years of Probation, or even up to one year in jail.

Local DWI Lawyer, Jason Bassett, Is Highly Experienced In Helping With Drunk Driving Violations In New York And Nassau and Suffolk Counties.

Whether the DWI or the DWAI is a first offense or not, being charged and convicted of it in the state of New York can have consequences that negatively affect your life not only in the short term but for the rest of your life. You need an experienced attorney to provide top-quality legal defense and to get you the best possible outcome. Call Jason Bassett today for a free consultation at (631) 259-6060.

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