What Does DUI Mean?

The meaning of DUI is "Driving Under the Influence." According to the California Vehicle Code § 23152, it is illegal to drive under the influence of any intoxicating liquor or drug, or a combination of the two. The legal threshold is .08 percent BAC, but if evidence shows that your driving was impaired, you could receive a DUI charge even if you were under .08 BAC.

DUi Checkpoint sign with arrow to the right

What Does DWI Mean?

DWI stands for "Driving While Intoxicated." The term is used to describe the act of operating a vehicle after consuming alcohol or other drugs to a degree that mental and motor skills are impaired. Different jurisdictions use various terminologies for this offense such as DUI, OUI, or OWI. However, it is important to note that a DWI charge can have a lasting affect on your life and career.

What Is the Difference Between DUI and DWI in California?

In some states, the terms DUI and DWI are used interchangeably, but they can also be used to distinguish between different levels of severity or types of offenses. However, in California, the law does not make a legal distinction between DUI and DWI. Both terms refer to the same violation - operating a vehicle while impaired by alcohol, drugs, or both. Whether the charge is referred to as a DUI or DWI, the ramifications can be severe and long-lasting, emphasizing the necessity of a skilled DUI defense lawyer.

What Is a DUI Charge?

A DUI charge occurs when an officer pulls you over on suspicion of being intoxicated and arrests you. In DUI cases, the driver may have been impaired by alcohol or drugs while the vehicle was being operated. It is imperative to note that drugs do not have to be illicit. Taking prescription drugs and over-the-counter drugs while driving can also lead to a DUI charge if the person becomes impaired.

How Serious Is a DUI Charge?

A simple DUI with no aggravating factors is a misdemeanor but driving under the influence can be enhanced to a felony in some cases. Driving under the influence is an administrative license offense, a traffic offense, and a criminal offense. DUI is an administrative offense because it concerns your right to drive.

This aspect of a DUI is handled by the Department of Motor Vehicles. DUIs are traffic offenses because they are committed while you are in physical control of your vehicle. Finally, DUIs are criminal offenses because they are not charged as infractions (like most tickets) but as misdemeanors & felonies.

DUI in Other States

Driving under the influence isn’t called “DUI” in every state. In some states, it is called driving while intoxicated shortened to the acronym “DWI.” In still other states, like Ohio, drunk driving is operating a vehicle while intoxicated or “OWI.” It is the same offense, called different things in different states.

DUI vs. DWI - What to Know

DWI means driving while impaired while DUI stands for “driving under the influence.” In California, these terms mean essentially the same thing although in some states the meaning is different. California generally uses DUI to demonstrate a charge related to driving under the influence of alcohol.

The Risks of DUI

Driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs is extremely dangerous, even if you are technically below the legal limit of .08 percent blood alcohol content. Studies show that even minor alcohol ingestion increases the risk of crashing.

If you were accused of driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs, we invite you to contact a Los Angeles DUI attorney at Gold & Witham for a free review of your case. Call 800.716.6791 today!

Related Readings:

What Is a DUI?

We Could Tell You Why You Should Hire Us, But Our Clients Say It Better

  • Gold & Witham will work hard for you, and they will also ensure you work hard for yourself in order to achieve the best results.

    5 5 1


  • Personal service with results...I highly recommend Gold & Witham and their approach to helping their clients.

    5 5 1


  • FANTASTIC results!!! I could not be happier with these results.

    5 5 1


  • Kept me free and gave me back myself!

    5 5 1


  • Because of you I am still sober, and I live a whole new life!

    5 5 1


  • You probably saved my son’s life, if not literally, at least figuratively.

    5 5 1


  • Best DUI defense in town.

    5 5 1


  • I know you are the best in your field.

    5 5 1


  • I admire your perseverance and dedication!

    5 5 1


  • Your expertise and professionalism is greatly appreciated.

    5 5 1


  • You have gone that extra step, each step of the way, to explain, educate and inform.

    5 5 1


  • Thanks to Gold & Witham, I'm a free man.

    5 5 1


  • I will whole-heartedly recommend you.

    5 5 1


  • Thank you for all the positive things you have done.

    5 5 1


  • I now have a greater understanding of the legal system.

    5 5 1


  • You helped me make a very informed and important decision.

    5 5 1


  • I felt I had a winner and a winner we stand in this difficult case.

    5 5 1


  • I feel fortunate that I came out as well as I did and I do not take it for granted.

    5 5 1


  • Thanks to your help and guidance and our hard work, we made it happen!

    5 5 1


  • Thank you for your expert representation and guidance.

    5 5 1


  • I could not have hoped for better management of the whole matter.

    5 5 1


  • If you need a reduced sentence, this works.

    5 5 1


  • Professionalism at its peak.

    5 5 1


Prev Next

Our Philosophy

  • Work Directly With Mr. Gold And Mr. Witham

  • Always Be Up To Date On The Status Of Your Case

  • Have An Experienced Legal Advocate On Your Side

  • Have Emails And Phone Calls Answered Promptly

  • Have 24/7 Emergency Support

Our Proven Methods

Will Be Your Peace Of Mind

Don't wait to get the representation you need today. Fill out the form below to get started with a free case evaluation.

  • Please enter your name.
  • This isn't a valid phone number.
    Please enter your phone number.
  • This isn't a valid email address.
    Please enter your email address.
  • Please make a selection.
  • Please enter a message.
Get Started