In Washington, drivers are charged with DUI, which stands for driving under the influence, when they have consumed enough alcohol to prevent them from operating their vehicles safely, but other states have a different name for this charge. In Arkansas, Missouri and North Carolina, drunk drivers are charged with DWI, which stands for driving while intoxicated. In several other states, DWI stands for driving while impaired, which is a less serious offense that does not always carry criminal penalties. In New York, DWAI, which stands for driving while alcohol impaired is a lesser drunk driving offense.
Is there a difference between DUI, OUI and DWI?
States may give drunk driving charges different names, but the crimes are all the same. In every state other then Utah, motorists are considered intoxicated and subject to arrest when they get behind the wheel with a blood alcohol concentration of 0.08% or higher. In Utah, the legal limit is 0.05%. The BAC limits are lower still for commercial driver’s license holders and drivers under the legal drinking age of 21. Some states have a lesser drunk driving charge for impaired drivers with BACs under the legal limit.
The consequences of a DUI charge in Washington
The penalties for driving under the influence are not as severe in Washington as they are in many other states, but even first-time offenders lose their driving privileges for at least 90 days. Repeat offenders face longer suspensions and possible jail time, and the penalties are harsher still for drunk drivers who cause serious accidents.
Different names, but the same charge
Getting behind the wheel after consuming alcohol can lead to arrest in every state, but the name of the charge is not always the same. DWI, DUI and OUI are all charges brought against motorists with BACs of 0.08% or higher.