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DUI vs. DWI: the Critical Differences

Getting arrested when drunk or high while driving can be a challenging legal situation. However, many people get confused about the differences in DUI vs. DWI and how they are given out. If this situation has affected you, it is critical to thoroughly examine these differences to ensure that you understand your legal case. Furthermore, it can help you focus on substance abuse treatment in many different ways.

DUI vs. DWI Varies Based on Substances

The significant difference between a DUI vs. DWI is in the substances that were used when arrested. For example, a DUI may be given to you if you drank over the legal limit of alcohol and drove. However, a DUI can also refer to other substances, such as marijuana, cocaine, LSD, or any other illicit substance that affects your driving. The penalties here may vary, depending on the type of drug that was in use. By contrast, a DWI is strictly related to alcohol and does not refer to other substances. Breaking down the acronyms helps here: DUI means driving under the influence while DWI means driving while intoxicated. Typically, the difference between a DUI and a DWI when drinking centers around the state in which you are arrested. Some might issue a DUI instead of a DWI if you drank very heavy levels of alcohol before you drove. And, again, the penalties can be quite diverse.

DUI and DWI Penalties

When trying to understand a DUI vs. DWI, you need to know that the penalties are often similar but also slightly different. This factor all depends on the state or jurisdiction in which the offense occurred. Some areas have fairly relaxed penalties, while others are far stricter and tougher on lawbreakers and require participation in addiction treatment programs. For example, DUI penalties in Tennessee include:

  • First offense – includes a minimum of 7 consecutive days in jail, depending on your BAC level, a one-year license revocation, a fine of $350-$1,500, installation of an Ignition Interlock Device, and order to attend an alcohol and drug treatment program
  • Second offense – in addition to the first offense penalties the mandatory stay in jail varies from 29 days to 11 months, a mandatory fine of $600-$3,500, and license revocation for two years
  • Third offense – mandatory fines increase to $1,100-$10,000 and license revocation becomes six years.
  • Other offenses that result in felonies – fourth offense, vehicular assault, and child endangerment

DUI sentences can be harsher. For example, some people may end up with more jail time due to possessing illegal drugs. And others may end up getting court-ordered rehab to manage their addiction. Typically, this situation occurs if a drug abuse evaluation finds that a person has a lengthy history with substance abuse and needs help to overcome this problem.

Court-Ordered Rehab May Be Necessary

While learning the differences between DUI vs. DWI is essential to know, you may quickly find that they don’t matter when court-ordered rehab is a factor. This treatment option may be hard to accept, but when properly utilized can change your life for the better in many ways. A typical rehab program will:

  • Detoxify the body and the mind of all illicit substances
  • Gauge emotional and mental health disorders that may contribute
  • Adjust behavioral concerns that may worsen substance abuse
  • Provide aftercare treatments that help maintain sobriety
  • Find sober living facilities that keep a person focused on their treatment
  • Create support groups that ensure a person does not relapse

These many care options help walk you back from substance abuse and put you in a better frame of mind. As a result, you can take a step back, gauge how drugs have impacted you, and regain the level of sobriety that you deserve for your life.

Ways We Can Help

At The Ranch, we can help anybody trying to figure out the differences between DUI vs. DWI offenses. When you call 1.844.876.7680, we can work with you to help you better understand your legal situation. Just as importantly, we can assess your substance abuse and provide you with the guidance you need to get through this problem. So please, contact The Ranch to get started on the path to recovery.

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