What is the difference between DUI and DWI?

Posted by Craig Penrod | Sep 09, 2013 | 0 Comments


In Arizona, DUI and DWI are both slang references to a violation of A.R.S. § 28-1381, driving while under the influence of intoxicating liquor, any drug, a vapor releasing substance containing a toxic substance or any combination of liquor, drugs or vapor releasing substances if the person is impaired to the slightest degree. It is a criminal offense and a class one misdemeanor if a person operates a motor vehicle while under the influence of alcohol or with an alcohol concentration of .08 or higher, or 0.04 in a commercial vehicle requiring a commercial driver license. “Under the influence of alcohol” has been defined in Arizona as whether the alcohol that you have consumed impairs your ability to drive to the slightest degree. There are charts that are informative, but are certainly not completely accurate. There are many variables in human beings that can affect whether or not those charges apply to you. The best test for you is the test that the law defines. Determine before you drive whether or not your ability to drive is at all impaired by the alcohol that you have had to drink.

A person can also receive a DUI if they are operating a motor vehicle while under the influence of any drug or with a metabolite of any illegal drug or drugs in their blood for which they do not have a prescription.

Unlike other criminal offenses which allow the court latitude in determining appropriate penalties, the DUI statute has mandatory minimum sentences. On a first offense involving alcohol, the sentence can range from 24 hours to 45 days in jail, fines and assessments of anywhere from $1,700 to $7,000 (both jail and fines depending upon the breath/blood alcohol level), mandatory substance abuse screening and counseling, if recommended, a 90-day license suspension and the installation of an ignition interlock in your vehicle. If the offense is one involving drugs, the penalties are the same except for license suspension. For a DUI drug offense, it is one year in which the person is not entitled to drive at all and there are no hardship permits available. Second offense DUI penalties only get worse.

If you find yourself facing criminal or DUI charges, contact the lawyers at the Law Offices of Craig W. Penrod for a free initial legal consultation.  Craig Penrod has been certified by the State Bar of Arizona as a criminal law specialist and The Law Offices of Craig W. Penrod has been involved in criminal and DUI defense for more than 20 years.

About the Author

Craig Penrod

Craig W. Penrod was born and raised in Arizona and has practiced criminal defense for over 30 years. Mr. Penrod is a member of the State Bar of Arizona, Maricopa County Bar Association, State of Nevada Bar Association, American Bar Association, American Trial Lawyers Association, Arizona Trial Lawyers Association, Nevada Trial Lawyers Association, Arizona Attorneys for Criminal Justice and the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers.


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