DUI Law - The Many Acronyms Of Impaired Driving
If your confused by all the DUI acronyms out there used to refer to the crime drinking and driving, you are not alone. DUI, DWI, OUI, OWI are common. Here we discuss these and more.
Many people get the abbreviations and their respective definitions mixed up. Should you find yourself in the unfortunate position of being arrested for drunk driving, you may stumble (no pun intended) to fully understand what the accusation exactly is. Though the names may vary, DUI, DWI, etc., - they all have one thing in common...trouble. The first step in planning your defense is to research your local laws as much as possible. Knowledge is power, and the more you know the better prepared you will be.
Listed below are the names and definitions of terms used to refer to the crime of driving under the influence. Be sure to double check your applicable statutes, because in addition to the names differing among states, the elements defining the offense vary as well. Always remember to consult with an attorney for a better understanding of how your local laws relate to the specific facts of your case.
Guide to the Abbreviations
The most commonly used abbreviation for the offense of drunk driving is Driving Under the Influence (DUI). The elements defining the crime vary from state to state, and can be found by checking your local statutes. You'll hear the term DUI used in the following jurisdictions: Alabama, Arizona, California, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Mississippi, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Tennessee, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, Washington.
The second most commonly used abbreviation has two possible definitions. Whether it's called Driving While Impaired or Driving While Intoxicated (DWI), you'll hear the term DWI used in the following jurisdictions: Connecticut, Delaware, District of Columbia, Minnesota, Missouri, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, and North Carolina, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Texas, Vermont, West Virginia.
Operating a Motor Vehicle while Intoxicated (OMVI). Sometimes used in Ohio, though most often the offenses are referred to as "OVI" (see below).
Operating a Vehicle (while) Impaired (OVI) is Ohio's official catchall term for any offense related to drunk driving.
BUI (Boating Under the Influence) makes it illegal to operate any kind of water vessel while impaired. From canoes to cruise ships, the punishments are similar and it as severe as a regular DUI. Every state has laws regulating the operation of boats while under the influence of alcohol. Check your local BUI statutes for more specific information.
Driving While Under the Influence (DWUI), and while the name and acronym are unique and only used in Wyoming, the statute itself is similar to other states' DUI laws.
DUBAL (Driving With an Unlawful Blood Alcohol Level) and UBAL (Unlawful Blood Alcohol Level) are also referred to as "Per se DUI". They have been enacted in some form in all 50 states, and criminalize driving with a certain amount of alcohol or BAC level without requiring proof of impairment.
Driving Under the Influence of Intoxicants is a term exclusively used to criminalize drunk driving and similar offenses in Oregon.