Difference Between DWI and DUI

The terms “DWI and DUI” are often used interchangeably, but, in Virginia, there is a significant difference between the terms ” DWI and DUI”.  A DWI is a drunk driving charge in which the person charged has either blown a 0.08%Blood Alcohol Concentration (BAC), or higher, or has actually had their blood drawn by a specially trained technician and analyzed by Virginia’s Division of Forensic Science, and is also 0.08% BAC, or higher.  In Virginia, a 0.08% BAC, or higher, means the person is presumed to be legally intoxicated.  For reference, a 0.00% BAC means that there is no alcohol in their system whereas a 0.30% BAC means that the person is in immediate danger of alcohol poisoning, likely coma and death.

When a person refuses to take a breath test at the police station or a blood test at the station, or is involved in other Breath or Blood test failure scenarios, the person will be charged with both “DUI” and “Unreasonable Refusal” to take a breath or blood test.

Therefore, a “DUI” technically means that there is no breath or blood test result that can be used against the person in Court to prove drunk driving; but the Police and Prosecutor believe that they can still prove the person guilty of “Drunk Driving” by the way the person looks, acts, walks (unsteady gait/stumbling), talks (slurred speech) and does on the roadside “Field Sobriety Tests”, etc.  Both a DWI and DUI carry the same penalties: a Class 1 Misdemeanor Criminal Record with the FBI, Homeland Security, NCIS, Immigration and all Court and Police departments nationally for the rest of their life; up to 1 year in jail; up to a $2,500 fine (or both); mandatory loss of driver’s license privilege for 1 year; a  mandatory “Ignition Interlock ” device that must be paid for and have installed in your car for at least 6 months; mandatory Alcohol Safety Action Program (ASAP) classes; 6 negative demerit points on their DMV record; and obtaining  high- risk/ higher premium auto insurance for a significant period of time.

Why Do You Defend DUI Cases? 

The primary reason I have chosen to defend DUI cases is truly because everyone is presumed innocent unless and until either they have been found guilty by a judge or jury; or, if they have pleaded “Guilty” or “No Contest” to the charge; even if their Breath or Blood BAC is 0.08% or higher and they are “legally ” and practically drunk.  The second reason is because if a person is found guilty of a DUI in Virginia, they face a nightmare of problems and penalties that will severely damage or destroy the “American Dream” for the rest of their life.

The penalties including up to a year in jail;  mandatory loss of their driver’s license for one year; mandatory Alcohol Safety Action Program classes for several months; paying a fine up to a $2,500 plus Court Costs; paying to have installed and rent an “Ignition Interlock” device in their car for a mandatory minimum of 6 months if they qualify for a Restricted Driver’s License for work, school, doctors, etc. (with absolutely no stopping to get gas for their car, no trips to the grocery store or drug store to buy food or medicine for themselves or their family, etc.)  They will also receive 6 negative points on their DMV record and be required to obtain very expensive “High Risk” auto insurance.

Clearly, these are terrible personal, work and social consequences, right? But, believe it or not, there are even worse consequences that most people don’t even know about.  If you want to know what they are then read on at your own peril!

A DUI is not a “Traffic” charge, even though it involves a car and is indeed handled in Virginia’s “Traffic Courts”- rather,  it is actually a serious “Class One (1) Criminal Misdemeanor” charge , Virginia’s highest and most serious Misdemeanor.  What this means for you is that if you plead guilty or no contest to a DUI Charge, (or are found guilty by a Judge), even if you are not sentenced to jail, you will have a Class 1 Criminal Misdemeanor on your Permanent Lifetime Criminal Record on the National Crime Information Center (NCIC) database; where all criminal conviction records are maintained and integrated with the FBI, Homeland Security, Immigration and all local and national court, law enforcement, and intelligence agency records for the rest of your life.

What are the results on your life if you have a Class 1 Misdemeanor Criminal Record? You will almost certainly lose any security clearance you now have, (or never will get if ever applied for). Very possibly you may lose your job (and likely never get the job or career you have been working so hard for).  Most likely you will never be able to be accepted as a “Volunteer Coach” or “Team Parent” at your kid’s school or local sports teams. Also, this Criminal Record is also a “Public” Criminal Record, available to anyone who wants to check you out on the Internet; including your family, your neighbors, your friends and your employers, who will always then see you in a “different light”.

For more information on Difference Between DWI and DUI, a free initial consultation with our dui lawyers is your next best step. Get the information and legal answers you’re seeking by calling (703) 548-1462 today.

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