Attorney at Law

DUI vs. DWI vs. DUID

James Parker
February 16, 2022
Last reviewed by
September 14, 2023


DUI, DWI, and DUID are acronyms that refer to Driving Under the Influence, Driving While Intoxicated, and Driving Under the Influence of Drugs respectively. These acronyms are most commonly used to refer to the criminal act of operating a vehicle while in one of the three aforementioned states and they have different contexts in which they apply.

The most scientific of these acronyms is DWI. A DWI specifically refers to a driver as “intoxicated” which is a specific legal threshold. In most states, a driver is “intoxicated” when their blood alcohol content reads 0.08, or 8% by volume. The exception to this rule is in Utah where intoxication is achieved at only 0.05 or 5%. There are also “zero tolerance” limits for minors who are considered intoxicated if their BAC is anything higher than 0.00 or, in some states, 0.02.

The other specific acronym is DUID, also sometimes called “drugged driving.” This definition is usually listed in the legal text as the driver being under the influence of a “controlled” or “chemical” substance that impairs them. This definition is broad enough to include illegal narcotics, amphetamines, and hallucinogens.

The final, and broadest, acronym is DUI. A DUI simply means that the driver was in some way impaired when they got behind the wheel of a vehicle. This impairment could be due to drugs, alcohol, or both. DUI is a common shorthand and umbrella term meant to catch any impaired behavior while driving a vehicle.

Key Takeaways

  • DUI, DWI, and DUID are all various names for charges that equate to operating a vehicle while under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
  • DUID specifically stands for driving under the influence of drugs.
  • A DUI charge may be filed even if the substances allegedly influencing the driver are completely legal and were taken as recommended by a healthcare official.
  • If you have been charged with a DUI, DWI, or DUID, an experienced DUI attorney may be able to improve the outcome of your case by leveraging experience and expert testimony.

DUI/DWI/DUID and Legal Charges

DUI, DWI, and DUID are serious charges but they each have different thresholds and accompanying penalties. The first meaningful division is a DWI versus a DUID charge.

A DWI is specifically related to alcohol levels while driving. If they are convicted, a defendant can face fines ranging from $500 to $2000, jail time for up to a year spent behind bars, as well as a black mark on the defendant’s driving record and the potential to have to take substance abuse classes. 

The type of evidence used to convict for DWI can include blood tests, urine analysis, roadside sobriety tests, and the testimony of the responding officer or any witnesses. While a defendant can refuse to submit to tests or force officers to get a warrant to gather some of this evidence, it can have drastic effects on the ability of the defendant to drive and the refusal to submit to testing can be used as evidence. While a first time DWI charge can be as minor as a misdemeanor, multiple offenses will intensify the responses and penalties and can escalate the charges from misdemeanors to felonies.

DUIDs are specifically related to drugs. These charges can be less straightforward in the evidentiary process since common devices like breathalyzers cannot currently detect illicit substances since the way that they have been designed is to detect alcohol.The evidence that will be used will include testimony from the arresting officer, any evidence of paraphernalia or substances recovered from any searches conducted on the person of the defendant or their vehicle, and any roadside sobriety testing conducted by the officer. 

One thing that can surprise some defendants is that a DUID charge can be brought against them even if the drug that was affecting them was prescribed by a medical professional. Whether the medication in question is medicinal marijuana, an antibiotic that causes drowsiness, or an antidepressant that causes brain fog. An officer could potentially press charges for any controlled or chemical substance that they believe has impaired the defendant’s ability to drive.

A DUI charge can be broadly applied depending on the state and may be used to prosecute someone under the influence of drugs, alcohol, or both. The evidence gathered in this process will therefore depend on the nature of the case being filed.

Bottom Line

If you have been charged with a DUI, DWI, or DUID, you may be facing serious consequences. Even without sending you to jail, a DUI charge can impact your ability to work, travel, or get coverage on your vehicle. The financial and lifestyle consequences can be severe. That’s why if you have been charged with a DUI, it is imperative that you contact a DUI attorney.

A DUI attorney can use their experience and skills to get you the best possible outcome to your case. A DUI attorney can cross-examine the arresting officer to find contradictions in their testimony, challenge the validity or reliability of evidence stacked against you, and produce expert witnesses to advocate on your behalf. DUI attorneys can devote their entire attention to your case and ensure that it receives the resources you deserve.

Ask a Lawyer

Ask your own question and get advice from expert attorneys
Ask Question

Featured DUI Law Lawyers

Issa Law, LLC

13 years in practice
Auto Accidents, Bicycle Accidents, Criminal Defense, DUI Law, Motorcycle Accidents
View Profile

Ianuario Law

16 years in practice
Auto Accidents, DUI Law, Medical Malpractice
View Profile

The Clardy Law Firm, P.A.

28 years in practice
Auto Accidents, DUI Law
View Profile

Law Office of Scott Herlihy

27 years in practice
Alimony, At-Fault Divorce, Child Custody, Child Support, Divorce & Family Law
View Profile

RYTELAW-Payman Bafekr, Esq.

1 years in practice
Auto Accidents, Bad Faith Insurance, Bicycle Accidents, Contract Law, Insurance Law
View Profile

Issa Law, LLC

13 years in practice
Auto Accidents, Bicycle Accidents, Criminal Defense, DUI Law, Motorcycle Accidents
View Profile


Are you looking for an attorney? Do you have questions about a legal case you are facing? Contact us now and we will put you in touch with a lawyer for free.
Attorney At Law is changing how clients connect with lawyers. By providing an innovative platform to lawyers who want to expand their practice’s reach, AAL is bringing law practices into the future.
6142 Innovation Way
Carlsbad, California 92009
Some of the content of this website may be considered attorney advertising under the rules of certain jurisdictions. The information on this website is for general information purposes only. Nothing on this site should be taken as legal advice for any individual case or situation. This information is not intended to create, and receipt or viewing does not constitute an attorney-client relationship.
crossmenuchevron-upchevron-down linkedin facebook pinterest youtube rss twitter instagram facebook-blank rss-blank linkedin-blank pinterest youtube twitter instagram