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What’s the Difference Between a DUI and a DWI?

handcuffs in front of a red and blue foggy backgroundIf law enforcement catches you driving with drugs or alcohol in your system that exceeds the legal limit, you may be charged with driving under the influence—also known as a DUI—or driving while intoxicated—also known as a DWI.

Learn the difference between these two charges so you can stay informed on the road.


Both a DUI and a DWI refer to the act of driving while under the influence of alcohol or drugs, at a level that is above the legal limit of 0.08% blood alcohol concentration (BAC). Many jurisdictions categorize these two charges as the same thing, but some do not. If you live in a jurisdiction that categorizes these two charges differently, a DUI is typically the lesser charge.

In California, any motorist with an active driver’s license may be pulled over if a police officer suspects impaired driving. If you are found operating your vehicle while under the influence of drugs including prescription drugs or marijuana, you may be charged with a DWI.

In either case, it’s in your best interest to contact an experienced DUI defense attorney if you have been charged with impaired driving. At the Law Offices of Virginia L. Landry, our team has represented clients across Orange County and surrounding areas since 1959, and we’re prepared to help you, too.

Our managing attorney, Virginia Landry, is one of five California attorneys who is board certified in DUI defense and she’s who you want on your side throughout this process. At our firm, each client receives the thoughtful and aggressive defense they need to contest their DUI charges.

Contact the Law Offices of Virginia L. Landry at (949) 537-2202 to learn how we can assist you.