In actual criminal defense practice in Nevada, an experienced DUI attorney will tell you that the only difference in DUI and DWI is in what the letters stand for. DWI is acronym for driving while impaired or intoxicated as against DUI which is acronym for driving under the influence. Both terms refer to operating a motor vehicle with diminished capacity as a consequence of ingesting alcohol, illegal or controlled substances or any other chemical which renders him incapable of driving safely.
Of course, other states have different opinions when it comes to DWI vs DUI. In Texas for instance, the term DUI refers to a minor who was caught drinking and driving. While an adult caught drunk driving would be charged with a DWI.
Some states on the other hand use DWI strictly for drunk driving and DUI for driving while being impaired with drugs or narcotics. Some states like New Jersey have a “zero tolerance policy” and do not recognize any difference between a DUI vs DWI. In some states, a DUI is considered a lesser charge than a DWI. In other states, it is the other way around. For a practical Las Vegas DUI Attorney, it does not matter whether DWI vs. DUI is the offense his client is being accused of. What counts is, knowing which specific Nevada law was allegedly violated by his client.
Nevada is governed by several DUI/DWI-related laws. Once you get pulled over for suspicion of DUI/DWI, you can be charged with any of the following: driving with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of .08 or higher, or a BAC of .02 if you are under 21or you are a commercial driver, which is a violation of an “illegal per se” law; driving impaired at any BAC level, which is a violation of an a distinct DUI/DWI law; and/or, refusing to submit to a chemical test, which is a violation of an “implied consent” law.
Consequently, if you have been arrested, you will face two separate processes. One is the criminal legal process where you go to court to enter a plea and answer to the charges against you. The other is the Department of Motor Vehicle (DMV) hearing, which is an administrative process, where it is determined whether you will lose your driver’s license or it would be in suspension. In this administrative process, if you have been given a breath test at the time of arrest, you have only 7 days from that date to request a hearing or your license will be suspended automatically. If you want to avoid being in the State’s DUI/DWI list of offenders, it may be in your best interest to get yourself a good Las Vegas DUI attorney to represent you and help you prepare for both criminal and administrative processes.
The laws of the State of Nevada make it a misdemeanor offense to operate any motor vehicle while either:
- Under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs to such an extent that renders one unable to safely drive a vehicle ( i.e., drunk driving, which in Nevada is generally preferred to be referred to as DUI rather than DWI); or
- Having a BAC of .08% or higher. The existence of designated levels of certain drugs such as marijuana or cocaine in the blood while driving, like having a BAC above the legal limit, also constitutes a per se offense.In Las Vegas, you can be charged with either or both drunk driving (DUI) and violation of a per se law. Better keep in touch with a skilled DUI Lawyer who can protect your rights.