What is the Difference Between DWI and DUI in Louisiana?

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As experienced DWI attorneys in New Orleans, Louisiana, our team at Harmon, Smith & Vourvoulias often sees confusion within the state about drunken driving terminology. This is to be expected, as different states in the U.S. use different acronyms for the charge, even ones that border Louisiana.

In Louisiana, driving while intoxicated, or DWI, is the term used to describe impaired or drunken driving. Texas also uses the term DWI.

DUI is another acronym for impaired or drunken driving, standing for “driving under the influence.” Mississippi, for example, uses the term DUI.

Read on to learn from our team about both terms and what to do if you’re facing a DWI charge in Louisiana.

Is there a difference between DWI and DUI in Louisiana?

The exact definition of these terms can vary depending on the state or jurisdiction.

In some states, DWI and DUI are used interchangeably to refer to drunk or impaired driving, while in other states, the terms have different meanings. Generally speaking, DWI tends to refer to driving while under the influence of alcohol, while DUI can encompass any type of drug or substance that impairs a person’s ability to drive safely, including alcohol.

Arkansas is an example of a state that borders Louisiana and officially uses both terms.

What happens if I am arrested for a DWI in Louisiana?

Both DUI and DWI charges imply that the arresting officer has reason to believe that you are too impaired to continue driving. In some states, drivers can be charged with impaired driving even if they do not meet the BAC level for legal intoxication, if an officer still has reason to believe you are acting under the influence of alcohol or drugs.

For example, in Louisiana, police can still charge a driver with DWI if he or she suspects alcohol has been combined with other drugs, even if the driver’s BAC is only between .05 and .07.

What to do if you’re arrested for DWI in Louisiana

Here are some things to do after being arrested for DWI in Louisiana:

  1. Hire an experienced DWI attorney to represent you.
  2. Write down everything you can remember about the events leading up to your arrest.
  3. Gather any evidence that could help your case, such as witness statements, photographs, or video footage.
  4. Be cooperative with law enforcement officers, but do not volunteer any information beyond what is necessary.
  5. Refrain from discussing your case with anyone other than your attorney.
  6. Attend all scheduled court appearances and meetings with your attorney.
  7. Follow any court orders, such as attending substance abuse treatment or completing community service.
  8. Take steps to address any underlying issues that may have contributed to your DWI arrest, such as alcohol or drug addiction.
  9. Avoid getting behind the wheel of a vehicle if you have been drinking.

Contact Harmon, Smith & Vourvoulias Louisiana DWI Lawyers Today

As you can see, DWI law can be confusing. If you have been charged with a DWI, contact an experienced Louisiana DWI attorney right away for the help and guidance you need. Our lawyers at Harmon, Smith & Vourvoulias have years of experience with DWI defense and are here to help.

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Categorized as Blog, DUI, DWI

By George Vourvoulias

George is a founding member and managing member of Harmon, Smith & Vourvoulias L.L.C., a New Orleans law firm. George concentrates his practice in maritime personal injury, construction litigation, personal injury, workers' compensation, medical malpractice, and DUI defense. George Vourvoulias's Google+ Profile