July 18th, 2012 | 1 Comment
With the arrest of NBA point guard and future Hall of Famer Jason Kidd for DWI, less than three days after inking a three-year deal with the New York Knicks worth $9.5 million, people all over the globe are scratching their heads (and other body parts) and asking the question: “What’s the difference between a DWI and a DUI—if any?”
DWI, or driving while intoxicated /impaired, and DUI, which stands for driving under the influence, would seem to be interchangeable, since someone who is intoxicated is under the influence and someone under the influence can be said to be intoxicated. In most states across the U.S., the terms are, in fact, interchangeable. In a few states, however, a DWI is considered a more serious offense, depending on whether the person has previous convictions or is a first-time offender. Another determining factor is whether bodily injury or death is incurred by drivers struck by the offending party’s vehicle. In this case, a charge of Felony DUI will be imposed.
DUI typically refers to anyone caught driving under the influence of alcohol, controlled substance, or any other substance that impairs a person’s ability to properly navigate a motor vehicle. While most states use this term, it is not uniform across the nation. In states like Massachusetts and Maine, OUI—operating under the influence—is the preferred term. Under Massachusetts general law, the official terminology used is “Operating Under the Influence of Intoxicating Liquor or with a Blood Alcohol Level of .08 or Greater.”
A person does not have to be drunk in order to be “under the influence.” The Massachusetts law states that “A person is under the influence of alcohol if he (she) has consumed enough alcohol to reduce his (her) ability to operate a motor vehicle safely,” to the point where the person has “decreased alertness, judgment, and ability to respond promptly.” If you’re not under the influence in Massachusetts—but you’re not exactly sober—then most likely you will be at risk of being charged with OWI: operating while intoxicated. From what I can tell, this means essentially the same thing as OUI, and the term OWI isn’t used much in Massachusetts.
In Iowa, however, OWI is the terminology of preference for chemically-induced reckless driving. The Iowa Department of Transportation states that OWI charges are merited if any of the following three criteria are met:
- Operating a motor vehicle while under the influence of an alcoholic beverage or other drug or a combination of such substances.
- While having an alcohol concentration of .08 or more.
- While having any amount of a controlled substance in one’s body.
There is one hitch to this law: you must engage in the aforementioned behavior in Iowa at the time of your arrest. If you cross over into Nebraska, your crime will be listed as either DUI or DWI. Whew!
Where DUI refers to driving under the influence of any mind-altering substance, DWI typically refers to driving under the influence of alcohol alone—at least in those states that differentiate between the two. Thus, one is under the influence of something regardless of the charge. Why DWI charges typically involve harsher penalties than DUIs is not exactly clear to me, but it may be that a broader charge nets a wider array of culprits, from the slightly-impaired to the barely conscious.
In Maine, it might be useful to acquaint yourself with another acronym of importance: the dreaded BAC. This refers to a person’s blood alcohol content, the determining factor in whether a person is guilty of committing an OUI offense. As with Massachusetts, a BAC of .08 or greater will land you in jail and a courthouse on DUI, DWI, OUI, or OWI charges. Most states use the .08 standard, as does federal law, though a few states cling to the .10 standard of yore (determined at a time when drunk driving was considered more reckless than potentially deadly).
Not content with removing hammered drivers from the roadways of America, states are also cracking down on people who ride their bicycles in public while sloshed or stoned (BUI) and even for walking under the influence (WUI). Where the latter offense is concerned, merely being intoxicated (eh-hem—under the influence) is not what is deemed criminal behavior as much as the behavior exhibited by the offending party. If inebriation is accompanied by disorderly conduct in a public place, expect to spend the night in jail.
And, if you’re black, you might be charged with DWB (driving while black). The punishment varies for this particular crime, though it’s reasonable to believe race played no role in Jason Kidd’s arrest. He did, after all, mow down several trees with his SUV after a night of festive revelry. The world tends to look blurry and undefined when viewed through watery, bloodshot eyes.
Bottom line: Jason Kidd—no kid at the age of 39—is too old to be acting this irresponsibly. Regardless of what you call it, Mr. Kidd is 100% guilty of being a fucking idiot.
- Griffith, Carson. Cunningham, Jennifer H. Paddock, Barry. Hutchinson, Bill. “Knicks point guard Jason Kidd busted for DWI in Southampton after crashing into utility pole.” NY Daily News. 16 July 2012. Web. 17 July 2012.
- Cozzone, Kelly. “Welcome to New York: Jason Kidd arrested for DUI.” Examiner.com. 17 July 2012. Web. 17 July 2012.
- “The difference between DUI, DWI, OUI and OWI.” California Jury Blog. 03 March 2010. Web. 17 June 2012.
- “OPERATING UNDER THE INFLUENCE OF INTOXICATING LIQUOR OR WITH A BLOOD ALCOHOL LEVEL OF .08% OR GREATER.” Mass.gov. Revised May 2011. Web. 17 July 2012.
- “Maine’s OUI Laws Explained.” Maine.gov. 2008. Web. 17 July 2012.
- Matthews, Daphne. “Not Driving Under the Influence.” Suite 101. 25 March 2011. Web. 17 July 2012.
- “Iowa OWI (operating while intoxicated).” Iowadot.gov. 2012. Web. 17 July 2012.
“NEBRASKA DRIVING UNDER THE INFLUENCE (DUI) LAW.” Nebraska.gov. Web. 17 July 2012.
Written by T4A Admin
Filed under: Featured, Life · Tags: alcohol, alcoholic beverage, BAC, Blood alcohol content, breaking the law, BUI, drinking, Drinking and Driving, driving, Driving under the influence, drunk, Drunk Driving, DUI, DWI, felony, Felony DUI, influence, intoxicating, Jason Kidd, liquor, Maine, Massachusetts, nba, Nebraska, New York Knicks, operating under the influence, OUI, OWI, states, substances
- Muffin on Details Emerge in Cleveland Kidnapping: Does Amanda Berry Suffer from Stockholm Syndrome?
- Maybe true on Was Bill W. Drugged into His Spiritual Awakening?
- Steamlite Discount Codes on E-Cigarettes: Are They Better For You Than the Real Deal?
- ecstasy addiction treatment on Ecstasy Therapy May Cure Post Traumatic Stress Disorder
- Jamie on God and Recovery