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Is there a difference between DUI and DWI charges?

While largely considered by most drivers to be one and the same, there is indeed a difference between DUI and DWI in Oklahoma. Both of these classifications are serious and to be avoided at all costs, but a DUI charge is actually the most severe of these two charges. Below is a brief breakdown of first a DWI and then the more serious DUI in Oklahoma.

In order to be charged with a DWI, it must be proven that the driver was operating a motor vehicle. Further, the driver must have been driving the vehicle on public roadways. It also must be proven that the driver was impaired due to an intoxicating substance. The blood alcohol concentration limit for the lesser charge of DWI is currently greater than 0.05 but less than 0.08. Possible penalties upon a DWI conviction include a 30-day loss of license, a fine of $100 to $500 and/or up to six months in jail.

For the greater charge of DUI, it must be proven that the driver was driving or in actual physical control of the motor vehicle. The driver must exhibit a BAC of 0.08 or more at the time of testing, which should be conducted within two hours of the initial arrest. Drivers can also be arrested on DUI charges if they test positive for controlled substances such as marijuana. Penalties for DUI are much more severe and can include greater fines and jail time as well as other serious penalties.

With so much on the line, it is imperative to act quickly following an arrest on drunk driving charges. Speaking with an attorney can help defendants find viable solutions for defending themselves. Often, this results in lesser charges, reduced penalties and even an outright dismissal in some cases.

Source: National College for DUI Defense, "Oklahoma State Delgates - DUI Laws," accessed Aug. 04, 2015

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