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What’s the Difference Between DWI, DUI, and DUID in Virginia?

DWI means Driving While Intoxicated, and DUI means Driving Under the Influence. In some states, these terms may refer to different levels of offense, but there is no distinction between them in Virginia. Both terms are used interchangeably in the state’s drunk driving laws and are even mentioned in the statute.

Understanding the terms can be confusing, but knowing they are treated equally under Virginia law is essential. It is crucial to know which violation you have been charged with and how it can impact you if you have been arrested for a DUI or DWI.

Additionally, DUID stands for Driving Under the Influence of Drugs. Like DUI and DWI, a DUID is a serious charge and carries significant penalties. Seeking legal advice if you face any of these charges to understand your rights and options is essential.

Understanding DUI, DWI, and DUID in Virginia

While some states differentiate between DUI (Driving Under the Influence) and DWI (Driving While Intoxicated), Virginia treats them as one and the same offense. The penalties are similar, but the legal definitions differ slightly. Let’s look at how Virginia law defines these terms:

DWI: This is Driving While Intoxicated. It happens when you drive with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.08% or higher, indicating alcohol intoxication, even if you don’t show any signs of being drunk.

DUI: Driving Under the Influence of Alcohol. Unlike DWI, you can be charged with DUI even if your BAC is below 0.08%, as long as your ability to drive is impaired by alcohol.

DUID: Driving Under the Influence of Drugs. This occurs when you drive with certain drugs or a mix of drugs and alcohol in your system, surpassing specified blood concentration limits set by Virginia law.

For example:

  • Cocaine: .02 milligrams per liter of blood
  • Methamphetamine: .1 milligrams per liter of blood
  • Phencyclidine: .01 milligrams per liter of blood
  • 3,4-methylenedioxymethamphetamine: .1 milligrams per liter of blood

If your blood concentration exceeds these limits while driving, you could face criminal charges for DUID in Virginia.

Signs of Drug Intoxication While Driving

Different drugs produce distinct signs of intoxication. For instance, methamphetamine or cocaine might make a driver aggressive and reckless, while marijuana can slow reflexes and distort depth perception.

Benzodiazepines may induce dizziness or drowsiness. Combining drugs with alcohol can intensify their effects.

Even small amounts of drugs can impair a driver’s ability to operate a vehicle safely. Signs of drug intoxication while driving include erratic driving behaviors such as sudden starts and stops, delayed responses to traffic signals, wide turns, driving without headlights, or leaning close to the windshield while driving.

Other indicators of drug intoxication on the road can include:

  • Drifting between lanes.
  • Driving significantly below the speed limit.
  • Failing to maintain a consistent speed.

Drivers need to remain vigilant and report any suspected cases of drug-impaired driving to the authorities for the safety of all road users.

Penalties for driving while intoxicated DWI, DUI, and DUID in Virginia

The Code of Virginia 18.2-270 treats DWI, DUI, and DUID similarly in terms of penalties without distinguishing between them. However, specific penalties apply to drivers with high blood alcohol concentration (BAC) levels.

Virginia imposes the following penalties for most DWI, DUI, and DUID offenses:

  • First Offense:

Considered a Class 1 misdemeanor, punishable by fines up to $2,500 and up to one year in jail.

  • Second Offense within Ten Years:

Also considered a Class 1 misdemeanor, with the same punishments as the first offense. Plus a mandatory minimum fine of $500.

  • Third Offense within Ten Years:

Upgraded to a Class 6 felony, punishable by fines up to $2,500 and up to 60 months in jail.

  • Fourth Offense and Subsequent Offenses within Ten Years: 

Also, a Class 6 felony has the same penalties as the third offense, plus a mandatory minimum fine of $1,000 and a minimum one-year jail sentence.

Contact an Experienced Attorney

If you’re facing DWI, DUI, or DUID charges in Virginia, don’t hesitate to contact The Law Offices of Krum, Gergely, & Oates for help. Our skilled team of DUI  lawyers is here to help you get your charges dismissed or reduced to a less severe offense. Book a free, no-pressure first meeting with an attorney today by calling us at (703) 988-3711.