What’s The Difference Between DWI & DUI in Louisiana?

People are often confused about drunk-driving terminology in Louisiana-especially the acronyms.  There are states that use DUI and DWI while other states just use DUI as an acronym for a drunk driving charge. You will be charged for a DWI or a  DUI if you are arrested for driving while intoxicated in Louisiana and Texas. In Louisiana DWI and DUI is the same crime. Driving while intoxicated or DWI is the term used to describe impaired or drunken driving in Louisiana. But this video introduces you to the term OWI…

Typically Louisiana law actually describes this crime as OWI…Operating a vehicle While Intoxicated. Driving under the influence or DUI is used instead of DWI in Mississippi and some other states.  You can still be charged for impaired driving even if your BAC level is not over the required level in some states.  In Louisiana, an officer who has a reason to believe that you are acting under the influence can still arrest you. This usually happens when the officer suspects that you have combined alcohol with other drugs.

Operating a Vehicle While Intoxicated

Operating a vehicle while intoxicated also includes operation of aircraft, watercraft, vessel or other means of conveyance. It is considered a crime to operate a vehicle when:

  • You are under influence of alcoholic beverages
  • Your blood alcohol concentration is 0.08 or more
  • You are under the influence of a controlled substance listed under schedule I, II, III,IV  as set forth in La. R.S. 40:964
  • You are under the influence of a combination of alcohol and one or more drugs which are not controlled dangerous substances and which are legally obtainable with or without prescription
  • You are under the influence of one or more drugs which are not controlled dangerous substances and which are legally obtainable with or without prescription

The state will use the police officer’s report and drug test of your urine or blood as evidence that you used a legal or illegal substance. It will also be used to prove that that substance impaired your driving.

Consequences of DUI Convictions

Louisiana law requires driving licenses of  drivers that fail the blood concentration test to be suspended for 90 days. Your license may be suspended for 2 years if your BAC level is over .20 percent. You may also face steep fines and convictions may be added to your driving record. There are additional harsher penalties for people that re-offend.  Driving licenses of Drivers that refuse to submit to a BAC test can be suspended for one year.

But these consequences depend on the number of times you have been convicted for a DUI. A first and second offense is considered a misdemeanor but a third and subsequent offense is considered a felony. The higher the number of DUI offenses in your record the harsher the penalties you will get.

Each Word Means Different Things in Some States

There are states that use both terms to mean different things.  In some states, DWI means driving while intoxicated of alcohol , while DUI means driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol. Hire a resourceful attorney to study you case and advice you accordingly.