The Difference Between DUI and DWI

Orlando, Florida residents often wonder about the differences between a DUI and DWI charge. Although both terms are used to refer to a serious traffic and criminal offense, they mean slightly different things. DUI stands for “driving under the influence” while DWI stands for “driving while intoxicated.”

Different states generally use one term or the other in reference to someone who is driving while their faculties are impaired due to having alcohol, illegal or prescription medications in their system. In Florida, DUI is the standard term for driving under the influence of a substance. “DWI” is not legally used in this state; although in casual conversation, the terms are often used interchangeably.

What are the Laws Regarding DUI vs DWI?

All states in the United States have specific punishments for a DUI or DWI depending on which term the state utilizes in their DUI laws. Some states charge a person who is driving drunk or while on drugs with a DWI while states like Florida charge intoxicated drivers with a DUI.

The distinction in charges are often made based on the age, level of impairment and other circumstances. In addition, there is another term known as OUI or “operating under the influence” that is used by states that do not use DUI or DWI.

Generally, regardless of whether the charge is a DUI, DWI or OWI, the individual’s blood alcohol concentration (BAC) must be higher than the legal limit of 0.08. The defendant’s BAC along with other factors, such as past criminal history, will be considered when determining a sentence if the defendant is convicted of the charges. Additionally, those who test for an elevated BAC of 0.15 or higher face enhanced charges and penalties. Speak with a knowledgeable lawyer near you to discuss your Florida DUI charges before entering a plea.

DUI Charges in Florida

The penalties for a DUI in Florida are significant enough to impact a number of aspects of a person’s life, including:

  • Driving privileges
  • Housing opportunities
  • Education opportunities
  • Career opportunities

DUI charges are typically misdemeanor charges in Florida; however certain circumstances can lead to felony charges depending on the number of prior offenses, whether or not a person suffered severe bodily harm due to your drunk driving, or previous criminal history. Drivers from other states who get stopped in Florida for DUI can face very serious penalties. The following are all possible:

  • Jail time
  • Hefty fines
  • Probation
  • Community service
  • DUI school
  • License revocation
  • Ignition interlock device installation
  • Enrollment in an alcohol abuse program

If you face DUI charges in central Florida, you are urged to seek professional legal advice from a reputable Orlando DUI attorney immediately.

How an Orlando DUI Defense Attorney Can Help

Anyone who has been arrested on charges of a DUI in Orlando, Florida should immediately get in touch with a defense attorney who is skilled in the area of DUI. A lawyer will fight for the rights of their client and may come up with strong defenses that can either reduce the charges against them or even have them dropped altogether.

In addition, it’s important to avoid saying too much to the police after being arrested for a DUI. Speaking only when there is an attorney present is the wisest way to go. People have the right to avoid incriminating themselves and should always wait until they have received essential legal advice. You have the right to remain silent upon arrest and are advised to do so.

At The Umansky Law Firm, our team of DUI lawyers in central Florida hold over 100 years of combined criminal law experience. We have obtained favorable outcomes for many DUI cases. Call 407-228-3838 or contact us online for a free review of your DUI case.

Recent Criminal
Case Results

Grand Theft ($300-$5000)

Nolle Prosequi-Case Dropped

CT-Driving Under the Influence Car (M1)

Nolle Prosequi - Case Dropped

CT- Driving under the influence car

Nolle Prosequi - Case Dropped

Grand Theft Third Degree

Adjudicated Guilty; One day jail/one day time serve; Restitution fees; Court Cost

Petit Theft < 300

We negotiated an agreement that entailed the State dropping the charge after our client completed a Pre-Trial Diversion Program. The Charge was dropped via a Nolle Prosequi.

Unlawful Speeding

Withhold of Adjudication; No points on license; Paid fine and clerk cost; 8 hour aggressive driver class; 90 days to satisfy fine and class

Shoot/Throw Missile Into Dwell/Struct/Veh; Child Abuse; Criminal Mischief; Battery (Domestic Violence)

No Information Notice - Charges Dropped

Attach Tag/Lic Plate To Unassigned Vehicle (M2)

Nolle Prosequi - Case Dropped

DUI with Minor In Car or BAL of .20 or Higher

Pled No Contest, 1 Year Probation, 10 day Car Impound, Community Service

Motion to Modify Probation

Motion Granted in 48 hours

Petit Theft

Adjudication Withheld, 4 Months probation, Costs/Fines, Impulse Control Class

Petit Theft of $100 or MORE (M1)

Nolle Prosequi

Refuse To Submit To DUI Test (M1)

Case Dropped

Battery on Law Enforcement Officer (F3); Disorderly Conduct (M2)

Nolle Prosequi - Case Dropped


Charges Dropped

Scheme to Defraud(F3); Grand Theft(F3)

Motion to Terminate Probation Granted

Unlawful Speed


Failed to Yield at Intersection

Not Guilty

Leave Scene Of A Crash W/Property Damage (M2)

Case Dropped

Motion to Modify and Impose a Withhold of Adjudication


Attempted Burglary of a Conveyance

Charges dropped

Possession of Cannabis (less than 20 grams)

Charges dropped


Reduced to reckless driving

Possession of Alcohol Under the Age of 21

Charges dropped

Driving Under the Influence

Reduced to Reckless Driving

Violation of Probation

Case Dismissed

More Cases

Recent Personal
Injury Settlements


Scooter Accident


Car Accident


Car Accident


Government Liability Case


Back Injury

More Settlements