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The Difference Between DUI and DWI in California

Technically, DUI means driving under the influence of some type drug. That can mean alcohol, prescriptions, or illegal drugs. DWI means simply driving while intoxicated, and in many states, refers to the use of alcohol. The use of the terms can be interchangeable but DWI usually refers more to the severity the drug has metabolized within the offending person's body. California DUI / DWI arrests trigger two separate cases: In court, and at the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV). Concerning the DMV case, time is of the essence in responding to the Department concerning the charges against you. Your driver's license will automatically be suspended if the accused does not request a DMV hearing before the 11th day after being accused. The criminal case filed against California DUI / DWI defendants consists of two different statutes: The first count, CVC section 23252 (a) focuses on whether the driver was under the influence of alcohol or drugs to the extent that they are "unable to drive their car with the same caution characteristic of a sober person, of ordinary prudence, under the same or similar circumstances." This is the legal standard for being considered under the influence of alcohol or "DUI" in California courts. The second count, known as the “per se” charge and CVC section 23252 (b), concentrates on whether the driver’s blood alcohol content (BAC) was .08 percent or greater. Whether the motorist seemed to be driving perfectly before the traffic stop or performed with textbook precision doesn’t matter with this count. It is a charge that is based purely on body chemistry. Convictions for first time defendants can include heavy fines, jail sentences, license suspension, vehicle impounded, ignition interlock device, DUI school, probation, and community service. According to the August 05, 2009 /24-7PressRelease/ -2009 Changes to California's DUI Laws, “Each year, the state's drunk driving laws get tougher and the punishments more severe. 2009 was no exception. The legislature passed a zero tolerance law for DUI offenders on probation, decreased the blood alcohol content (BAC) level needed to trigger the use of ignition interlock devices and made DUI programs mandatory for those on probation for a "wet reckless" driving charge.” The same clamp down effects every California driver whether you live in Los Angeles, Long Beach, San Jose, San Francisco, Sacramento, Oakland, San Diego, Fresno, Bakersfield, Stockton, or Orange County. Whatever term you refer to drinking and driving or drunk driving, states are clamping down on these type traffic violations. When you face these kinds of charges, it is no time to handle your case all by yourself. You may need an attorney to help protect your rights. Contact DUIAttorneyHome.com to help you get in contact with a DUI lawyer who can help you understand the subtle differences in the legal jargon of California law