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Driving While Impaired (dwi)

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Definition - What does Driving While Impaired (dwi) mean?

DWI or driving while impaired is the second most common acronym used to describe the offense of operating a motorized vehicle while physically or mentally impaired by consuming alcohol, drugs or a combination of the two. Some states differentiate between the terms DUI and DWI and consider DWI (driving while impaired) to be a more serious offense; other states do not make this differentiation. Some states which previously referred to drunken driving as DWI have begun using the more common term DUI or driving under the influence.

It is illegal in all states to operate a motorized vehicle or drive while impaired with a blood alcohol concentration of 0.08% or higher. Operating a motorized vehicle can include not only a car but also boats, aircrafts, farm machinery and any other motorized vehicle.

Penalties for driving while impaired can vary by state but commonly include jail time, fines, DWI programs, and installation of Ignition Interlock Devices. Penalties can become increasingly severe in some states if the driver's BAC is over 0.15% due to the increased risk of accident and death for drivers with an extremely high BAC level.

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