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What Is the Difference Between DWI and DUI?

Around one in three traffic deaths in the US involve a drunk driver.

man holding a beer and car key

In the state of Missouri, driving after drinking to the point of intoxication or taking other substances like drugs is against the law. If you are in an accident and are caught driving impaired, you can be charged with a DUI or a DWI – depending on how old you are and what your BAC (or blood alcohol content) level is. If a police officer has probable cause to suspect that you are intoxicated, they may subject you to taking a chemical test in the form of a blood, urine, or a breathalyzer test.

Due to “implied consent” laws, if you are issued a driver’s license and driving a car in Missouri, then you have agreed to having a BAC test if you are asked. It’s essentially a condition of getting your license, meaning it is illegal for you not to submit to a blood alcohol test; failure to comply can often result in much harsher consequences than if you failed the test to begin with.

What Is a DUI?

You can be charged with a DUI if you have a BAC concentration of more than 0.08. Often the BAC check is accompanied by a field sobriety test. It is possible to pass the field sobriety test and still be charged if your BAC level is over the legal limit. Field sobriety tests are conducted by the police – usually to show that you were impaired and to enhance the strength of their charges against you.

What Is a DWI?

Missouri has Zero Tolerance laws. They state that since it is illegal to drink alcohol if you are under 21, if you are found with any alcohol in your system in an accident, it is possible for you to be charged with driving while intoxicated. The major difference between a DUI and a DWI is that you only have to have a blood alcohol level of 0.02 or more to be legally charged. If you are not of legal age to drink and you have any alcohol in your system while driving and are tested, you are likely to be charged.

If you are under 21 and you have a BAC of more than 0.08, then you will be given a DUI instead of a DWI, regardless of your age. Having a BAC of over 0.08 will come with much more significant consequences if you are found guilty. With Missouri’s Zero Tolerance laws, one drink can put you in a whole lot of trouble and can come with some pretty devastating consequences.

Get Legal Help

If you or a loved one and have been injured in an accident caused by an individual who was driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol, you have a legal right to compensation. Contact an experienced attorney at The Hoffmann Law Firm, L.L.C. for FREE legal advice 24/7Call (314) 361-4242.

Updated: April 13, 2018