DUI or DWI: Is There a Big Difference?

Posted by William H. Sherman on Aug 06, 2014 | 0 Comments

Question: I got arrested in Atlanta for DUI.  I'm a bartender and I know a lot of people.  I was talking with a regular at our Midtown Atlanta club and I think I have a legal defense or at least something that will help me.  The regular and I got to talking.  I told him that I got a DUI.  He said that in New York, where he's from, he had a DUI.  I told him I also got a DUI in New York.  It was something else we had in common.

I know that more than 1 DUI can cause problems here in Georgia.  Then we both realized that in New York it's not a DUI, it's called a DWI.  That could be a huge difference, we thought.  We're not lawyers and I only have a high school degree and my friend dropped out of school in 10th grade to do construction, but we think that could be a big difference.

Since New York calls it a DWI and Georgia calls it a DUI, will that mean the prosecution will just treat it like my first DUI (which, technically, it is)?  Is this a huge technicality?

Answer:Different states use different terms in their legislation to describe driving while impaired by alcohol and/or drugs.  Some common acronyms are DUI, DWI, OWI, OMVI, & DUII; and there are still others.  In Georgia (and elsewhere) prosecutors look for other DUI charges.  Generally, the more DUI charges an individual has, the greater the potential punishments.

If a prosecutor finds that you have another impaired driving charge, they will likely use that to enhance punishments.  That another state uses a different acronym than DUI will matter little.  We would be interested to know how old the prior DWI is.  If it is within, say, 5 years it will have greater weight than a DWI from 15 years ago.

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William H. Sherman

With a professional background that includes serving as a Senior Assistant County Attorney and as an Assistant Attorney General, attorney William H. Sherman has great experience, a broad range of legal knowledge and a proven record of success.  Each of Mr. Sherman's clients gets the full benefit of his experience.  Because attorney Sherman has worked for governmental organizations, large corporations and clerked for a judge, he has handled a wide variety of cases from negotiation and trial to successful appeal. Mr. Sherman is very proud of his reputation as a problem-solver who is always available to his clients.  Active in the community, Mr. Sherman and his wife, attorney Valerie Sherman, support many community organizations, sports teams and charities.  Call him now and let his experience work for you.

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