What Is The Difference Between DUI and DWI?

Blischak Law August 28, 2023 Personal injury

Arizona is trying very hard to curb accidents and deaths due to operating a vehicle while under the influence of drugs and alcohol. This means the consequences are serious if you are caught driving while under the influence. 

If you find yourself facing DUI or DWI charges, you may be wondering what the difference is. In this article, we will provide a brief overview. If you continue to have questions, consult a DUI attorney in the Phoenix area. They can outline the charges and possible defenses for you and ensure your rights and freedom are protected.  

DUI and DWI In Phoenix

While similar, there are some main differences between driving under the influence (DUI) and driving while intoxicated (DWI) charges. Both are criminal charges that can result in stiff penalties since there are stern guidelines for sentencing. If convicted, a person’s future can be severely altered.

A driving under the influence (DUI) conviction in Arizona can mean that the driver was using alcohol or drugs and was under the influence. The blood alcohol content (BAC) does not have to be 0.08 or greater as it does in a DWI charge. Motorists can also be charged with a DUI if they are under the influence of marijuana or other drugs, be they prescription or illegal. 

Driving While Intoxicated (DWI)

In Arizona, if you are convicted of driving while intoxicated (DWI), your blood alcohol content (BAC) will demonstrate a higher level of alcohol in your body. This means you would have consumed the alcohol around two hours before driving. Law enforcement has certain standards that they must follow to collect this evidence.

Testing Blood Alcohol Content (BAC) in Arizona

In Arizona, there are certain methods for determining blood alcohol content that are standard. These methods are described below: 

  • Breathalyzer: A breath sample is taken by having the detained person blow into a breathalyzer machine. It will provide data on their blood alcohol content (BAC) levels. A DUI defense attorney will understand which of the facets of breathalyzer testing should be challenged.
  • Blood Sample: Blood sample testing is another, somewhat more precise way to test blood alcohol content (BAC). Though, your Phoenix DWI attorney can also construct strategies to challenge these results as well. 

Challenging the Results

Your DUI Lawyer in Arizona will help you to challenge any questionable results from a breathalyzer or a blood test. When challenging a breathalyzer test, a solid defense could be built on the following factors: 

  • Whether the device was properly calibrated
  • If maintenance logs were kept and maintenance was performed properly
  • The equipment was properly handled

Blood Test Results Can Be Challenged as Well

Blood tests can also be challenged when used in a DWI case. Your attorney might have your blood sample sent out to an independent lab for separate testing. The retested sample will then be compared to the state’s sample, and if errors are detected, the results may be challenged.

The person who performed the test may also be suspect. If so, their credentials may also be under scrutiny. How the blood was transported, stored and the way the blood was procured may all be reasons to have the results challenged.

Contact a Phoenix DUI Attorney Today

Aside from equipment issues, your attorney may also examine the arrest in detail to ensure your constitutional rights were not violated and that the tests were conducted properly and were not in violation of established protocol for BAC testing. Contact a Phoenix DWI attorney today with Blischak Law to determine the most effective strategy for fighting the charges against you.