DUI vs. DWI? Is there a difference?

Chris Voltin Criminal Law, Traffic Law

What is the difference between DUI and DWI in Virginia? DUI vs. DWI?

As DUI Attorneys in Hampton Roads, we are often asked this question, but the answer is simple: there is no difference between a charge of DUI or DWI in Virginia.  The two mnemonics are synonyms and reference the exact same behavior prohibited under Virginia Code Section 18.2-266.  Under the Virginia law, it is unlawful to operate a motor vehicle while under the influence of alcohol, any narcotic drug, or any other self-administered intoxicant or drug of whatsoever nature.

What about a DUI-D?

Traffic Attorneys and DUI Attorneys

DUI vs. DWI: It doesn’t matter what you call it in Virginia, it is a serious charge.

DUI-D is a mnemonic commonly used by law enforcement and those in the legal profession to describe a DUI or DWI charge resulting from the use of illegal drugs instead of alcohol.  DUI-D cases are still DUI or DWI cases, but instead of the officer suspecting the driver of being under the influence of alcohol, the driver is likely being charged because the officer believes he or she is under the influence of a narcotic or drug.  Just like DUI and DWI, DUI-D is a mnemonic used to reference the behavior prohibited by the Virginia Code for operating a motor vehicle under the influence as set forth in 18.2-266.

Is a DUI attorney really necessary for a DUI, DWI, or DUI-D charge?

Absolutely!  The Court will not likely proceed on a DUI or DWI charge unless you have an attorney or waive your right to counsel.  Because DUI cases can be some of the most complex criminal cases, you should hire an attorney you can trust and one with experience handling DUI cases.  The attorneys of Goff Voltin, PLLC have tried numerous DUI charges in Newport News, Hampton, Williamsburg, James City County, York County, Isle of Wight, and many other jurisdictions in Hampton Roads.  Call us today to discuss your pending DUI charge.