Difference between DUI and DWI in Georgia

In many states, the terms “DUI” (driving under the influence) and “DWI” (driving while intoxicated) are used interchangeably. These terms and acronyms both refer to a person suspected to be driving while impaired by alcohol or drugs. Those facing drunk driving charges in the state of Georgia, often wonder:

  • Is there a difference between DUI and DWI?
  • Which of these terms apply to my unique situation?
  • What are the penalties or consequences of drunk driving convictions in Georgia?

Our team of experienced criminal defense attorneys, at the Law Offices of Harold J. Cronk, PC, has answers to your questions about drunk driving charges in Georgia. We represent clients in Savannah, Georgia, and the surrounding communities of Chatham County, Pooler, Tybee Island, Thunderbolt, Bloomingdale, Garden City, and Port Wentworth.

What’s the Difference Between DUI and DWI in Georgia?

In Georgia, the criminal charge is referred to as a DUI. However, since every state uses a different acronym for drunk driving (DUI, DWI, OWI, OVI, etc.), confusion as to their meanings is understandable. Here is a quick overview of terms and acronyms that are often used when facing drunk driving-related charges:

  • DUI: Driving under the influence
  • DWI: Driving while intoxicated
  • OUI: Operating while under the influence
  • OVI: Operating a vehicle while intoxicated
  • OWI: Operating while intoxicated or operating while impaired

What You Need to Know about Georgia DUI Laws

Georgia has a zero-tolerance policy against drunk driving. It is illegal for any driver, regardless of their age, to operate a motor vehicle while having blood alcohol content (BAC) percentages of:

  • 0.02% or higher, when below 21 years old.
  • 0.04% or higher, when operating commercial vehicles.
  • 0.08% or higher, when older than 21 years old, and operating regular passenger vehicles.

Mistakes Made By Arresting Officers

Fortunately, not all DUI arrests lead to a conviction. Police officers can make procedural mistakes that can affect the outcome of the case. Common mistakes made during a DUI arrest or investigation include:

  • Invalid investigatory stop. The officer must have “reasonable suspicion” before they can stop your vehicle.
  • An off-duty police officer making a stop when not in uniform or marked vehicle.
  • Improperly administering field sobriety tests.
  • Improperly administering a chemical breath test.
  • Displaying a hostile attitude towards the suspect. Such behavior is unprofessional and shameful to the criminal justice system.
  • Failing to videotape the police procedures.
  • Being unfair or lacking objectivity. Some police officers find it difficult to admit that the suspect passed all tests administered.
  • Destroying field notes.
  • Failing to document properly.
  • Being insensitive to the defendant’s rights.

Possible Defenses to Strengthen Your Case

If you have been arrested for a drunk driving offense in Georgia, there are several possible DUI defenses that may strengthen your case including:

  • Challenging the traffic stop.
  • Challenging “reasonable suspicion” to stop your vehicle.
  • Challenging evidence that you were operating a motor vehicle.
  • Challenging the “probable cause” of your arrest.
  • Challenging the field sobriety tests.
  • Challenging the chemical breath test.
  • Challenging the illegal stop and search of your vehicle.
  • Challenging the Implied Consent Notice.
  • Challenging the urine and blood test.

An experienced attorney can review your case and help you determine your best defense strategy.

What Is the DUI Lawyers’ Role in Protecting Your Rights?

In 2018, there were 308.7 DUI-related arrests per 100,000 people in Georgia. If convicted of a DUI offense in the state, potential penalties include fines, jail time, license revocation, community service, and a lifetime criminal record.

Likewise, there will be long-term adverse consequences that may damage your quality of life and professional future. Immediately retaining an aggressive criminal defense attorney to protect your rights and driving privileges is your best defense.

A knowledgeable DUI lawyer can investigate all the details of your case and fight vigorously to get the charges against you reduced or dropped completely. Our team at the Law Offices of Harold J. Cronk, PC, can determine the most effective strategy and help you pursue the best outcome possible in your case.

Your Savannah Area DUI Defense Team

At the Law Offices of Harold J. Cronk, PC, we have over 35 years of combined experience in representing clients in their drunk driving charges. If you’ve been arrested and charged for drunk driving in Savannah, Tybee Island, Pooler, Thunderbolt, Bloomingdale, Garden City, or Port Wentworth, Georgia, we are here to help you. Call us today to schedule a free case evaluation and to speak with our team of DUI defense attorneys.


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