man at the wheel drinking and driving

What’s the Difference Between a DUI and a DWI?

How Do DUIs and DWI Charges Differ in Minnesota?

Though the nature of a DUI and a DWI charge are similar, each state across the United States has its own definition of how each is charged and prosecuted. Keep reading to learn the difference between driving under the influence and a driving while impaired charge in Minnesota.

Driving Under the Influence: Explained

Also referred to as a DUI, there is no driving under the influence charge or statute in Minnesota. The term is typically used to describe a driver that operated a vehicle under the influence of either drugs or alcohol. While this phrase may be used to explain the condition of a driver, it is not a charge under Minnesota law.

Driving While Impaired: Explained

According to Minnesota state statute 169A.20 Subdivision 1, a driving while impaired (DWI) charge indicates that a person cannot drive or be in control of any motor vehicle when they:

  • Are under the influence of alcohol or a controlled substance
  • Are under the influence and have reasonable knowledge that the substance can cause impairment.
  • Have an alcohol concentration of 0.08 or more at the time of driving or measured within two hours of the time of operating a car or other motor vehicle.
  • Are driving a commercial motor vehicle and have an alcohol concentration of 0.04 or more at the time of driving or measured within two hours of the time of operating a motor vehicle.
  • Have any amount of a controlled substance in their system, or its metabolite (the byproduct of breaking down a drug in one’s body), other than marijuana or tetrahydrocannabinol.

DUI vs. DWI

A DWI charge indicates that a person is being charged with endangering themselves and/or others by driving while under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs. A DWI is sometimes called a DUI, but this term is only used to describe the condition of a driver, not a legal charge.

A police officer in the state of Minnesota needs Reasonable Articulable Suspicion (RAS) for pulling you over and charging you with a DWI. This measure is less than probable cause. First-time offenders for both charges are at risk of losing their license for up to a year, as well as other ramifications.

A DUI, DWI, or drunk driving all refer to:

  • Operating a motor vehicle while under the influence of alcohol or drugs (both recreational and prescription).
  • Having any amount of a controlled substance in your system.

St. Paul DWI Attorney

The punishments for a DWI charge may include incarceration, fines, driver's license suspension, and community service, among others. If you've been charged, you need the skilled and aggressive defense our St. Paul attorneys at Rogosheske, Rogosheske & Atkins, PLLC can provide. We explore every legal option and exhaust our resources to work toward a favorable outcome on your behalf. Contact us today to learn more.

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