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What’s the difference between an OWI and a DUI?

On Behalf of | Mar 6, 2020 | OWI/DUI/DWI |

If you or someone you know has been charged with Operating a Vehicle While Intoxicated, you may wonder how this differs from a DUI. Is this a lesser crime or is it worse? Why are the names different? These are some of the many questions that may be racing through your head and with good reason. Your life as you know it or that of your loved one could change forever if this goes on the record.

The truth is that there is no real difference between an OWI and a DUI. IndyStar, a news company under the USA Today umbrella, reports that Indiana and some other states simply refer to a DUI as OWI. Both offenses refer to not just driving under the influence of alcohol but also drugs. For many unfortunate people taking medications, even prescription drugs used for a legitimate reason could land them in this unfortunate scenario.

There is, however, a slight difference in how states that refer to DUIs as OWIs handle the offense. States that issue DUIs typically require a driver to be driving the vehicle, but not always. In states, where OWI is the proper term, a driver may get arrested for operating the vehicle in any way, such as even sitting behind the wheel while the vehicle is running but not in motion. Some people even get OWIs for riding a horse or riding bicycles because the term does not specify “driving”.

What Indiana has in common with most DUI states is that it sets its BAC limit at 0.08. The offense is a misdemeanor and may lead to jail time and/or fines.

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