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Driving While Impaired (DWI)

Definition - What does Driving While Impaired (DWI) mean?

Driving while impaired (DWI) refers to the crime of driving or otherwise operating an automobile while being impaired due to the influence of alcohol or drugs. Driving while impaired is a criminal offense in all U.S. states and is classified as operating a motor vehicle while having a blood-alcohol concentration (BAC) by volume of 0.08 percent or higher. The law doesn't just apply to cars. A person can ride a bicycle and receive a DWI charge if they are stopped by law enforcement.

Some states use the term driving under the influence (DUI) and others use DWI. Both terms refer to the same crime.

Justipedia explains Driving While Impaired (DWI)

Because a significant number of all traffic accidents are caused by drunk drivers, it's illegal in all 50 states for an individual to drive, operate, or be in control of a motor vehicle while having a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) by volume of 0.08 or higher. Regardless of whether the driver appears to be impaired, having a BAC by volume of 0.08 or higher while driving is a crime that is referred to as driving while impaired (DWI). Some states also put minor charges under DWI on drivers whose BAC by volume is 0.05 percent or higher. For commercial drivers in the U.S., the BAC by volume limit is 0.04 percent.

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