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What is the Difference Between DUI and DWI?

By Butler Prather LLP on January 24, 2022

If you go through various state laws throughout the US, you will see drunk driving charges referred to as either DUI (driving under the influence) or DWI (driving while impaired). On the surface, both of these phrases seem like they mean the same thing. However, both can have slightly different meanings. It is important to understand the difference between DUI and DWI as well as whether or not Georgia differentiates between the two.

What Does Georgia Call Intoxicated Driving?

The difference between the terms DUI and DWI is often semantic. Different states pass laws that, on the surface, seem different from neighboring states but are exactly alike. In some states, a DWI refers to “driving while intoxicated” and means the exact same thing as a DUI. In other cases, DWI means “driving while impaired” and is meant to expand the definition of impairment beyond alcohol and include illegal narcotics, prescription or OTC medications, or any other type of intoxicant.

In the state of Georgia, intoxicated driving charges are referred to as “driving under the influence” or DUI. Georgia does not differentiate between DUI and DWI. In this state, the term DUI encompasses both alcohol and drug intoxication behind the wheel. According to state law, a driver with a blood alcohol content (BAC) level of .08 percent or greater will automatically face a DUI charge. However, a driver can still face DUI charges even if they have a BAC lower than .08 percent if a law enforcement officer thinks a person is impaired.

In Georgia, driving under the influence is considered a misdemeanor offense. If a driver is convicted of DUI, they can lose their driving privileges, face significant fines, and even face jail time. However, if a driver causes an accident well under the influence, they could face felony charges, particularly if the incident resulted in a serious injury or a fatality.

What if You Are Injured Due to the Actions of an Impaired Driver?

If you or somebody you care about has sustained an injury or property damage caused by the actions of an intoxicated driver in Georgia, you may be able to recover compensation for your losses. Victims of Georgia DUI accidents will typically be able to recover compensation from the impaired driver’s insurance carrier. They may also be able to file a personal injury civil lawsuit against the alleged impaired driver. DUI accident victims may be able to recover various types of compensation, including coverage of the following:

  • Emergency medical expenses
  • All continued medical care
  • Physical therapy and rehabilitation
  • Medical devices and prescription medications
  • Vehicle repair or replacement expenses
  • Lost income
  • Out-of-pocket expenses
  • Pain and suffering damages

In the event an individual loses their life as a result of the actions of a drunk driver, the estate of the deceased may be able to recover wrongful death compensation on behalf of the surviving family members.

If you or a loved one has been injured as a result of a DUI accident, reach out to an Atlanta car accident attorney immediately. A skilled lawyer can investigate every aspect of your case, gather the evidence needed to prove liability, and help you recover maximum compensation for your losses.

Posted in: Car Accidents

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