In some states, the drunk driving laws differentiate between a DUI and a DWI, where the DUI is a lesser charge. In these states, a DUI usually signifies a lesser degree of intoxication, which is determined by a person's blood alcohol level at the time of arrest. Sometimes, states will allow the charges of a DWI to be reduced to a DUI with the help of a defense attorney.
In the case of a reduction from a DWI to a DUI , certain conditions typically must be met, such as the incident being a first offense, the defendant's display of remorse for the action, and a blood alcohol level that was not drastically over the legal limit. For example, New York State differentiates between DWI and DUI by establishing a blood alcohol level of .08 as the legal limit for DWI. If a person has a blood alcohol level of .07, the charges may be reduced to a DUI , which carries a lesser punishment.
Some states throughout the country have developed a zero tolerance policy, and consequently, they do not recognize any difference between a DUI and a DWI. As far as the laws of these states are concerned, any blood alcohol level over the specified limit is a crime that will be punished in the same manner. In some states, the terms DUI and DWI are used to indicate whether a person was driving impaired under the influence of drugs or alcohol. In this case, DUI is reserved for illegal drugs.