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DWI vs. DUI? What’s the difference?

What’s the difference between a DWI (Driving While Impaired or Driving While Intoxicated) and a DUI (Driving Under the Influence)?

Nothing. Each state has its own drunk driving statute, and each state calls it something different.

In North Carolina, the statute is N.C.G.S. 20-138.1 which defines the crime of Driving While Impaired. That’s why you’ll find that drunk driving is referred to as a DWI in North Carolina.

A standard DWI in North Carolina is a criminal charge that is a misdemeanor, but a habitual DWI – which applies to certain individuals who have been convicted of four DWIs in the previous 10 years – carries a much harsher penalty – which is the permanent revocation of a license, and at least 12 months (1 year) in prison.

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