DWI vs DUI – What’s the Difference in Louisiana?

Is a DWI or DUI the Same In All States?

It is easy to see the confusion around the difference between a DWI or DUI. Federal law does not establish a uniform definition for these offenses. It is up to each individual state to enact and define laws surrounding illegally operating a vehicle under the influence of drugs, alcohol, or combination of the two.

Some states designate differences between a DUI and DWI. For example, a DWI in Arkansas is classified as an adult with a blood-alcohol concentration (BAC) greater than 0.08. A DUI is classified as an individual below the age of 21 with a BAC between 0.02 and 0.08.

So What’s the Law in Louisiana?

Though you may hear DUI, DWI, and even OWI in Louisiana, there is no legal distinction between the three. According to Louisiana Code of Law section 14:98 – Operating a Vehicle While Intoxicated, the crime of operating a vehicle has occurred when someone operating any motor vehicle, aircraft, watercraft, vessel, or other means of conveyance meets any of the following conditions:

  • The operator is under the influence of alcoholic beverages
  • The operator’s blood alcohol concentration is greater than, or equal to, 0.08
  • The operator is under the influence of any controlled dangerous substance listed in Schedule I, II, III, IV, or V 
  • The operator is under the influence of a combination of alcohol and one or more drugs that are not controlled dangerous substances

What Do I Do if Charged with This Offense?

The most important thing to know surrounding a DWI/DUI/OWI is what to do if you or a loved one has been charged with this offense. Be on the lookout for our next post where we detail what immediate steps you should take if you find yourself pulled over for suspicion of operating a vehicle while intoxicated. 

And as always, give us a call or send us a message today for a free case assessment. We can help you or your loved one navigate this challenging and complicated time. We’re here to protect your rights.