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DUI vs. DWI Cases in Florida: Your Complete Guide

By July 29, 2020February 2nd, 2024No Comments
dui vs. dwi

In America, 29 people die every day as a result of drunk driving, and 28% of all traffic accidents involve a drunk driver. Drunk driving is a serious crime in Florida and all other states. You may have come across two different terms referring to drunk driving, which are DUI and DWI. What do these terms mean, and how do you know which you were a victim of? In this short guide, we are going to look at DUI vs. DWI and help you understand the difference.

Don’t want to read the full blog? Watch the video.


DUI is short for driving under the influence, and it is the official terms used for drunk driving in Florida. DWI, on the other hand, stands for driving while intoxicated or sometimes, driving while impaired. What you need to understand, though, is that both are serious offenses that risk the lives of the driver and others.

They can also apply to recreational drugs or prescription drugs that impair driving and not just alcohol. In Florida, drivers face DUI charges if their blood-alcohol concentration (BAC) goes above the federal limit of 0.08 and 0.04 for commercial drivers.

Taking and testing a sample of blood will help determine a driver’s BAC. But, the police officer at the scene could also use a breathalyzer to test the alcohol concentration in the driver’s breath. If it surpasses the legal limit, then the driver will be placed under arrest.

If the driver’s blood alcohol concentration level hits .15 or above, they stand to face harsher charges. The driver may also face DUI or DWI charges for erratic driving DUI or DWI for erratic driving or failing a sobriety test, even if the BAC level is below the legal limit.

DUI Penalties in Florida

Once charged with DUI in Florida, the penalties are governed by several factors like the number of prior offenses by the driver.

How recent those offenses were, and the circumstances of the accident can also affect the penalties. You see, if the BAC level reaches or surpasses .15% or the DUI involves a minor, then it is considered an Aggravated DUI. The consequences are usually very severe.

Penalties for Refusing to Take the DUI Test

The implied consent law in Florida states that all drivers lawfully arrested for drunk driving should submit urine, blood, or breath tests. If the driver unlawfully refuses, they will face license revocation for one year. Second-offense refusals lead to 10-month revocations, while second-offense breath test refusals lead to first-degree misdemeanor charges.

Underage DUI in Florida

The age of the driver also determines DUI vs. DWI cases in Florida. Minors under the age of 21, for instance, should not have a BAC above 0.02%. Underage DUI violations are not considered as a criminal offense but still result in license suspensions and other possible requirements depending on the case.

If the underage driver refuses to take a DUI test, they are charged with a subsequent offense and suspended for a year to 18 months. Failing the test and having more than 0.02% BAC will also lead to suspension, and if it goes above 0.05%, they will have to undergo a DUI education program.

DUI Vs. DWI: What You Need to Know

After being injured in an accident involving a DUI or DWI in Florida, the next course of action should be hiring an attorney. Professional help is more important if you suffered serious injuries in the accident. If you need DUI legal assistance, give us a call, and we will guide you through it.