DUI vs. DWI

When faced with a charge of drunk driving, it’s normal to have a lot of questions about what to expect. Getting clear, concise answers to these questions requires the assistance of an experienced criminal defense attorney. I am attorney Angela Arellanes. My firm Angela Arellanes Law has litigated on behalf of numerous clients throughout Albuquerque, many of whom faced charges of drunk driving.

In addition to providing an aggressive defense, I also ensure my clients have a good understanding of the law and the criminal proceedings that lay ahead. One essential area of clarification involves different drunk driving terms, such as DUI and DWI.

What’s the Difference Between DUI and DWI?

While there are some overlapping laws, drunk driving statutes vary greatly from state to state. Some state laws refer to DUI, or driving under the influence, while others use the term DWI, which means driving while intoxicated. In New Mexico, drunk driving is typically referred to as DWI, although both DUI and DWI refer to the same crime.

Which Factors Can Increase DUI/DWI Penalties?

The more prior drunk driving offenses you have on your record, the greater the penalties you’ll face. 2nd and subsequent offenses carry mandatory jail terms, increasing fines, and lengthy probation periods. License suspension periods also increase the more offenses you have. After your suspension ends, you’ll also be required to install an ignition interlock device on your vehicle for up to three years.

Increased penalties are also more likely the higher your blood alcohol content (BAC) is at the time of your arrest. People with a BAC of .16% or higher will be charged with aggravated DUI/DWI. You’ll also receive aggravated charges if you injure another person when drunk driving or refuse breathalyzer testing.

Why Do I Need an Attorney’s Assistance?

Police must have reasonable suspicion to stop someone under suspicion of drunk driving. They must also conduct chemical and field sobriety testing correctly to ensure accurate results are returned. If there are problems with the way your traffic stop and arrest were conducted, I can identify them and bring them to the attention of the court.

Even if your arrest was conducted according to the law, it may be possible to have the charges against you reduced. Many of my clients have been eligible for reduced charges, decreased sentencing, and even case dismissal when applicable.

The first step is to contact my firm to discuss your situation. Call  (505) 247-2417 to schedule a consultation today or contact me online to learn more about my qualifications.