New Hampshire DWI vs DUI Charges


Often people often are unsure what the difference between terms like DUI and DWI really is. Basically, they are both a variation of the same law. Depending on the state, driving a vehicle under the influence of drugs or alcohol is referred to by one of these terms. Drunk driving can also commonly be referred to as OUI. In fact, driving under the influence has many names including the following:

  • DUI – Short for driving under the influence, DUI is the most common term associated with drunk or drugged driving. States like California and Florida use the abbreviation DUI to describe their laws.
  • DWI – DWI stands for driving while impaired or driving while intoxicated. It is the second most common acronym for impaired driving and the one used to describe the laws in New Hampshire.
  • OUI – OUI, or operating under the influence, is the acronym used in Maine, Massachusetts and Rhode Island. It is the third most commonly used acronym for drunk driving.

The acronym used in a state is simply the placeholder for the law. What matters the most when it comes to a driving while impaired charges is what the state law specifies. For example, the DWI laws in New Hampshire are different from the DWI laws in New York State. Even though the acronym is the same, the actual laws depend on what is written in the state criminal code.

What is does DWI Mean?

Often the biggest difference between acronyms is the fact that DUI and DWI are short for driving under the influence and OUI is an acronym for operating a vehicle. Some feel that this mean that OUI laws are stricter because a person sitting behind the wheel of a vehicle without the engine running could be considered operating the vehicle. This may have been true at one point, but what really matters is what is written in the law. Under New Hampshire law RSA 265-A, the DWI law states that “No person shall drive or attempt to drive a vehicle upon any way or operate or attempt to operate an OHRV” while under the influence of drugs or alcohol.

According to this law, anyone who is inside of a vehicle and is under the influence could be charged with DWI. This definition includes driving a vehicle and anything that could be considered attempting to operate. New Hampshire's DWI laws also cover the operation of boats and off road vehicles.

Another misconception is that driving while intoxicated (DWI) is a different charge then driving under the influence (DUI). This most likely comes from the fact that most states can charge a person for drunk driving for having a BAC that is over the legal limit (called per se DWI) or for driving while their ability to operate a vehicle has been impaired by a substance.

Call a New Hampshire DWI Attorney

Call Russman Law right now to find out more about New Hampshire DWI charges and to speak to an experienced attorney. There is a lot that a DWI lawyer can do for you from building a strong defense to helping you get your license back as soon as possible. Call now to get started.