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What Does DUI Mean | DUI Stands For?


By: William C. (Bubba) Head, Who Was Named 17 Straight Years to Super Lawyers and One of Georgia’s Four Board-Certified Attorneys in Georgia.  What does DUI mean? Bubba Head provides a complete guide about the definition of DUI.

DUI Acronyms: What Does DUI Mean in the Various States?

If you’ve been charged with a DUI, it’s important to know the consequences, the penalties, & how to handle it. Over ten different abbreviations for impaired driving or driving under the influence exist across our 50 states and Washington, D.C. Georgia’s abbreviation is DUI, but neighboring North Carolina uses DWI. So, what does DUI mean? Little distinction between a DUI and DWI charge can be found. The acronym abbreviation in Maine, Rhode Island, and Massachusetts is OUI and the Badger State, Wisconsin, follows Indiana in calling its law operating while intoxicated, or OWI.

A couple of jurisdictions have a total one-of-a-kind acronym. The unique DUI acronym in Oregon adds the second “I” for “intoxicants.” Wyoming uses DWUI, and no other state has that abbreviation. California attorneys refer to DUI charges as a “deuce.”

Two jurisdictions have a lesser crime known as DWAI. New York and Colorado offer this less punitive criminal offense for driving under the influence of alcohol. Reductions are most common for drivers who have submitted to an implied consent test and have a blood alcohol concentration under the legal limit, but still not at zero.

Expect to hear the use of “OUI” in RI, MA, and ME, but Ohio opts to call its statute OVI. To determine which abbreviation to use, refer to each state’s common usage of a state-specific acronym for drunk driving or drugged driving. Washington D.C. has separate statutes for both DUI and DWI.

Like other states when it comes to intoxicated motorists or impaired drivers, the Georgia DUI laws criminalize driving when affected by anything. If accused of driving while intoxicated, this can mean driving while stoned on drugs, driving while having any level of psychoactive marijuana metabolites (THC), or when affected by noxious vapors from gasoline, glue, aerosols, volatiles (like toluene).

Plus, similar inhalants that cause euphoria or get “high” can be tagged as the impairing substance. Recreational substances can be created in a lab. Georgia’s broad wording of comprehensive language from our Legislature is adaptable to expand answering the question, “what’s a DUI?”

Georgia law (in recent years) has been modified to cover synthetic substances (like “Molly”) or all types of chemicals or plant material that impair the driver’s CNS (central nervous system), so as to make the person a “less safe” DUI driver.

DUI Definition: What Does DUI Mean?

You must begin your effort to isolate a meaning for DUI, being aware that roughly a dozen different acronyms for driving drunk or stoned exist. In most states, DWI means driving while impaired, but in others, DWI stands for driving while intoxicated.

The ubiquitous acronym “DUI” is the most common acronym in the USA to describe the century-old criminal offense of impaired driving, whether from being under the influence of alcohol, marijuana or even prescribed drugs.


From around 1990 until 2007, every year brought news of over 1 million Americans being arrested for driving drunk or stoned by alcohol or drugs. By far, the crash risk for drunken driving from alcohol surpasses that of the drug-impaired cases combined. Yet, each year arresting officers are making a higher percentage of arrests annually for drivers under the influence of drugs.

All alcohol-related arrests typically have symptoms like slurred speech, unsteadiness while walking, and other well-known manifestations that a police officer can observe and capture on videotape. Plus, since 1984, law enforcement officers have had a set of field sobriety tests that have survived most legal challenges for scientific reliability.

Why Your State’s DUI Definition Is Similar to All Other States

Every state, however, has created tough legislation against driving stoned, drunk, or driving with a higher BAC level than state law allows. Police had to use blood tests to determine blood alcohol content back then since breath testing would not be invented for another two decades.

Starting in 1910, after a sharp increase in alcohol-related crashes, New Mexico and New York became the first two states in the United States to enact DUI-DWI alcohol laws. Later, states saw that both alcohol-impaired driving and drugged driving were problems.

Helpful Links About Our Other Two Award-Winning Georgia DUI Attorneys

Ex-police officer with 8 annual recognitions by Super Lawyers  Cory Yager

Larry Kohn, AVVO superstar with over 470 client reviews.

Links About Administrative License Suspension in Georgia

Implied Consent Statute: O.C.G.A. 40-5-55

Implied Consent Notice Wording: O.C.G.A. 40-5-67.1 Relating to Driver’s License Suspension or Revocation

Contact us online today or at 404-567-5515 to schedule an initial FREE attorney consultation.

Nolle Prosequi DUI information

National DUI-DWI Website for breakdown of the various states’ acronyms



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