Chelsey Tucker graduated with a Bachelor of History degree from Metropolitan State University in 2019. She now writes about insurance with her specialty being life insurance and has been quoted on Help Smart Phone and MEL Magazine.

Full Bio →

Written by

Dan Walker graduated with a BS in Administrative Management in 2005 and has been working in his family’s insurance agency, FCI Agency, for 15 years. He is licensed as an agent to write property and casualty insurance, including home, auto, umbrella, and dwelling fire insurance. He’s also been featured on sites like Reviews.com.

Full Bio →

Reviewed by Daniel Walker
Licensed Auto Insurance Agent

UPDATED: Dec 17, 2021

Advertiser Disclosure

It’s all about you. We want to help you make the right coverage choices.

Advertiser Disclosure: We strive to help you make confident insurance decisions. Comparison shopping should be easy. We are not affiliated with any one insurance provider and cannot guarantee quotes from any single provider.

Our insurance industry partnerships don’t influence our content. Our opinions are our own. To compare quotes from many different insurance providers please enter your ZIP code above to use the free quote tool. The more quotes you compare, the more chances to save.

Editorial Guidelines: We are a free online resource for anyone interested in learning more about auto insurance. Our goal is to be an objective, third-party resource for everything auto insurance related. We update our site regularly, and all content is reviewed by auto insurance experts.

The Lowdown

  • DWI stands for driving while intoxicated or impaired, while DUI stands for driving under the influence
  • Some states may use just one of the terms to categorize drivers under one classification. Other states may use both terms and charge people based on their blood alcohol concentration (BAC) level or the reason for impairment
  • Having a DWI or DUI on your driving record will increase your auto insurance rates

Driving while you’re drinking alcohol or using drugs is extremely dangerous and can cause fatal accidents. You can also face harsh consequences, such as fines, time in jail, or having your driving license suspended or revoked.

Keep reading to learn the difference between the DWI vs. DUI meaning, and how the states use the terms to charge drivers and set penalties.

If you’re searching for auto insurance after a DUI, enter your ZIP code into our free quote comparison tool below to get quotes from companies near you.

DWI vs. DUI: What’s the difference?

DWI and DUI are similar but not the same. DWI stands for driving while intoxicated or impaired, while DUI stands for driving under the influence. “Under the influence” typically refers to the use of alcohol or drugs, including prescription drugs or over-the-counter medications if they are causing impairment.

Some states also use OWI or OUI, which stands for “operating while intoxicated or impaired” and “operating under the influence”, respectively.

The specific definitions of DWI vs. DUI will depend on the state. Some states will only use one term for all charges, while others may use both. The consequences for each of these infractions may differ by state as well.

Compare Insurance Providers Rates to Save Up to 75%

 Secured with SHA-256 Encryption

State by State DWI vs. DUI Definitions

In many cases, states will charge a driver with a DUI if their blood-alcohol content (BAC) level is higher than 0.08%. If a driver’s BAC level is more than 0.15%, this could significantly increase the penalties. In addition to fines and mandatory jail time, the consequences for DWIs and DUIs are often license suspension, license revocation, and alcohol education or treatment.

Let’s take a look at the definitions and penalties for a variety of US states:

  • DWI vs. DUI Arkansas: Uses DUI and DWI terminology
    • First offense: Up to $1,000 fine, up to a year in jail, license suspended for six months, and alcohol treatment
    • Second offense: Up to $3,000 fine, up to a year in jail, license suspended for two years, and alcohol treatment
    • Third offense: Maximum penalty and considered a felony
  • DWI vs. DUI Colorado: Uses DUI terminology
    • First offense: Up to $1,000 fine, up to a year in jail, license suspended for nine months, community service, and points on your driving record
    • Second offense: Up to $1,500 fine, up to a year in jail, license suspended for one year, community service, and points on your driving record
    • Third offense: Up to $1,500 fine, up to a year in jail, license suspended for two years, community service, and points on your driving record
  • DWI vs. DUI Idaho: Uses DUI terminology
    • First offense: Minimum $1,000 fine, up to a year in jail, and license suspended for three months
    • Second offense: Minimum $2,000 fine, up to five years in jail, and license suspended for one year
    • Third offense: Up to $5,000 fine, up to 10 years in jail, and license suspended for up to five years
  • DWI vs. DUI Illinois: Uses DUI terminology
    • First offense: Up to $2,500 fine, up to a year in jail, license suspended for one year, and community service
    • Second offense: Up to $2,500 fine, up to a year in jail, license suspended for five years, and community service
    • Third offense: Up to $25,000 fine, up to seven years in jail, license suspended for ten years, and community service
  • DWI vs. DUI New York: Uses DUI terminology
    • First offense: Up to $2,500 fine, up to a year in jail, and license suspended for at least a year
    • Second offense: Up to $5,000 fine, up to four years in jail, and license suspended for at least 18 months
    • Third offense: Up to $10,000 fine, up to seven years in jail, and license suspended for at least 19 months
  • DWI vs. DUI North Carolina: Uses DUI and DWI terminology
    • All offenses are BAC level-based
  • DWI vs. DUI Virginia: Uses DUI and DWI terminology
    • First offense: Up to $2,500 fine, up to a year in jail, and license suspended for a year
    • Second offense: Up to $2,500 fine, up to a year in jail, and license suspended for three years
    • Third offense: Up to $2,500 fine, up to 180 days in jail, and license suspended indefinitely

All the states vary in their laws. The state may also have differing BAC level requirements, so even though most states consider a BAC of 0.08% as impaired, others may consider a BAC of 0.05% as impaired.

How does a DWI or DUI affect auto insurance rates?

In addition to the consequences listed above, you may also see an increase in your auto insurance rates. Let’s look at the average annual auto insurance rates after one DUI:

Average Annual Auto Insurance Rates with One DUI
CompanyAverage Annual Rates with Clean RecordAverage Annual Rates with 1 DUI
Allstate$3,819.90$6,260.73
American Family$2,693.61$4,330.24
Farmers$3,460.60$4,718.75
GEICO$2,145.96$4,875.87
Liberty Mutual$4,774.30$7,613.48
Nationwide$2,746.18$4,543.20
Progressive$3,393.09$3,969.65
State Farm$2,821.18$3,636.80
Travelers$3,447.69$5,741.40
USAA$1,933.68$3,506.03
Get Your Rates Quote Now

Compare RatesStart Now →

Compared to drivers with a clean record, drivers with at least one DUI could pay up to double the amount on auto insurance, depending on which auto insurance company they choose.

After a DUI, you will likely be labeled as a high-risk driver. Some high-risk drivers have to provide their state with an SR-22, which is a form that proves that the driver has the proper auto insurance. If you are required to have SR-22 insurance, your auto insurance rates may increase.

Enter your ZIP code into our free quote comparison tool below to find an auto insurance company for drivers with a DUI.

  1. https://www.forbes.com/advisor/car-insurance/dui-vs-dwi/