Last updated: April 2023

Explaining DUI and DWI Laws

No matter where you live, there are laws against drinking and driving with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.08 percent and above.

Driving under the influence (DUI), also driving while intoxicated (DWI), can cost you. License suspension and revocation usually follow a conviction for a DUI or DWI. In some cases, licenses can be taken away before a conviction, called the administrative license suspension, when a driver fails or refuses to take a blood, breath or urine test.

Administrative license suspension is allowed in 41 states and the District of Columbia. Some states will allow driving privileges to be restored if the driver has special hardships, but may only allow the driver to go to and from work, or require the driver to install a breathalyzer in the vehicle in order to drive.


In many states the term DUI and DWI mean the same thing: driving under the influence or while intoxicated. In other states, DWI is a more severe criminal charge depending on the driver's BAC and other circumstances taken into account.

Finding a lawyer

If arrested for a DUI or DWI, you want to get an attorney to represent you in court. The best place to start is searching online for local attorneys that specialize in DUIs and DWIs in your area. There are many lawyers to choose from, so make sure you get a free consultation from more than one.

When you meet with an attorney for a consultation, come prepared and ask as many questions as possible about your case. Research how long the attorney has worked on DUI and DWI cases and what the potential legal costs could be. Also ask the attorney about their success rate in past cases, who will actually be handling the case and how you will be informed about your case along the way.


Laws vary by state when it comes to fines for a DUI or DWI, but there are punishments in each state. Rest assured that a DUI or DWI criminal charge will cost you money, and will likely result in civil charges and fees from the DMV as well.

Fines for a DUI or DWI also vary by case. Fees can range from thousands of dollars to tens of thousands of dollars. The court takes into account: Whether it's the driver's first offense, or whether they have had one or more. The driver's blood alcohol content. Was the driver with underage passengers or was the driver underage? Were there accidents and injuries? Was the driver speeding or driving recklessly?

Effects of DUI/DWI on Car Insurance

If you’ve been convicted of a DUI or DWI, you have already spent a pretty penny getting back behind the wheel, but now you have to get insured.

After a DUI or DWI, you may be considered a “high risk” driver to many car insurance companies. They may not cover you or charge high prices to keep you covered with the minimum required car insurance. To get insured again, you will have to file an SR22 form with the state. This form tells the state that you have the minimum liability coverage or financial responsibility requirements.

If you have more questions about car insurance after a DUI or DWI, and Direct Auto Insurance, visit us at one of our Direct Auto locations, with request a quote online or call one of our agents at 1-877-GO-DIRECT (1-877-463-4732).

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