Why do some people call drunk driving charges "DWI" and other a "DUI"? Are they the same, or not?

The terms "DWI and DUI" are often used interchangeably, but in Virginia, there is a significant difference between the terms "DWI and DUI". A DWI is a drunk driving charge in which the person charged has either blown a 0.08% Blood Alcohol Concentration (BAC), or higher, or has actually had their blood drawn by a specially trained technician and analyzed by Virginia's Division of Forensic Science, and is also 0.08% BAC, or higher. In Virginia, a 0.08% BAC, or higher, means the person is presumed to be legally intoxicated. For reference, a 0.00 % BAC means that there is no alcohol in their system whereas a 0.30% BAC means that the person is in immediate danger of alcohol poisoning, likely coma or death.

When a person refuses to take a breath test at the police station or a blood test at the station, or is involved in other Breath or Blood test failure scenarios, the person will be charged with both “DUI” and “Unreasonable Refusal” to take a breath or blood test. Therefore, a “DUI” technically means that there is no breath or blood test result that can be used against the person in court to prove drunk driving. Prosecutors believe that they can still prove the person guilty of “Drunk Driving” by the way the person looks, acts, walks (unsteady feet/stumbling), talks (slurred speech) and does on the roadside “Field Sobriety Tests”, etc.

Both a DWI and DUI carry the same penalties: class 1 Misdemeanor, Criminal Record with FBI, Homeland Security, NCIS, Immigration and are all filed with the Court and Police Departments nationally for the rest of their life; up to 1 year in jail; up to a $2,500.00 fine (or both); mandatory loss of driver’s license privilege; a mandatory “Ignition Interlock” device that must be paid for and have installed in your car for at least 6 months; mandatory Alcohol Safety Action Program classes; 6 negative demerit points on their DMV record; and obtaining high-risk/higher premium auto insurance for a significant period of time.