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Similar to several other states, Arkansas has two different classes of driving-under-the-influence crimes. You may know them by the familiar terms DWI and DUI.

In common speech, the two are generally interchangeable — you could use one or the other to get your point across. However, as explained by the Department of Finance and Administration, DUI and DWI are different in Arkansas courts.

What is DWI?

“DWI” is short for “driving while intoxicated”. Alcohol is the most common intoxicant, but various other substances could also qualify. Examples include illicit drugs, prescription pharmaceuticals and, in some cases, intoxicating over-the-counter medication. Most, if not all, of these substances should warn you not to drive on the package, but those warnings might be easy to miss.

What is DUI?

“DUI” stands for “driving under the influence”. The main differentiating factor for this charge is that it is for underage drinkers only. Therefore, unlike DWI, it typically only applies to alcohol — drugs have no age limit for consumption.

DUI also has lower limits for intoxication. Any underage driver who tests over .02 BAC could receive this charge. You would probably see other criminal charges accompanying this on an arrest report, such as illegal possession of alcohol.

What do you do after getting a DWI?

Arkansas takes DWI seriously in any situation. For example, there is a similar system for operating boats: BWI and BUI. Just the same as when you are out on the road, please do not challenge this charge on a boating or fishing trip — you might compromise your case by speaking with arresting officers.