What is the difference between a DWI and a DWAI?

What is the difference between a DWI and a DWAI?

DWI stands for “driving while intoxicated.” DWAI stands for “driving while ability impaired” and is a traffic infraction, not a crime. Each offense carries a host of potential penalties, including jail time, fines, and temporary revocation of your license to drive. These penalties increase if you are convicted of either offense more than once within a period of 10 years. For example, the first conviction of DWI is a misdemeanor punishable by up to 1 year in jail. The second conviction is a felony punishable by up to 4 years in prison.

You may be charged with DWAI if your ability to drive is impaired to any extent by the consumption of alcohol and your blood alcohol content (BAC) is between 0.05 and 0.08. You may be charged with DWI if your BAC is 0.08 or higher, regardless of any impairment in your ability to drive.

Call us today for a free initial consultation
Suffolk 631-204-8254 — Manhattan 212-233-4141 — Nassau 516-206-2002
Toll free 888-315-9841


The attorneys at our firm understand what's at stake for our clients, and we have the proven capacity to shield those accused from the worst consequences of the criminal justice system.