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What Is the Difference Between OVI, DUI, DWI, and OMVI?

Driving while impaired refers to operating a motor vehicle while under the influence of alcohol. In the United States, being under the influence is defined as having a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of .08% or higher. However, DUI laws are enacted by states, so the terms used to describe impaired driving vary by state.

What Do OVI, DUI, DWI, OWI, & OMVI Mean?

There are several terms used to describe impaired driving. State law typically determines the term used. Common terms used for impaired driving include:

  • DUI – Driving Under the Influence
  • OVI – Operating a Vehicle Impaired
  • DWI – Driving While Intoxicated
  • OMVI – Operating a Motor Vehicle While Impaired 
  • OWI – Operating While Intoxicated/Impaired

DUID is also an impaired driving term. It means Driving Under the Influence of Drugs. Generally, California uses the term DUI to refer to alcohol-impaired driving and DUID for drugged driving. 

What Is California’s Law Regarding Drunk Driving?

California Vehicle Code §23152 is the primary DUI statute for the state. It makes it unlawful for anyone to operate a motor vehicle while under the influence of any alcoholic beverage. That is known as DUI felony in California, learn more here.

The statute also makes it unlawful to drive a motor vehicle with a BAC of .08% or higher. That offense is often referred to as per se DUI. The law presumes a person is too impaired to drive a vehicle safely when their BAC is above the legal limit.

However, CVC §23152 sets a lower legal limit for drivers operating a commercial motor vehicle or a vehicle with a passenger for hire (such as a taxi, limo, or rideshare driver). Therefore, the legal limit for CDL DUI and Driver for Hire DUI is .04% or higher.

California DUI trials follow the state’s law, which sets a zero tolerance for underage drivers (Underage DUI) and drivers on probation (Probation DUI). Additionally, it is illegal to drive a vehicle when addicted to the use of any drug or while under the influence of drugs (DUID).

Several other charges related to impaired driving include DUI Causing Injury or Death, driving under the influence with a minor passenger, excessive speed while intoxicated, and driving with a high BAC.

What Is the Difference Between Driving Under the Influence and Per Se DUI?

California’s implied consent law requires drivers to submit to a chemical test for BAC levels after a DUI arrest. If the driver refuses, the Department of Motor Vehicles administratively suspends their driver’s license for a test refusal. 

A person with a BAC of .08% or higher is deemed too drunk to drive a vehicle. However, that does not mean your BAC has to be over the legal limit to be arrested and convicted for drunk driving.

Driving under the influence means the amount of alcohol in your system impairs your driving abilities. Impairment means you cannot operate the vehicle with the same level of caution and care as a reasonably safe, sober person. 

Prosecutors charge individuals with DUI when their BAC is under the legal limit or when they refuse a chemical test. While it might be more challenging to prove DUI without a BAC test, it is possible with the testimony of the police officer and other evidence. 

What Are the Penalties for DUI in San Jose, CA?

The penalties for a DUI conviction can be severe. Even a first-time DUI conviction could result in jail time. The punishment for driving under the influence in San Jose includes:

  • County jail time or prison sentence
  • Three to five years of DUI probation 
  • Up to 30 months of DUI school 
  • Fines and assessments totaling thousands of dollars
  • Mandatory installation of an ignition interlock device 
  • Community service and other probation terms
  • Suspension or revocation of driving privileges

DUI convictions are priorable offenses in California. The punishments for a conviction increase with each subsequent DUI on your record. A DUI conviction counts against you for 10 years (indefinitely for felony DUI convictions).

How Can You Fight DUI Charges in San Jose?

The best way to avoid a criminal record is to hire an experienced San Jose DUI defense lawyer. A DUI lawyer analyzes the evidence against you and investigates the DUI arrest. One or more DUI defenses might help you beat drunk driving charges.

Potential DUI defenses include:

  • Challenging the chemical test results based on Title 17 violations
  • The police officers lacked probable cause for an arrest or traffic stop
  • The BAC level was caused by residual mouth alcohol or rising alcohol levels
  • A medical condition or environmental conditions caused poor performance on field sobriety tests 
  • The traffic stop was at an unlawful DUI checkpoint 
  • GERD, acid reflux, or another condition caused inaccurate breathalyzer results

Do not accept a DUI plea deal without legal advice. An attorney could help you negotiate better terms or fight to dismiss the charges. 

Contact Our DUI Law Firm of Ahmed & Sukaram, DUI and Criminal Defense Attorneys Today For Help.

For more information please contact our DUI law firm of Ahmed & Sukaram, DUI and Criminal Defense Attorneys at the nearest location for a free consultation.

Ahmed & Sukaram, DUI and Criminal Defense Attorneys – San Jose Office
1625 The Alameda, Suite 405, San Jose, CA 95126
(408) 217-8818

Ahmed & Sukaram, DUI and Criminal Defense Attorneys – Redwood City Office
600 Allerton St Suite 201G, Redwood City, CA 94063
(650) 299-0500

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