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Kevin O'Flaherty

In Illinois there is no distinction between a DUI, DWI and OWI.  Some states may use DWI (driving while intoxicated or driving while impaired) or OWI (Operating While Intoxicated), instead of DUI (driving under the influence), depending on the circumstances surrounding the arrest.  However, Illinois does not make this distinction, and only uses the term “Driving Under the Influence.”  

DWI Explained

In some states, DWI is a lesser offense relative to DUI.  However, your Illinois driver’s license will be suspended for a minimum of one year if you are convicted of a DUI or a “similar offense” in another state.  Even if the other state considers DWI to be a lesser offense, it will still be treated as a DUI for the purpose of your Illinois driver’s license.  

OWI Explained

Some states treat OWI as a greater offense than DUI or DWI.  However, Illinois does not make a distinction between OWI and DUI.  Like a DWI, a conviction for an OWI in another state will be treated in Illinois as a conviction for a “DUI or similar offense” and will carry a minimum penalty of a one-year suspension of your driver’s license.   

What is an Aggravated DWI?

An Aggravated DWI is when the circumstances surrounding the arrest warrant the charge to be upgraded from a misdemeanor to a felony, carrying harsher punishments. In Illinois, there are 11 aggravating factors that can make a DUI a felony. To learn more about Aggravated DUIs in Illinois please read our article on “What is a DUI with Aggravated Circumstances?”

Disclaimer: The information provided on this blog is intended for general informational purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice on any subject matter. This information is not intended to create, and receipt or viewing does not constitute an attorney-client relationship. Each individual's legal needs are unique, and these materials may not be applicable to your legal situation. Always seek the advice of a competent attorney with any questions you may have regarding a legal issue. Do not disregard professional legal advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this blog.


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