Salt Lake DUI vs. DWI: Your Ticket to No Jail Time, Minimum Penalties, and a Clean Record


While DUI (driving under the influence) and DWI (driving while impaired) are illegal acts in Utah, the difference is quite significant. In case of a Salt Lake DUI, you may be facing jail time. Most people, convicted of DUI, have to spend at least two days in jail. You may also receive a temporary suspension of your driving license, among other penalties. People convicted of DWI can avoid the mandatory license suspension and the brief jail term if you have the right representation in the court of law. You can also maintain a clean record.

Why Does DWI Even Exist?

We do not find it surprising at all that a large majority of vehicle owners in Utah look for the difference between Salt Lake DUI and DWI. All ambiguities aside, Utah holds Driving Under Influence as a criminal offense, while there is no charge for Driving While Impaired.

There is no semantic difference between the two, and the difference can seem pretty arbitrary to anyone without experience in criminal law. To date, no cops have ever charged someone with DWI. It is true for adults and minors alike, which makes many of our clients question its validity and purpose.

DWI is a smart bargaining chip that allows the defendant’s team to put together a better plea deal. It is pretty easy if it is your first offense. The prosecutor can let you plead guilty to Impaired Driving, and you get to leave with a minimal fine and no jail term. tells you all about the charges and the corresponding penalties.

How to Enter a Plea to Impaired Driving?

Usually, the defendant can plea to impaired driving in any of the two following circumstances:

  1. The defendant completes the probation period the court orders.
  2. The prosecutor agrees to the lesser charge of DWI, and the court finds it in favor of justice.

You should note that in case the defendant fails to complete the court-ordered probation period, the court has the full right to reinstate the DUI charges. In the second example, if the defendant pleads to the DWI charges, the court cannot restore the DUI Salt Lake City charges later on.

Why do You Need Professional Help to Plead a Salt Lake DWI?

Each prosecutor is different. Therefore, your impaired driving plea will depend on the prosecutor. If you are lucky, your prosecutor will agree to a DWI plea on all your first offenses. In that case, you will be able to save your license from suspension. If the state has suspended your license, the Driver License Division will restore the same after 90 days of the arrest, and before the 120 suspension is complete.

At Larsen, Larsen, Nash & Larsen, our experienced team of attorneys can always find ways to plead for a Salt Lake DUI or DWI, given a chance. They are familiar with the courts, and with 34 years of experience in criminal defense law, our team of attorneys always know what you need. We believe in productive negotiations and mediations to reach favorable settlements. You can reach out to Larsen, Larsen, Nash & Larsen for a private discussion and free consultation if you are facing a DUI charge at (801) 964-1200.