OUI vs. DWI vs. DUI

     The name of the crime is operating under the influence of intoxicating liquor (OUI). Sometimes one hears the terms driving while intoxicated (DWI) or driving under the influence (DUI). Although people wonder what the differences are between these terms they really describe the same crime and are interchangeable. In all cases the Commonwealth has the burden (beyond a reasonable doubt) to prove: 1. That the defendant operated a motor vehicle; 2. That the defendant did so on a public way or a way on which the public has a right of access as invitee or licensee; 3. That while operating the vehicle, the defendant was under the influence of intoxicating liquor.

     This last requirement does not mean that the Commonwealth has to prove that the defendant actually drove in an unsafe manner. Rather the D.A. must prove that the defendant consumed enough alcohol to reduce his/her ability to operate a motor vehicle safely. See DistrictCourt Model Jury Instructions.