What Does DWI Mean? DWI is the acronym which stands for Driving While Intoxicated. In some states and in California, it is known as DUI or Driving Under the Influence. An arrest for this can result in a person losing his license for a period of time and other punishments. Some DWI convictions result in jail time particularly if it is a driver’s second or third offense or if there were aggravating circumstances. People convicted for a DUI also have to pay heavy fines and may have to participate in an alcohol awareness program mandated by the court.