DWI & DUI in The State of Texas
Texas clearly outlines two different charges associated with operating a motor vehicle while under the influence of alcohol or drugs: Driving While Intoxicated (DWI) and Driving Under the Influence (DUI). What primarily separates the two is simply a matter of age.
Driving Under the Influence
Texas has a zero tolerance policy for anyone caught under the legal drinking age operating a motor vehicle after consuming alcohol. Since it’s illegal for any individual under the age of 21 to drink, it stands to reason that it’s also illegal to be driving with any amount in his or her system. In Texas, if you are under 21 and caught with any detectable amount of alcohol regardless of whether you’re impaired or not, you will be charged with a DUI. An officer can request a breath test or simply issue a ticket if he or she smells alcohol on you. However, even if you’re under 21, you can still be charged with a DWI. The decision is left up to the arresting/citing officer.
Driving While Intoxicated
DWI is the more prevalent of the two as anyone, minor or adult, can be arrested for DWI if alcohol or drugs are involved. If you are found operating a motor vehicle with a blood alcohol content (BAC) of 0.08 or higher or displaying a loss of mental or physical faculties due to alcohol, drugs or a combination, then you are considered impaired, arrested, and charged with a DWI.
Repercussions of DUI and DWI
The main difference between the two charges is their punishments. A DUI is classified as a Class C misdemeanor and carries with it a license suspension of 60 days for the first offense, 90 days for the second and 180 days for the third. You can also be fined up to $500. A first-offense DWI is a Class B misdemeanor with a 90 day license suspension and up to a $2,000 fine. If your BAC is found to be 0.15 or higher, the punishments increase.
Whatever the case, whether you’ve been arrested for DUI or DWI, you need a qualified, seasoned defense attorney. We understand the differences in the charges, the processes, and the requirements, and will analyze your case to secure the best possible outcome for you.