It is likely that you are familiar with the terms DWI and DUI. However, you may not actually understand how similar and how different the two terms really are. The obvious is what the terms stand for. DUI is short for driving under the influence and DWI is short for driving while intoxicated.
Many people believe that the two terms mean the same thing, but that is not the case. In Texas, a DUI and DWI both refer to when a person operates a motor vehicle while intoxicated. This means that the person does not have the physical or mental faculties to operate the vehicle due to the use of drugs or alcohol. In Texas, however, DWI is the legal definition when it comes to the crime itself.
Texas Criminal DWI Charges
If a person is 21 years old or over, he or she may be charged with a DWI when found operating a motor vehicle while intoxicated. This means that the person’s breath or blood alcohol concentration was at least 0.08% or higher or he or she was are impaired by drugs.
However, Texas laws state that if a person is under the age of 21 and is stopped with any alcohol in his or her system, then that person may be charged with a DUI, or a DUIA, which means Driving Under the Influence of Alcohol. This is the only term officially used legally as a DUI in Texas. Even if the underaged drinker has less than 0.08% BAC, Texas has a zero-tolerance policy when it comes to alcohol and those under the age of 21. It is also important to note that a person under 21 years of age can still be charged with a DWI if his or her blood or breath alcohol concentration was 0.08% or higher when driving under the influence of drugs.
What are the Penalties, and Which is Worse, a DUI or DWI?
In Texas, a DWI is the more serious crime and are charged under the Texas Penal Code. DUIs are only charged to minors and are handled under the Texas Traffic Code. However, neither should be taken lightly.
As far as penalties for the crimes, a first-time DWI offender can be sentenced to up to 180 days in jail and a fine up to $2,000. They may also lose their driver’s license for up to one year. A minor charged with a DUI may have their license suspended, receive 20 to 40 hours of community service, be required to attend an alcohol awareness class, and pay a fine up to $500. The penalties for both crimes increase for subsequent offenses.
Contact a Flower Mound DUI and DWI Attorney Today
If you are facing DUI or DWI charges in Texas, contact the attorneys at Abel Law Firm today. We have extensive experience with the laws surrounding DUIs and DWIs and will work to create the best possible defense for your charges. Having an experienced criminal defense attorney on your side can help you understand and protect your rights to achieve the best possible outcome for your charges. Contact us today to schedule a consultation.