At Abal Law Firm, we have represented many clients in DWI and DUI cases. Sometimes our clients are not sure whether DUI and DWI charges are the same thing. DWI is short for Driving Under the Influence. DWI stands for Driving While Intoxicated. These are two different types of criminal charges. However, both of these charges criminalize driving a vehicle in public while intoxicated. The difference between DUI and DWI charges in Texas revolves around the driver’s age.
DUI Charges in Texas
It is illegal to drive a Texas vehicle with a blood-alcohol content (BAC) at or above .08%. It is also illegal to exhibit a lack of control over your physical or mental faculties while driving, as evidenced by struggling to walk straight or slurred speech. These rules apply regardless of the driver’s age. DUI charges are reserved for minors under the age of 17 who drive while intoxicated, but DUI charges can also be filed against people between the ages of 17 and 20, depending on the facts of the case.
DUIs are criminal offenses reserved for minors under the age of 17 who are caught driving while under the influence of alcohol. Under Texas law, people under the age of 21 can be charged with a DUI if they have any amount of alcohol in their system at all. For example, a 19-year-old driver with a .01% BAC can face a DUI charge, even though an adult with the same BAC would not be charged. Similarly, drivers with commercial vehicles cannot drive if their blood alcohol level is at or above .04%.
DWI Charges in Texas
DWI charges are typically reserved for adults over age 21. However, in some cases, minors between the age of 17 and 20 can be charged with DWIs. Under Texas law, a DUI occurs when a driver is operating a motor vehicle in a public place while:
Lacking normal mental and/or physical faculties due to consuming alcohol
Lacking normal mental and/or physical faculties due to consuming a controlled substance, such as prescriptions, illegal drugs, or over-the-counter medicines
Having a blood alcohol concentration of .08 percent or higher for any adult.
Having a .04% or higher BAC for commercial driver’s license (CDL) holders.
Drivers who are 21 years old can face DWI charges when the officer has probable cause to believe he or she falls into one of these categories. Police officers can obtain probable cause through a driver’s field sobriety test performance, breathalyzer results, or results from a drug recognition expert examination. Officers must find probable cause before making an arrest.
Contact a Flower Mound DUI/DWI Lawyer Today
If you have been charged with a DUI or DWI in Texas, we can help. At Abel Law Firm, We have a proven track record of successful outcomes when defending clients in DUI/DWI cases. Contact us today to schedule your initial consultation to learn how we can fight for your rights.