What is the Difference Between a DUI and DWI in Texas?
While many people use the terms interchangeably, a DUI and DWI are two separate offenses in Texas
Under the Texas Penal Code, Driving Under the Influence (DUI) and Driving While Intoxicated (DWI) are separate and distinct charges. Both involve a person driving while impaired by drugs or alcohol. Also, if you face either of these charges, you are up against some severe potential penalties and lasting consequences. There are, however, some important distinctions to note about these two kinds of criminal charges.
Texas has a zero tolerance policy for minors, individuals under 21 years of age, consuming alcohol and then driving. This is why the DUI charge exists. A minor can be charged with a DUI if, when stopped by police, any amount of alcohol is found in his or her system. It does not matter if the minor’s blood alcohol content (BAC) is below the legal limit of .08. Any traceable amount of alcohol in the minor’s system is enough to land them with a DUI charge. While penalties for a DUI are less stringent than those for a DWI, they are still serious. Penalties for a first time DUI conviction may include:
- A fine up to $500
- 60 day driver’s license suspension
- Between 20 and 40 hours of community service
- Alcohol awareness classes
A DWI charge can apply when a person has been driving while intoxicated. Intoxicated means being physically or mentally impaired because of drugs or alcohol. If a Breathalyzer or blood tests show a driver has a .08 BAC or above, he or she can be charged with a DWI. It is important to note that a person under 21 years of age can also face a DWI charge if they are found operating a vehicle with this level of impairment.
A DWI is a Class B misdemeanor unless you have a BAC over .15 or you injured or killed another person when you were driving while intoxicated. In those kinds of circumstances, the charges could increase to a felony level offense. With a first time DWI offense, you face penalties that include:
- A fine up to $2,000
- Between 3 and 180 days in jail
- Loss of your driver’s license for up to a year
- Ignition interlock device in any vehicle you drive
Contact our skilled Fort Worth DWI lawyers today
Whether you face a DUI charge or a DWI charge, you need serious legal representation to help you fight. The consequences of a DUI or DWI conviction last well beyond the immediate penalties. A criminal record will follow you far into the future and in varying aspects of your life. Get experienced and skilled legal counsel by contacting the Law Office of Kyle Whitaker . We proudly serve those in Fort Worth and surrounding areas and fight to protect your freedom, your driver’s license and your future. Contact us today by calling (817) 332-7703 or contact us online.