The Difference Between DUI & DWI Under Texas Law
DWI and DUI are terms that you’ve probably heard at some point. The base concepts of these terms might be easy to see, but your understanding of their similarities and differences of them may be lacking. DWI means “driving while intoxicated”, while DUI means “driving under the influence”.When an intoxicated person operates a vehicle in public, it is considered a DWI and a DUI in Texas. Due to drug or alcohol use, a person wouldn’t be able to operate a vehicle with all of their physical or mental capabilities intact. While in Texas, the legal definition for this is “DWI”, the crime is also referred to as “DUI”.
When a person either has taken drugs or has a breath or blood alcohol concentration level that is .08 or higher and is 21 years old or older, they can be given a DWI if they’re caught illegally operating a vehicle while in an intoxicated state.
The DUI charge is given to anyone who is pulled over, has alcohol in their system, and is younger than 21 years old in Texas. According to Texas law, this is the only way this term is legally used.
The Zero Tolerance Policy In Texas
Whether a driver has alcohol impairment it does not make any difference if they are a minor. Anyone younger than 21 in Texas can’t legally drive with any amount of alcohol in their body. This is known as the zero-tolerance policy in Texas.
The DWI charge can still be given to someone younger than 21 if they’re found to have drugs in their system or have a BAC that is .08 or higher.
Is A DWI Worse Than A DUI?
The state a person is in usually determines which is worse between a DUI and a DWI. DWI is considered to be more serious in Texas. Texas Traffic Code only really gives the DUI charge to minors. It’s easier to be found guilty of having a DUI because it is given when any amount of alcohol is found in the system.
Since the Texas Penal Code is used for DWI charges, they are considered to be quite serious. Jail or prison time can be given with the charge of a DWI.
Neither charge should be brushed off as if they are nothing, but among the two, DWI charges are considered worse than DUI charges.
The DWI Penal Code In Texas
Section 49.04 of the Texas penal code tells what the legal definition of DWI and DUI charges actually are. The penalties are a major difference when it comes to DUI and DWI charges. A $2,000 fine or a jail sentence that can be as short as 3 days or as long as 180, the loss of a license for a year, and yearly fees for 3 years that can be from $1,000 to $2,000 can be given for the first time offense of a DWI.
Alcohol awareness classes, a 60-day license suspension, a $500 fine, and 20 to 40 community service hours can all be given to a minor that gets a charge. After that, the penalties for DUI and DWI become worse each time a person gets charged.