Texas DUI and DWI Differences
The terms driving while intoxicated (DWI) and driving under the influence (DUI) are often used as if they were the same thing. When it comes to Texas law, however, it is clear that they are different from each other. Of course, for those who have been charged with either crime, the need for a DUI/DWI attorney is the same.
When you are convicted of either DWI or DUI, it can result in serious issues, including the possibility of spending time in jail. Understanding the difference between DWI and DUI can help you to see clearly the need to act when either is charged against you.
DWI According to Texas Law
An individual who was operating a motor vehicle while intoxicated and in a public area can be charged under the Texas Penal Code section 49.04. They are guilty of DWI but it is the intoxicated portion that is often confusing. It is not only a matter of being impaired from drinking alcohol, it may also be an illegal drug, controlled substance or if you have been tested with a blood-alcohol concentration that is at least 0.08%.
DUI According to Texas Law
When it comes to DWI, there is not much room for misunderstanding the legal term. DUI, on the other hand, is a different type of charge. If you have a blood-alcohol level that is under the 0.08% legal limit, you may still be charged with driving under the influence in certain circumstances. This would include if a minor had alcohol in their system or if they were under the influence of an illegal drug. This follows under Texas Penal Code 106.041. When a minor has any alcohol in their system that is detectable by various testing systems and they are operating a motor vehicle, they can be charged with DUI.
The Difference Between DWI and the DUI Penalties
There is a difference in the penalties associated with these two different charges. In most cases, a DWI would be charged as a class B misdemeanor but if the blood-alcohol content was at least 0.15%, it would be a class A misdemeanor. A DUI charge, on the other hand, is a class C misdemeanor.
Other charges can be levied if the individual charged with either DUI or DWI was in an accident that led to another individual being injured. In that case, either a second or third-degree felony charge may be considered. This could carry a significant fine of as much as $10,000 and anywhere from 2-10 years in prison.
Steps to Take after Being Charged with DWI or DUI
In Texas, it is important to hire an attorney, regardless of whether the charge is DWI or DUI. You may find yourself in a lot of trouble without an attorney helping you. After you have been arrested and charged with either crime, the attorney can help you to answer specific questions that may help in your case. Those questions may include the following:
- Is it necessary for me to take a breathalyzer or field sobriety test?
- What if I did not take the test?
- If I had a blood-alcohol content under 0.08% can I be convicted?
- Can I plead not guilty?
- Can marijuana use lead to a DWI or DUI conviction?
- What are the differences between DWI and DUI?
- I wasn’t read Miranda rights, what rights do I have?
- How much does a lawyer cost?
- Should I represent myself?
- What are the possible penalties?
- How would a DUI attorney in Houston help?
It can be frightening when you are being charged with either DUI or DWI. You might be concerned about what would happen but when you hire a qualified attorney, you may be able to have the situation resolved in a favorable way. When you contact Butler Law Firm, you are using a qualified, skilled set of attorneys that have helped many people who were facing DUI/DWI charges. Call us for legal counsel you can trust.