Throughout the country, if law enforcement pulls you over on suspicion of driving under the influence, typically it is a DUI. However, in some states, the charge may be driving while intoxicated or DWI.
Texas is a state with both DUI and DWI charges. While both deal with driving under the influence, they lead to different charges and consequences. Here are the subtle nuances between these two offenses.
DUI – the charge and the consequence
If you go out drinking and a police officer pulls you over, he or she will ask you to submit to a breath or blood test to determine blood alcohol content. If the amount of alcohol in your system measures less than 0.08 percent, you may face a DUI charge. It also comes with a Class C misdemeanor that goes on your license and record. A minor found driving with any alcohol in their system receives a DUI charge.
The penalties for a DUI conviction include possible license suspension and fines.
DWI – the charge and consequence
You are at risk of a DWI charge if your BAC is 0.08 percent or higher. This charge also applies to drug offenses or anything that impairs your mental faculties. The conviction carries a Class B misdemeanor distinction that goes on your record. If your BAC is 0.15 percent or higher, you may receive a felony charge. Hurting someone while driving with this level of BAC may land you in prison.
If you receive a DWI conviction, you may face license suspension, climbing fees and a jail sentence. In some instances, a judge may require you to have an ignition interlock device on any vehicle you own. You must pay for the installation of this device, which requires you to give a breath sample to unlock the ignition so you can turn on the car and operate it.
While the differences may seem subtle, the penalties for DUI and DWI convictions have clear definitions and benchmarks. Knowing the law in Texas is important when it comes to dealing with charges by law enforcement.