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What are the legal distinctions between a DWI and a DUI in Texas?

On Behalf of | May 16, 2024 | Criminal Defense

When people talk about drunk driving offenses, the details can be very different from one state to another. Every state has a slightly different law and therefore different terms that apply to drunk driving cases.

In many states, drunk driving allegations lead to driving under the influence (DUI) charges. However, in Texas, a majority of the impaired driving cases heard by the criminal courts involved driving while intoxicated (DWI) offenses.

What differentiates a DUI from a DWI in Texas?

DUIs involve underage motorists

Many Texas DUI cases specifically involve underage drivers. It is illegal for those who are not yet 21 years of age to operate a motor vehicle with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.02% or higher. That is a quarter of the legal limit for adults. Teenagers – and adults between the ages of 18-20 – who are accused of being over the limit based on their age might face DUI charges. DUI charges are less severe than DWI infractions and carry less significant penalties. However, that doesn’t mean that these charges shouldn’t be taken seriously.

DWIs involve elevated BACs

Some people accused of DWI offenses in Texas face charges solely because of their BACs. It is illegal to drive after someone’s BAC reaches 0.08% regardless of whether there is evidence of diminished driving capabilities. DWI charges are also common scenarios where adults over the age of 21 demonstrate significantly reduced ability or cause crashes while their BAC is over the legal limit. DWI charges tend to result in more serious penalties but are often misdemeanor offenses. Some DWI scenarios might lead to felony prosecution if there was a minor in the vehicle, if someone got hurt or if the driver has multiple prior offenses on their record.

Both DUIs and DWIs can affect someone’s employment prospects and their finances. The situation leading to someone’s arrest and their prior record can influence exactly what penalties and charges they face. Learning more about impaired driving laws in Texas it’s crucial for those facing drunk driving charges. Motorists familiar with state laws may find it easier to comply with them or to respond to criminal charges if they are charged with wrongdoing.

Ramos & Del Cueto, can provide experienced and dedicated assistance if you find yourself in need of help. Call 210-761-6004 or use the form below to contact our firm immediately.