DUI vs. DWI: What's the Difference?

DUI vs. DWI: What’s the Difference?

May 26, 2021

If you’ve been driving a while, you’ve probably heard of both DUIs and DWIs—but do you know the difference between them? DUI means “driving under the influence,” while DWI means “driving while intoxicated.” They’re often used interchangeably. Both will harm your driving record, but in Texas, one is significantly more serious than the other. Before you call a criminal defense attorney in Lubbock, TX, read on to find out what you can expect from these charges.

DUI

A DUI is charged under the Texas Traffic Code. If you’ve been charged with a DUI, you must be under the age of 21 and driving with any amount of alcohol in your bloodstream, including a level under the legal limit (0.08). This is a relatively minor offense compared to a DWI, but it can still wreak havoc on your driving record, employment and finances. Texas has a zero-tolerance alcohol and driving policy.

If you’re charged with a DUI, you may pay up to $500 in fines, perform 40 hours of community service and suffer a mandatory 60-day license suspension. The judge may also assign you to take mandatory alcohol awareness classes.

Should you be charged with a DUI in Texas, count your blessings: it could be a lot worse. On the other hand, if you’re caught driving drunk as a minor (that is, with a blood alcohol content of 0.08 or higher), you can also be charged with DWI at the same time. This carries much harsher penalties than a DUI, since it is a higher-level criminal charge.

DWI

If you’re charged with a DWI, that means law enforcement believed you to be intoxicated while driving. This could be alcohol or drugs—either way, you were too impaired to be operating a motor vehicle.

DWIs are governed under the Texas Penal Code instead of the Texas Traffic Code. They start out as Class B misdemeanors. If the driver has a blood alcohol content of 0.15 or above, it could be a Class A misdemeanor—and if the driver injures another person while driving while intoxicated, they face second- or third-degree felony charges, jail time and fines up to $10,000. You will also face other penalties, such as suspension of your license.

As you can see, DWIs are incredibly serious charges—but you shouldn’t ignore DUI charges, either. If you’re arrested for DUI or DWI, it’s in your best interest to call an attorney as soon as possible. They’ll guide you through the process, including whether you need to take a blood test, how much (if anything) you should say to the police and what kind of charges you might face. Remember, it’s always wise to ask for an attorney as soon as an officer indicates they’re placing you under arrest.

If you’ve been charged with DUI or DWI, you’ll need a criminal defense attorney in Lubbock, TX. Call the Law Office of Rob Biggers for assistance—we’ll help you navigate this confusing time, starting with an initial consultation to discuss the specifics of your situation.

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