The use of these two terms are practically interchangeable. However, the meaning of these two terms is not the same. DWI stands for ‘driving while intoxicated,’ and DUI means driving under the influence. However, in the state of Texas, there is a legal distinction between DUI and DWI. If you are charged with any of these two, you can hire one of the Austin criminal defense lawyers to represent you. However, it is good for you if you are aware of both DWI and DUI.
Texas Penal Code, Section 49.04 gives the legal definition of driving while intoxicated. If you are operating your motor vehicle in public and you are not mentally and/or physically capable due to alcohol, controlled substance or dangerous drug consumption, you can be charged with DWI. You should not have a blood alcohol concentration of 0.08 or more.
Operating a vehicle while being in the state of intoxication is driving while intoxicated in the state of Texas. However, DUI charges are different. You can be charged with driving under the influence even when you have a blood alcohol concentration of less than 0.08. According to the Section 106.401 of the Texas Penal Code, if you are a minor or you are found with any amount of alcohol or any other impairing or illegal agent within your physical system, you can be charged with DUI. If you are a minor driving in a public place with any detectable amount of alcohol, this is considered driving under the influence.
Difference between DUI and DWI Penalties
Driving with intoxication is Class B misdemeanors and driving under the influence is Class C misdemeanor. However, there is an exception for driving while intoxicated offenses. If your blood alcohol concentration is 0.15 or more, the case is now classified as a Class A misdemeanor. If you have caused bodily harm to some other person while driving while intoxicated, this might be a case of second- or third-degree level felony. In the state of Texas, a felony carries two to ten years of prison sentence with fines as high as ten grand.
What to do after a DWI or DUI arrest?
Whether you are arrested due to a DWI offense or DUI offense, you need to find a good criminal defense attorney to represent you. If you are dealing with these circumstances without hiring one of the reliable criminal defense lawyers in Austin, there are penalties waiting for you. And, these penalties can be more severe. You may not be able to handle some questions following an arrest for DWI or DUI. However, if there is a criminal defense attorney in your corner, you do not need to handle any of these questions. There is no legal obligation making it mandatory for you to answer the questions asked by the officer. You can also refuse a blood or breath test. You have the right to call your lawyer to deal with the situation on your behalf. However, make sure that you are relying on a knowledgeable lawyer.