A Beaumont resident has probably heard of driving under the influence and driving while intoxicated. While most people think these two terms are used interchangeably, in Texas, DUI and DWI have slightly different meanings.
A DWI is short for “driving while intoxicated”. In Texas, a person who is over the age of 21 and driving a vehicle with a blood or breath alcohol level of .08 or more or is under the influence of drugs can face DWI charges.
A DUI is short for “driving under the influence”. In Texas, a person who is under the age of 21 and has any alcohol in their system can be charged with a DUI. This is the only legal use of the term DUI in Texas. Texas has a zero policy code for underage drivers who have alcohol in their system which means they will be charged with a DUI regardless of their blood or breath alcohol content.
Consequences of a DUI or DWI
A DUI is an underage charge which is charged as a Class C misdemeanor. A conviction can bring a fine of up to $500, community service, license suspension and alcohol awareness education. A BAC of .08 or more can bring stiffer penalties, including jail time.
A DWI can bring jail time, fines of up to $2,000, license suspension of up to a year and an annual fee of $1,000 or $2,000 to retain a driver’s license for 3 years.
The State of Texas takes drunk driving seriously and aggressively prosecutes these crimes regardless of a driver’s age. If a person is facing a DUI or a DWI they may want to speak with a legal professional who is skilled in criminal defense.