If you’ve been charged with a DWI, you might assume that it’s the same crime as a DUI. While the terms might seem to be used interchangeably, they actually have different legal meanings and consequences. Driving under the influence is a serious crime, no matter what it’s called, and the penalties can be severe. Read on to learn the differences between being charged with a DUI and DWI in Angleton, TX.
DUI vs. DWI
DUI stands for “driving under the influence,” while DWI stands for “driving while impaired.” Even if your blood alcohol content (BAC) is under the legal limit, you risk a DWI when you drive with any level of alcohol in your system.
Texas DUIs are part of the Traffic Code. They’re only given to people under the age of 21. A minor can be charged with a DUI if they have any alcohol in their system, up to 0.08, which is the legal limit.
In contrast, DWIs are charged under the Texas Penal Code, which makes them a far more serious offense. Being charged with a DWI comes with the possibility of jail time and other severe consequences. You may be charged with a DWI if you’re found driving with a BAC over 0.08, or are obviously impaired while driving.
Consequences for a DUI
Since DUIs are charged under the Traffic Code, they do not carry the possibility of jail time. Instead, minors may receive a fine of up to $500, a suspended license for up to 60 days, up to 40 hours of mandatory community service and a requirement to take alcohol awareness classes. Although all of these penalties are inconveniences, they’re designed to make minors think twice before illegally consuming alcohol and then getting behind the wheel.
Consequences for a DWI
DWI consequences are severe, and get worse if you have a minor in your car or have been previously convicted:
- First offense: You may lose your driver’s license for up to a year, serve up to 180 days in jail (with a three-day mandatory minimum) and pay a fine of up to $2,000.
- Second offense: If you’ve already been convicted of a DWI in the past, your second offense can net up to two years without a driver’s license, $4,000 in fines and one month to a year in jail.
- Third offense: Third and subsequent offenses are especially serious. Expect to pay up to $10,000 in fines, spend up to 10 years in jail and lose your license for up to two years.
- DWI with a minor in the car: If you’re convicted of a DWI while a minor is in the car, you can be charged an additional $10,000, lose your license for an additional six months, be charged with child endangerment (if the minor is under 15) and be put in jail for up to two years.
The best way to avoid these consequences is to avoid DUIs and DWIs in Angleton, TX. If you’re arrested for a DWI, call Brazoria County Bail Bonds for assistance.