Every state has its own specific rules regarding impaired driving, and there are a handful of different terms and acronyms. Here in Texas, people can wind up charged with either a DUI or a DWI.
As someone potentially facing impairment-related driving charges or worried about a loved one facing charges, knowing the difference between these two specific offenses can give you a better idea of how to defend against impaired driving charges in court.
A DWI is the charge that most adults will face
If an officer stops someone and determines that they are under the influence of alcohol, the officer will then arrest the individual and initiate the process of charging them with a crime. The age of the person involved, as well as how much alcohol they have in their system, will influence the charges the state brings.
The criminal offense that adults with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of higher than 0.08% or those under the influence of drugs while driving is called driving while intoxicated (DWI).
A DUI or DUIA is an offense for those under the age of 21
It is legal for adults to drive with a little bit of alcohol in their system, provided that they are over the age of 21 and can therefore legally drink. The legal limit for someone’s BAC is 0.08% unless they are in control of a commercial vehicle, at which point it drops is 0.04%.
For those under the age of 21, it is possible to get charged with a (DUI) for driving under the influence with any amount of alcohol in their body. Even a BAC of 0.01% would be enough to face criminal charges. The offense minors often face is sometimes also known as DUIA or driving under the influence of alcohol.
Which of the two offenses is more serious?
As you can probably determine from the fact that one has a higher alcohol concentration cut off than the other, a DWI is the more serious offense. Depending on someone’s previous driving history, whether anyone got hurt, whether any property damage occurred and other factors, the consequences involved for the driver can range from jail time and fines to a suspension of their license. Both charges warrant careful evaluation and a criminal defense strategy.