Many people know that drunk driving is against the law, and it is also a very dangerous thing to do. However, not many people know that DUI is also known by the name of DWI. Furthermore, only a few of us know exactly what is the difference between DUI and DWI. We have gathered some useful information that might help you clear this subject out.
The Difference Between DUI and DWI
The first thing that comes to mind when thinking about the difference between DUI and DWI is the name. One means driving under the influence, while the other translates by driving while impaired. However, they both mean quite the same thing, regarding the law. Moreover, whether you are charged with DUI or DWI, you will probably be obliged to submit to certain tests such as BAC measurement.
However, some states consider DWI worse than DUI. This means that if you have a very high alcohol concentration in your blood, you will probably receive a DWI charge. Some locations within the United States have a policy of zero tolerance for driving while impaired. There are cases when a charge classified as DWI can be modified into a DUI if the authorities consider it to be a fair plea.
To reduce a charge from a DWI to a DUI, the case must meet certain conditions such as a first offense or a small level of over the legal limit BAC.
Both DUI and DWI have two main focus points: the actual operation of driving a vehicle and being under the influence of different substances.
Operating A Vehicle
Most states will charge you with DUI or DWI if you drive a vehicle. However, there are some places in which your simple presence behind the steering wheel will be enough for a conviction, even if you were not driving.
Moreover, if there was a witness, whether it was a police office or another traffic participant, you most probably face some charges. Even though, you were not caught in the action. Some laws state that you will be charged with DUI or DWI in the case in which you are found inside your vehicle while you are intoxicated. This might seem to you very similar to what I wrote before but pay attention to this: even if your car is pulled over and your keys are not plugged in, you can still receive a DUI.
Under The Influence
Usually, the legal limit for blood alcohol concentration is 0.08 percent. However, for the underage youngsters, there is a zero tolerance when it comes to DUI or DWI. If you are under 21, and you get caught driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs, the legal limit of the alcohol level in your blood has to be smaller than 0.01 percent.
DUI can come in many forms. While this is the classic name and it applies to those drivers that drive while under the influence of alcohol, there are also other types of road illegalities. The second most popular term for DUI is DWI, which means driving while intoxicated. We have explained the difference between these two in the chapter detailed above.
Furthermore, other law terms refer to driving under the influence. There is DUID, which translates by operating a vehicle under the influence of drugs. Another term is OWI. This means operating while impaired. It does not matter how you call it. After all, all those situations are bad for you and will have serious consequences.
The Difference Between DUI and DWI in Texas
Compared to other states, Texas makes a clear distinction between these two terms. However, it does not matter with which one you have been charged. In both cases, you could go to jail, besides paying fees and penalties. Therefore, you will need a good DUI lawyer.
DUI law has some penalties that can be brought upon the suspect, depending on several factors such as the driver’s level of blood alcohol or the severity of the accident that he/she might cause. According to Section 49.94 of the Texas Penal Code, if someone operates a vehicle in a public place, while he/she is under the influence of different substances, he/she will be charged with DUI or DWI.
The term “intoxicated”, from the DUI or DWI expressions, refers to having consumed different types of substances such as alcohol, drugs, or any other kind of element that would make you unstable and out of your normal healthy physical and mental faculties. Therefore, the difference between DUI and DWI can vary from none to some, depending on the state in which these terms are applying, as well as on the person that is suspected of driving under the influence.
The things change a little bit when it comes to charging a minor with DUI or DWI. While adults are charged with driving under the influence when they have a blood alcohol level of more than 0.08 percent, a minor will receive the same charges if he/she operates a motorized vehicle having any amount of substances or alcohol in his/her system.
In Texas, DUI, which is driving under the influence of alcohol, is part of C class misdemeanors. However, a DWI charge is categorized as a B class misdemeanor. However, if the driver had a blood alcohol concentration of more than 0.15 percent, the offense will be included in the Class A misdemeanor.
Depending on the consequences of the reckless driving, the suspect could receive a felony offense. For example, when he/she is involved in an accident that led to serious injuries or even deaths, this rule will surely apply. A third-degree felony has the following consequences: prison time from two years to a maximum of ten years, along with a steep fine that can even reach up to 10.000 dollars.
What Have We Learned About the Difference Between DUI and DWI?
Some states make no difference between DUI and DWI. These two terms mean almost the same things and they can be interchangeable. However, there are places in which using DUI means one thing, while charging someone with DWI refers to a different offense.
When a participant to traffic is involved in an accident with aggravating consequences, a misdemeanor such as DUI or DWI can become a felony. Both DUI and DWI can have the following types of punishment: jail time, fees and penalties, driving license suspended or revoked, and more.
All in all, it doesn’t matter in which state you can be charged with higher penalties. Driving under the influence is completely illegal. Therefore, you shouldn’t risk your well-being or others’ lives to make such bravery. Any DUI has negative consequences, so you should try to avoid them as much as possible by staying sober every time you are behind a steering wheel.