Houston DWI/DUI lawyers can help after a Harris County arrest for driving under the influence. Your Houston criminal lawyers can also ensure the Harris County district attorney does not attempt to make an example out of you, leaving you with Harris County criminal records, and even potentially Harris County jail Texas. If you have wondered what the difference between a DWI and a DUI are, you should know that they differ from state to state. In the state of Texas, a DUI (driving under the influence) and a DWI (driving while intoxicated) are often used interchangeably, however legally they refer to people of different age groups, and result in different legal consequences.
The Differences Between a DWI and a DUI in the State of Texas - Under Texas Penal Code Section 49.04, if you are charged with DWI, this means you were operating a motor vehicle while lacking “normal” mental or physical faculties because you have either consumed too much alcohol, too much of a controlled substance, or you have a blood alcohol concentration of 0.08 percent or higher. If you fall under one of those categories, and you are over the age of 21, then you will be charged with DWI—although if your charges involve controlled substances, you could also face separate drug charges.
A DWI in the state of Texas is classified as a Class B misdemeanor, however could potentially be bumped up to a Class A misdemeanor if your BAC was over 0.15 percent. Do not make the mistake of thinking a misdemeanor is not all that serious—in the state of Texas, both Class A and Class B misdemeanor charges can have serious repercussions, both legal and otherwise, requiring experienced Houston DWI/DUI attorneys.
A DUI, on the other hand, while still requiring knowledgeable Houston DWI/DUI lawyers falls under different Texas DWI/DUI laws. Although DUI means driving under the influence, the difference in a DUI and a DWI lies in the age of the accused. Under Texas Penal Code Section 106.041, driving under the influence encompasses a person under the age of 21, who has any detectable amount of alcohol in his or her system. DUI in the state of Texas is a Class C misdemeanor.
There is one important caveat here: Even a person who is under the age of 21 could potentially be charged with DWI instead of DUI if his or her BAC is high enough. Consumption of alcohol is not the only reason you could be charged with a DUI if you are under the age of 21, since the state of Texas has no tolerance toward minors driving with drugs in their systems. It is possible that those who are convicted of a DUI while a minor could have the conviction expunged once they turn 21.
Penalties for DWI vs. Penalties for DUI in the State of Texas - If you are convicted of DWI in the state of Texas, you could face the following penalties:
- You will spend a minimum of 72 hours in jail;
- If you have an open container in your vehicle, your mandatory jail time will increase to six days;
- You could potentially spend up to 180 days in jail;
- Your driver’s license could be suspended for a period of 90 days to one year;
- If you test positive for a blood, breath or urine test, you will receive an automatic driver’s license suspension, even if you are not convicted of DWI;
- If you receive a second DWI, you will have your license suspended for a minimum of 18 months;
- You could be required to complete a DWI program, and if you fail to do so, you could have your license suspended or be placed on probation, and
- Your fines for a first-time DWI could be as high as $2,000, plus annual surcharge fees from $1,000 to $2,000 for the next three years.
If you are convicted of DUI in the state of Texas, you could face the following penalties:
- There is no jail time for a first-time DUI offender, although repeat DUI offenders could serve time behind bars;
- You could have your driver’s license suspended for up to 60 days;
- You could pay a fine as large as $500, and
- You may be required to complete a program which addresses the behavior leading up to the DUI. If you fail to complete this program you could lose your license. You could also be required to complete between 20 and 40 hours of community service.
How Houston DWI/DUI Lawyers Can Help You Face Your DUI or DWI in Texas - Because there are differences between DUI and DWI charges, the defense strategies used by your Houston criminal defense lawyers will differ. In either case, the Houston DWI/DUI lawyers of Sullo & Sullo will work hard to ensure your rights are protected and that you have the best outcome to your charges possible. We understand that it can be intimidating following your Harris County arrest to face an aggressive Harris County district attorney. We truly want to help through Houston criminal lawyer free consultations. We also offer Houston criminal defense lawyers with payment plans for those times money might be tight. When you are being charged with DWI or DUI, your future may seem frightening.
We can help alleviate those fears by being by your side in Harris County criminal court, fighting aggressively on your behalf to ensure the best outcome possible. If you are a minor who has receive a DUI, while you are not facing the level of charges of a DWI, you should nonetheless take the charges very seriously. While you may be able to have your record expunged once you become an adult, if you receive a second DUI, you could be facing much stiffer penalties than you face for a first-time DUI. Do not wait until you are in even deeper trouble. Contact the Sullo & Sullo Houston DWI/DUI lawyers as soon as possible so we can begin defending your rights immediately.