In Texas, DUI And DWI Mean Two Different Things
Austin, TX (Law Firm Newswire) October 14, 2013 – Drivers in Texas should understand there is a difference between a DUI charge and a DWI charge.
“Texas has the dubious distinction of having one of the highest rates of drunk driving in the nation. It is not something the state is proud of, and accordingly, the police have begun a drive to crack down on suspected drunk drivers —- that is, drivers under the influence of alcohol or drugs,” stated Bobby Lee, a personal injury lawyer with the Austin firm of Lee, Gober & Reyna.
How are these drivers charged when stopped? Are they charged as DUI or DWI and what is the difference? The media makes a big issue out of DUI, but many do not realize that the law, in Texas, is more specifically aimed at minors under the age of 21. It is illegal for minors to drive if they have even a small amount of alcohol in their system. “If they are caught, they face a Class C misdemeanor and fairly strict penalties, like having their license suspended, hefty fines and community service,” Lee outlined. Police may also charge adults with a DUI.
If the police hand out a citation for DWI, it means the person in question was suspected of having alcohol and/or drugs in their system. According to the Texas Penal Code, this is considered to be a Class B misdemeanor and the offender lands in jail for 72-hours.
Herein lies a major difficulty when it comes to the police determining if someone is under the influence of something. Many of the usually accepted signs of a drunk individual are slurring, needing something to lean on, staggering and being slow to react to external stimuli or not able to answer questions coherently.
“These signs may also be indicative of a medical condition. This explains why a number of people may be falsely arrested for DUI or DWI. Defendants have rights and they need to know what they are. Speak to a DUI/DWI attorney who specializes in defending drivers in cases such as this,” suggested Lee, a plaintiff’s DWI/DUI attorney.