The terms DUI and DWI are often used by individuals to mean the same thing. In many states, “driving under the influence” and “driving while intoxicated” do have differences in Texas. In this state, both DUI and DWI refer to individuals operating a vehicle while intoxicated. This means that the individual lacks normal physical and mental faculties as a result of consuming alcohol or some type of narcotic. If you’re involved in a crash, call a Houston drunk driving accident attorney at once to discuss your legal options.
Driving under the influence (DUI) is a charge listed under the Texas Traffic Code and is only issued to those under the age of 21. In this state, any person under the age of 21 can be charged with DUI if they have any amount of alcohol in their system, even if they are under the legal allowable blood alcohol limit of .08%.
Why does this law exist?
Well, this makes it much easier for law enforcement officers to apply charges to those who should not be drinking at all. The legal age to drink in Texas and throughout the US is 21. A DUI charge offers law enforcement a way to remove potentially dangerous drivers from the street.
Typical penalties for a DUI charge in Texas include a fine of up to $500, license suspension of up to 60 days, mandatory alcohol awareness classes, and up to 40 hours of community service.
Driving while impaired (DWI) is what many people think of as a DIY. In Texas, this is a much more serious offense than a DUI. If a person is found to have a blood alcohol content level of .08% or higher or is operating a motor vehicle while clearly impaired, law enforcement officers will likely charge them with DWI.
Individuals who receive a first-time DWI offense could be punished with a fine of up to $2,000, a jail sentence ranging from 3 to 180 days, revocation of driver’s license for up to one year, and an annual fee of a few thousand dollars for up to three years in order to retain a driver’s license.
When we examine information available from the Texas Department of Transportation, we can see that there were more than 25,000 vehicle crashes caused by impaired drivers during the latest reporting year on file. Out of these incidents, there were 936 fatal crashes that resulted in 1,077 fatalities.
Additionally, these incidents led to 2,551 suspected serious injuries, 5,823 suspected minor injuries, and 5,701 possible injuries.
Regardless of whether or not a person is operating while legally impaired (DWI) or is a minor with any level of alcohol in their system, this is only a recipe for disaster. These laws are in place for a reason – they are an attempt by state legislators and law enforcement officials to reduce or eliminate the total number of drunk drivers on the roadway.
If you were somebody you love has been injured in a crash caused by the actions of an impaired driver, speak to an attorney immediately. You may be able to recover compensation for your medical bills, lost wages, pain and suffering, and property damage expenses in a Houston personal injury lawsuit.
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