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Getting a Better Understanding of DWI Texas Laws

We often expose ourselves to the risk of legal problems not out of purposeful action but simply out of ignorance of the law. This is the case far too often in DWI charges. We simply don’t know what the limit is when we’re drinking, and we accidentally put ourselves in legal jeopardy.

This ignorance can mean that we are forced to pay fines, deal with life without a license, or even face a prison sentence when we didn’t even know we were doing something illegal.

It’s a tricky situation, particularly since that ignorance often isn’t a very effective defense. The best way to avoid the risk of accidentally breaking a DWI law is to learn more about the law now, so you know when your actions have crossed a line.

Thankfully, Ian Inglis Attorney at Law has provided a lot of resources to better understand Texas law in regard to DWIs. Using his site, I’ve found a lot of great information to help protect myself and hopefully protect you, the reader, from accidentally breaking the law while on the road (or in the water) in the future.

Here are a few great facts about Texas law that you may want to know before you step out into the world and accidentally expose yourself to serious penalties.

First, let’s talk about what a DWI is. A DWI is a driving while intoxicated charge, which is for anyone who has been driving while over the legal limit. What is that limit, though? In Texas, it is .08 for those driving their own vehicles. However, for those who are driving a commercial vehicle (like truckers or cab drivers), the limit is .04. That is incredibly low, meaning it’s probably safer not to drink at all. Equally important, if the person driving is under 21, any amount of alcohol constitutes a DWI charge.

Now that we know what a DWI is, we need to know more about what happens after a conviction. The actual sentencing laws are fairly complex since there are so many different DWI charges that you might face. However, a first offense, generally speaking, can mean up to $2,000 in fines, up to 6 months in prison, and up to two years without your license.

A second offense can mean up to $4,000 in fines, up to one year in prison, and up to two years without your license.

A third offense can mean up to $10,000 in fines, up to 10 years in prison, and up to two years without your license.

Just as the sentencing gets more severe with each new offense, so too does the prosecution. In other words, a single DWI conviction may result in fairly minor penalties (and may have no jail time involved), but future convictions are far more likely to have disastrous consequences.

That’s why it is all the more important to understand what a DWI is in Texas and make sure you avoid even the possibility of a conviction.

Differences Between DUI and DWI

If you are pulled over by an officer for suspicion of drunk driving, you can face one of two charges depending on the details of your actions. Both acronyms DUI and DWI refer to someone operating a motor vehicle while under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs; however, there are some differences that many people aren’t aware of. Primarily, the difference between these two types of charges literally comes from what the acronyms stand for. While DUI stands for driving under the influence, DWI stands for driving while intoxicated.

These two charges may sound similar, but some states classify them as separate and distinct actions with a different set of consequences. Facing either charge can be a stressful and frightening time in your life. Fortunately, a dui defense lawyer can help protect your rights and interests in even the direst situation.

Depending on the state you live in, these two charges may both be used and be classified as separate charges. If this is the case, DUI is typically used for drivers that are less impaired. Additionally, if both terms are used in a state, DWI may refer to driving while intoxicated of just alcohol, while DUI refers to a driver under the influence of alcohol or drugs. Either charge means at the time of arrest, the officer believed the motorist was too impaired to operate his or her vehicle safely.

In some states, the terms are used to differentiate between drunk driving charges issued to minors verses those issued to individuals who are over the legal drinking age. In states with these regulations, they also often have a “zero tolerance” policy, which means a driver will face charges even if they register less than a .08% BAC.

If your state uses both DUI and DWI, the state may agree to a plea bargain for those charged with DWI. In this case, the judge may reduce the level of charge from DWI to DUI if certain conditions are met. An example of one of these conditions is if this was the driver’s first offense and his or her BAC was not over the state’s legal limit.