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The Difference between DWI and DUI in Texas

In most states when it comes to drunk driving, Driving Under the Influence (DUI) is the more serious offense. But in Texas, Driving While Intoxicated (DWI) is considered to be the more serious alcohol related driving crime, as compared to DUI. The laws governing DUI and DWI in Texas are discussed below.

Texas traditionally has the highest number of drunken driving fatalities in the US – and of the two laws, considers DWI as the bigger offense.

Texas DUI Definition

As per the state’s laws, a DUI is a class C misdemeanor. This means that there is no chance of a person/minor being jailed as a punishment for being convicted in a Driving Under Influence case. Since the offense level has been defined as a Class “C” Misdemeanor, the punishment ranges up to a $500 fine and the proceedings are held in a Municipal Court.

Texas DWI Definition

DWI is the more serious criminal offense in Texas, and it is equivalent to a DUI charge in most states. The state laws in Texas define a Driving While Intoxicated (DWI) offense under section 49.04 of the Texas Penal Code. According to this an adult is committing an alcohol related offense, if he is intoxicated while operating a motor vehicle in a public place.

DWI in Texas – “intoxicated” is not just with alcohol

The catch here is the meaning of the term “intoxicated” as per the law and its provisions. According to the penal code, an intoxicated person is, “not having the normal use of mental or physical faculties by reason of the introduction of alcohol, a controlled substance, a drug, a dangerous drug, a combination of two or more of those substances, or any other substance into the body; or having an alcohol concentration of 0.08 or more.” This has been described as such in the Texas Penal Code section 49.01.

In Texas, DWI, or Driving While Intoxicated carries severe punishments like being locked in jail for up to 180 days and up to a $2,000 fine. The offense level is considered to be a Class “B” Misdemeanor. And for a person to be convicted by the state for DWI, the State must prove that the person/driver was disoriented and had lost control of his mental or physical faculties and/or had above a .08 BAC (blood alcohol content). The condition of the person could be due to the introduction of alcohol, a drug, or a combination of the two.

Drivers below and over the age of 21 can receive a DWI. And remember that every time you are convicted, the punishments and ramifications keep getting harsher. You can get your driver’s license suspended, and a DWI on your record will hamper your future too. For instance, loan providing financial institutions and even prospective employers may see your record and judge you on the basis of the DWI or DUI conviction.

It is important to understand what the Texas Penal Code says for DWI or DUI. Texas authorities are very stringent about drunken driving offenses and you must always keep the ramifications in mind before you head out on the road.

InTexasAutoInsurance.com is the leading insurance comparison resource in Texas. We offer quote comparisons for SR 22 coverage for those caught driving under the influence (DUI) in Texas.