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How do DUI and DWI differ?

On Behalf of | May 1, 2023 | Drug Crimes |

Texas residents can find their lives turned upside down if they are arrested for drunk driving. Depending on the circumstances, a person can face driving under the influence (DUI) or while intoxicated (DWI) charges. This is how the two offenses differ.

Understanding DUI

Drunk driving charges can vary in severity depending on the circumstances. If a person is arrested for DUI, they are under the influence of alcohol or drugs. Regarding the latter, it doesn’t matter if the drugs are illicit ones bought off the street or legally prescribed. With a DUI, a person doesn’t necessarily have to be impaired; if a police officer pulls a driver over and has them perform a breath test, they can arrest the person if their blood alcohol content (BAC) is over the legal limit of 0.08%.

DWI explained

DWI means driving while intoxicated or driving while impaired. A person can be arrested on these charges if they are impaired by alcohol or drugs. Sometimes, a driver can even be arrested for DWI if they are determined to be too drowsy to operate their vehicle safely.

Difference between DUI and DWI

The main difference between DUI and DWI is that a person doesn’t necessarily have to be impaired to face DUI charges. DWI is typically considered the more serious offense; in some cases, it is associated with a higher BAC of 0.15% or greater. A person can also be charged with DWI if they aren’t driving the vehicle but are resting or sleeping in the driver’s seat with the engine running while intoxicated.

A conviction for either DUI or DWI carries serious penalties, including losing driving privileges. The consequences aren’t worth it, but a strong defense might help your case.