Being arrested and charged with drunk driving is a risk drivers take when drinking alcohol and getting behind the wheel of a motor vehicle. With Texas' tough drinking and driving laws, getting arrested after having only one or two drinks happens every day in Austin and can lead to serious consequences.
Many view driving under the influence (DUI) and driving while intoxicated (DWI) as synonymous. While this is accurate in some states, in Texas, DUI and DWI have two distinct legal meanings based on age.
The difference between DUI and DWI in Austin is that DUI refers to individuals under the age of twenty-one having any detectable amount of alcohol in their system, while DWI refers to those twenty-one and older who have a blood alcohol content (BAC) of .08 percent.
Difference Between DUI and DWI Penalties in Austin
Texas has a zero-tolerance policy for minors when it comes to drinking and driving. Under Texas Code Sec. 106.04, if a driver is under twenty-one years of age, driving with any traceable amount of alcohol in his or her system is illegal. Furthermore, a minor under the age of twenty-one can still be charged with a DWI if the driver has a BAC of .08 or higher.
In Austin, serious consequences can result due to a conviction of DUI or DWI, including jail time, large fines, and the formation of a criminal record-all of which can have a tremendous impact on a person's life. However, there are differences in the severity of the penalties imposed for a DUI versus a DWI. For a DUI, the consequences are not as harsh, but nonetheless, will affect a person's well-being.
Legal Penalties for DUI and DWI
A minor under twenty-one years of age pulled over for drinking and driving may incur the following for DUI:
- A fine of up to $500
- A sixty-day suspension of your driver's license
- Twenty to forty hours' worth of community service
- Involuntary attendance for alcohol-awareness classes
A first time DWI offender, including a minor under twenty-one years old with a BAC of .08 percent and higher, may receive several penalties:
- A jail sentence of between three and 180 days
- A fine of up to $2,000
- Up to a one-year drivers-license suspension
- To retain your driver's license, you will need to pay an annual surcharge of $1,000 to $2,000 for three years
For an Austin DUI and DWI, the penalties become more severe for second and third offenses, often resulting in more jail time, higher fines, and a longer driver's license suspension.
How an Austin DUI and DWI Lawyer Can Help
If you have any questions regarding DUI or DWI laws in Austin, the attorneys of Hines & Holub will help you both understand and protect your rights. It is important to have the support of a trustworthy and reputable DUI and DWI lawyer dedicated to both you and your case.
Call our on-call attorney now to discuss your case now.
No matter how complex your charges may seem, you can have peace of mind knowing our legal team is behind you. You aren’t in this battle alone. Get our Austin criminal attorneys on your side today.