Driving While Intoxicated (DWI) and Driving Under Influence (DUI) are similar and different at the same time. It is confusing for many since they are both relating to drunk driving. When we say DWI or DUI, it pertains to an individual operating any vehicle while intoxicated. It means that the alcohol or drug in his body is affecting his mental or physical well-being. The primary difference between these two is the driver’s age. In the state of Texas, DWI is for anyone who is 21 years old or older operating a vehicle while having a Blood Alcohol Content (BAC) of 0.08 or higher.
On the other hand, DUI is for anyone who is below 21 years old having any alcohol in his system while driving. Texas has a zero-tolerance policy when it comes to teenage drinking and driving. With that said, anyone under 21 years of age is chargeable with DWI if his BAC is0.08 or higher. Here are the applicable penalties for DUI in Texas.
First Offense Penalties
1st offense DUI has minor penalties as compared to DWI. For DUI, the minor charged may have his driver’s license suspended for 60 days, and he may receive a fine not exceeding $500. He will also need to render community service for 20 to 40 hours plus mandatory alcohol-awareness classes. The penalties are light; however, it is time-consuming for a minor who is more often than not attending school. Therefore, it is best to prevent yourself from driving when drinking.
Second Offense Penalties
On your second DUI charge, the penalties are the same as DWI. You may receive a fine of not more than $4000 and/or imprisonment of 30 days to one year. Your driver’s license may also get suspended for 180 days to 2 years. Do take note that the state also considers this as a criminal offense, thus, it will stay on your record. As a young adult, this can present several problems to you as you might encounter issues getting in some universities, getting scholarships or securing a job.
Third Offense Penalties
When it comes to your third DUI offense, your fine may reach up to $10000 and/or jail time of 2 to 10 years. The state also considers this crime as a 3rd Degree Felony. It means you will get disqualified from possessing any firearm as well as voting. Your license may even get suspended from 180 days to 2 years.
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It is also important to note that if officers caught you with an open alcohol container, your minimum jail time would increase to 6 days. In any instance that your drunkenness caused an accident with serious bodily injuries, you may get charged with 3rd Degree Felony, and corresponding penalties will apply. On the other hand, intoxication manslaughter is a 2nd Degree Felony with relevant jail time between 2 to 20 years. If you were caught drunk driving with a passenger who is below 15 years old, you might face jail time of 180 days to 2 years plus a fine not more than $10000 which is the corresponding penalties for State Jail Felony.
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