Are a DUI and a DWI the Same?
Sometimes the terms DWI and DUI are used interchangeably. While both are charges connected to operating a vehicle when intoxicated, they are not exactly the same. A DUI is a shortened version of driving under the influence. The shortened version of driving while intoxicated is DWI.
In most cases the charge is connected to the age of the driver. If a person is 21 or older and is caught driving while intoxicated they will be charged a DWI. If the driver is under the age of 21, they could be charged with a DUI due to Zero Tolerance Law.
If you or someone you love has been charged with a DUI or a DWI, you need a legal team working for your Discussing your situation with a seasoned Houston DWI lawyer can help.
Under 21 and Zero Tolerance Law
For individuals who are aged 21 or older, they are legally intoxicated drivers when their blood alcohol level is .08 or more. This is not true for individuals under the age of 21. People under 21 are not permitted to have any level of alcohol in their blood according to Texas law. This is what is known as the Zero Tolerance Law.
So, an underage driver could be charged with a DWI if their blood alcohol level is .08 or higher. But if the level is lower, they will face a DUI charge. There is the possibility of jail or prison time in connection with a DWI charge.
Zero Tolerance is in place because no one is permitted to consume alcohol legally under the age of 21 in Texas. Since it is illegal to drink alcohol, it stands to reason that operating a vehicle while intoxicated and under 21 is also not permitted. For this reason, Zero Tolerance applies to operating vehicles, midway rides, planes, and boats.
Zero Tolerance could result in individuals losing their licenses for the following amounts of time:
- 60-180 days for a first offense.
- 120 days-2 years for a second offense.
- 180 days-2 years for a third offense.
If a person who is in violation wants to avoid a suspension of their license, they will need to request a hearing. At a driver’s license suspension hearing, a person needs to state their case and present a valid reason they need to keep their license.
Talk to a Houston DWI Lawyer Today
After an arrest for driving while intoxicated in Texas, you need a Houston DWI lawyer on your side. Even when you feel there is nowhere to turn, there may be options you have not considered on your own. A knowledgeable lawyer may be able to have your charges reduced or dropped.
Were you arrested for a Texas DWI? You need a qualified Houston DWI lawyer advocating for you. Our seasoned legal team has the knowledge needed to defend against criminal charges, from minor to serious. Reach out to the legal team at Ayson Law Firm to understand your rights. Contact us today for a free consultation.