While some states use the terms DUI (driving under the influence) and DWI (driving while intoxicated) interchangeably, these are two separate criminal offenses in the state of Texas. DUI charges apply to those drivers who are under the age of 21 at the time of the crime, whereas DWI charges may apply to all drivers. Whether you are facing DUI or DWI charges, the potential ramifications of a conviction may be severe, so contacting a Frisco DUI lawyer may be in your best interests.
A conviction of either DUI or DWI charges leads to high fines, an inability to drive, job loss, court costs and fees, and even jail time in some situations. Having a permanent mark on your criminal history can also make securing employment, housing, and education more difficult in the future. A seasoned criminal defense lawyer may be able to evaluate your case and determine the defense strategy that is most likely to be successful in your case and may allow you to avoid some or all these potential penalties.
Texas Alcoholic Beverage Code § 106.041 establishes the criminal offense of DUI, which is a potential charge only for drivers under age 21. DUI is a zero-tolerance offense, meaning that if individuals drive after consuming any detectable amount of alcohol, they may be charged with a DUI. A DUI conviction does not require any evidence of a blood alcohol content (BAC) measurement or impairment. The odor on the breath is enough to get charged with DUI. Keep in mind that Heiniken just came out with a 100% alcohol-free beer. It states 0.0% in three different places on the label, yet smells and tastes like beer. The odor of a 100% alcohol-free beer would be sufficient to be charged with a DUI. But a charge does not mean you will be convicted.
On the other hand, DWI under Texas Penal Code § 49.04 is a potential criminal charge for drivers of all ages in three separate circumstances. Individuals may commit DWI if the consumption of alcohol or drugs has caused them to not have the normal use of their physical faculties or cause them to not have the normal use of their mental faculties, at the time of driving. Additionally, individuals may commit DWI if a blood, breath, or urine test measures their BAC at 0.08 percent or more at the time of driving
The consequences for both DUI and DWI can become progressively harsher for individuals with prior convictions. As a result, individuals facing second or third DUI or DWI charges should not hesitate to contact a DUI lawyer in Frisco for advice.
Under Tex. Pen. Code § 12.23, a conviction for a first-time DUI offense, which is a Class C misdemeanor, may result in a $500 fine, completion of community service hours, and attendance at an alcohol education class, and a driver license suspension. Third or subsequent convictions for individuals who are at least 17 years of age, but not 21, can result in fines of up to $2,000 and a jail sentence of up to 180 days, in addition to community service hours and alcohol education course attendance.
DWI is a Class B misdemeanor under Tex. Pen. Code § 49.04. A conviction for a first-time DWI can result in the following penalties:
Individuals whose BAC measures 0.15 percent or more will face Class A misdemeanor charges, which can increase the potential jail sentence to one year and the fine to $4,000. Additionally, the law mandates an Ignition Interlock be installed in anyone’s car as a condition of the bond if their alcohol concentration is 0.15 or above, as well as that being a condition of any probation.
There are additional factors that may increase the possible charges and penalties, such as having an open container of alcohol in the vehicle, having a prior DWI conviction, or having a child passenger under the age of 15 in the vehicle at the time of the DWI. Due to the potential for harsh consequences, defendants facing these charges may wish to seek the advice of a DUI attorney in Frisco.
Although the primary penalties for DUI and DWI convictions may involve fines, probation, and jail sentences, there are continuing consequences that may flow from these convictions, as well. A Frisco DUI lawyer may be able to identify potential defenses to your DUI or DWI charges and build a compelling defense to preserve your future. Call the Wilder Law Firm and let us fight for you!