Understanding the terms impaired driving versus drunk driving can be difficult since they are virtually synonymous. By definition, both actions are essentially the same. A person can become drunk by having consumed so much alcohol that normal actions like operating a vehicle become difficult. consuming this level of alcohol impairs your normal faculties. “Impaired” means to be in a less than perfect or whole condition such as intoxicated by alcohol or narcotics. Impaired driving or drunk driving are respectively referred to as Driving Under the Influence (DUI) and DWI (Driving While Intoxicated).
Defining Impaired Driving versus Drunk Driving
Many states do not distinguish between DUI and DWI. The majority of states in the US utilize DUI and DWI interchangeably to refer to driving under the influence of a mind-impairing substance or driving after consuming alcohol in excess or drunk driving. Those states see no difference in consuming alcohol or using any other mind-altering substances whether they are prescription drugs, hallucinogens, alcohol or narcotics. There is no difference between offenses of minors and adults for many states when an individual is charged with a DUI or DWI.
How Texas punishes impaired driving versus drunk driving
In the state of Texas, the law follows that of the federal government and distinguishes between the two. These offenses are classified in two separate penal categories and come with their own set of punishments. Whichever the case, consult an experienced DWI Specialist criminal defense attorney to help you and zealously defend you in court.
Punishment for impaired driving versus drunk driving
A DWI offense in the state of Texas can be found to derive from the use of alcohol and/or drugs while operating a motor vehicle. You can also receive a DWI if you are pulled over and have a blood alcohol level of .08% or higher. The DWI classification, however, only applies to drivers over the age of 21.
A DWI is considered a class B misdemeanor. What this means is that there are certain penalties that those who have been charged with the offense are given. These penalties can include:
- a fine not to exceed $2000
- confinement in jail (it does not matter if it is your first offense) for a term not to exceed 180 days, or both.
- you can have your license suspended or revoked
- have to conduct community service or possibly be mandated to attend an education and intervention program.
A DUI is significantly different than a DUI in Texas. A DUI in Texas references minors only. If a person is under the age of 21 and is discovered to have any detectable amount of alcohol in their system, no matter the amount, they will be given a DUI. Most police officers make this distinction when stopping minors suspected of drunk driving.
DUIs are considered class C misdemeanors in Texas. By statute, the offense is punishable by:
- a fine not to exceed $500
- it may include having your license suspended for up to 2 years
- mandatory alcohol education programs
- a possible extension to the suspension period upon failure to complete all the required programs
On the whole, the penalties for DUIs are not as severe as DWI.
When it comes to impaired driving versus drunk driving, you should avoid operating a vehicle after consuming any kind of mind-altering substance. If you or a loved one has been involved in an accident surrounding a DUI or DWI, or have been charged or arrested for DUI or DWI, you will need an aggressive, experience DWI attorney to defend you.