How is a DWI Defined in Texas

by Brian Kim Ayson on May. 27, 2019

Criminal DUI-DWI 

Summary: In Texas, there is a distinction between DWI and DUI.

In Texas, there is a distinction between DWI and DUI. DWI refers to the charge of driving while intoxicated. If you are over 21 and are accused of driving while having lost control of your mental or physical faculties due to drugs or alcohol, or your blood comes back over a 0.08, you are charged with DWI. However, if you are under the age of 21 and you are stopped by the police, you can be arrested for having alcohol in your system in any amount, and that is classified as DUI.

What Are The Top Misconceptions People Have About A DWI Arrest Or Charge?

By law, there is no deferred adjudication for DWI in Texas. This means that if the state doesn’t dismiss your case, you only have one option for keeping a DWI off your record and that is winning at trial. People also think that if they refuse to submit to a breath or blood test, that the police won’t be able to perform one. While that may have been true once, police in Texas can usually get a warrant to draw your blood when you refuse now.

What Are Some Common Mistakes People Make When They Are Charged And Arrested For A DWI?

People often wait a month or more to contact an attorney after they’ve been arrested. As your attorney, I need to immediately begin gathering discovery and, if necessary, prepare it for trial. Also, DPS will try to suspend your license. I will request a hearing to contest the suspension of your license. You only have 15 days to request this hearing if you blow over a 0.08 or if you refuse a breath test or a blood draw. If you wait too long, then it will be too late and DPS will automatically suspend your license after 40 days. Do not wait to get an attorney working on your behalf.

What Generally Happens When Someone Is Pulled Over For A DWI In Texas?

Police will often pull someone over under suspicion of DWI and ask them to step out of their car. They will perform what’s called an investigative detention. They will ask you to perform field sobriety tests if they suspect that you are under the influence. If, in their opinion, you fail those tests, they’ll take you into custody. They will ask you to submit to a breath test. If you blow over a .08 (and sometimes even if you don’t!) they will charge you with DWI. If you consent to a blood draw, a phlebotomist or a nurse will draw your blood and you will likely still be charged with DWI. If you refuse testing, the police will get a warrant and take your sample anyway. You will be given an opportunity to bond out and then await your first court date.

When Someone Is Arrested For A DWI, Is Their Driver’s License Immediately Taken?

The police will usually take your license as soon as you refuse to perform a blood or a breath test, or if you blow over a 0.08. However, that does not mean that your license is suspended. If you fail to request a hearing, if you lose your hearing, or if the court suspends your license as a result of a conviction, then an occupational driver’s license is an option that is available to you.

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