Dui stands for driving under the influence. Dwi is driving while intoxicated. The specific use of these terms describing a crime for a person in the United States depends on which state the driver is in. Also the driver’s age may determine the term as well.
Texas Dui and DWI
Texas uses Dui to describe a driver under 21 years of age who has any detectable amount of alcohol in their system while operating a vehicle. The Texas term DWI describes any age driver who is intoxicated.
Intoxication means “(A) not having the normal use of mental or physical faculties by reason of the introduction of alcohol, a controlled substance, a drug, a dangerous drug, a combination of the 2 or more of those substances, or any other substance into the body, or (B) having a blood alcohol concentration of .08 or more.”
Texas Dui law is much more lenient on under 21 drivers regarding punishment than Dwi law on all drivers. The zero tolerance of alcohol is still strict. But the law is more focused on the alcohol rather than the actual driving after drinking a detectable amount. It shows the legislature’s focused intent to prevent underage drinking, rather than underage drinking and driving. If this were not the case the punishment would be more severe than a class c misdemeanor. Many states allow up to .02 for minors. Eleven states have no tolerance for minor driving on alcohol.
It is true that new drivers need to focus on driving and learn safe driving skills. But there isn’t a lot of analysis on how much a detectable amount of alcohol has affected an under 21 driver. It may be a miniscule amount and yet the driver is punished regardless. Many times the officer just has the driver blow in their face and will make a decision based on that. The driver may not even be allowed to have a breath or blood test to prove their innocence.
Punishment for DUI in Texas
A minor can receive up to a $500 fine and 20-40 community service hours for a first offense Dui. A 2nd Dui can get a minor 40-60 hours of community service. With 2 previous convictions the minor is looking at a $500 to $2,000 fine and up to 6 months in jail.
State Alcohol Tolerance for Driving Minor
|Alabama- .02 |
Alaska- zero tolerance
Arizona- zero tolerance
District of Columbia- zero tolerance
Illinois- zero tolerance
Maine- zero tolerance
Minnesota- zero tolerance
New Hampshire- .02
New Jersey- .01
New Mexico- .02
New York- .02
North Carolina- zero tolerance
North Dakota- .02
Oregon- zero tolerance
Rhode Island- .02
South Carolina- .02
South Dakota- .02
Texas- zero tolerance
Utah- zero tolerance
West Virginia- .02
Wisconsin- zero tolerance
Texas Dwi is More Serious Than Dui
For drivers accused of Dwi, the amount of alcohol allowed is more lenient than any detectable amount. The BAC is .08 for breath and blood tests. This understandably shows that for drivers 21 and over, the focus of legislation shifts more against drinking and driving.
The state can also try to prove their case on loss of mental and/or physical faculties of alcohol and/or drugs. This is a less tangible case to prove for person accused of dwi in Texas.
Dwi for Drugs
It is possible to be accused of a Dwi for drugs instead of only alcohol. A breath test will not be a useful tool to measure drugs in a person’s system. The person’s admission as to how much and when the drugs were taken can be very useful prosecution evidence in trial. And of course a blood test will give a reading of what is in the blood if it is tested correctly.
That does not mean that there is a clear cut proof of drug intoxication. There is not a measurement of intoxication for drugs such as .08 is used for alcohol intoxication. There are other factors and biases that get thrown in and the jury will have a difficult decision to make. The State’s expert will most likely try to render an opinion of intoxication based on experience or some sort of theory. In all honesty quantification of drugs and intoxication have not been studied with reliable data compiled.
What is a Motor Vehicle in Texas?
The Texas Penal Code defines “Motor vehicle” means a device in, on, or by which a person or property is or may be transported or drawn on a highway, except a device used exclusively on stationary rails or tracks.
Notice the definition of motor vehicle does not include the word “motor”.
Can I get a DWI on a Bike?
In Texas you technically can get a dwi on a bicycle. It does not need to have a motor. Taking the case to trial and being convicted is another story. I definitely would fight this case all the way to a jury trial.
Can I get a Dui or Dwi Riding a Horse in Texas?
It is possible to be charged with Dwi while riding a horse in Texas. But a horse seems to be less of a device than a bike. This activity can be a more dangerous than a bicycle for all involved. So the horse riding situation might be more favorable to prosecute than a bicyclist while intoxicated. This is another case I would take to a jury trial.
What is the Maximum BAC While Driving Commercial Vehicle?
A person driving a commercial vehicle must be below .04 blood alcohol content or they are considered driving while intoxicated. A 1st conviction for driving a CMV at or over .04 BAC will suspend a license for 1 year. A 2nd conviction will suspend a CDL for life.
This is not talked about much, but it would be legal to have a couple drinks and drive a CMV. That is as long as a person is under .04. This would be rare since most people driving a commercial motor vehicle are working and company policies would not allow drinking alcohol on duty.
Can I Drink and Fly an Airplane?
A person cannot drink within 8 hours of flying an aircraft. However a person can have alcohol in their system as long as it is below .04.
Why is DUI BAC in Texas No Tolerance?
After writing this blog post I am more confused than I was before. I already knew all the material but now I sit and reflect on the reasoning. It is mind boggling and probably the result of legislature pandering to the masses.
Most states allow a minor to drive up to a .02. Texas and ten others are no tolerance for alcohol in minors. That is somewhat understandable. But according to Federal Law a commercial pilot can fly a passenger plane up to a .04 BAC. How does this make sense?
A commercial truck driver can drive an 18 wheeler with a weight up to 80,000 pounds legally as long as the driver is under .04 BAC.
A minor driving a car must be 0.00 BAC. This tells me it has nothing to do with safety and everything to do with just keeping minors from consuming alcohol.
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