What Is the Difference Between DWI and DUI in Texas?
In Texas, a Driving While Intoxicated (DWI) charge and a Driving Under the Influence (DUI) charge are two separate charges. DWI is driving under the influence of some any substance—it does not have to be alcohol that impacts the normal use of your mental or physical faculties. It can be any substance, but it must be a sufficient amount of intake to impact your ability to physically control a vehicle or mentally respond to things happening around you.
A DUI is generally a charge reserved for people under the age of 21. If they have any amount of alcohol in their system while driving, they can be charged with a DUI. It doesn’t have to impact their mental and physical faculties in the same way that a DWI does.
What Information Is Someone Stopped by Law Enforcement in Texas Required to Provide During a DWI Investigation?
You are only required to provide your identification information if you are pulled over for a DWI. You should state your name and give them a copy of your driver’s license, but that’s really the only information you should give them. Beyond that, you should decline to answer any other questions.
What Mistakes Do You See Made When People Provide Information to Law Enforcement During a DWI Stop?
First, people often try to explain away and minimize their actions to law enforcement when they are pulled over for suspicion of DWI. We joke, everybody’s just head two beers…that’s usually an understatement. By revealing this, you’ve given the officer something to go on and when it turns out that you didn’t have just two beers, you had four, you look like a liar. It makes it even more difficult to go to trial when you’ve given a false statement.
The second mistake I see made is people take the roadside sobriety tests, which I generally recommend not to consent to. That sobriety test is designed not to help you, but to find evidence they can use against you. It will only be used against you in the same way that anything you say will be used against you.
The final mistake I often see is consenting to a search of your vehicle or your person. Never consent to a search. That doesn’t mean fight them, always be a pleasant and agreeable person, but that doesn’t mean you consent. You can say, “I don’t give you authorization to search my car or my person.” When they demand to search it, you step aside and let them. You can sort those details out down at the courthouse.
Should I Provide Law Enforcement With the Evidential Breathalyzer or Blood Test at the Station?
The simplest advice any lawyer can give about providing evidence to law enforcement…just say no. Any first-year law student knows this by the end of their first day of criminal law class—just say no. Don’t consent to the Breathalyzer, don’t consent to the field sobriety tests, don’t try to talk your way out of it, and don’t try to answer the officer’s questions.
What Are the Consequences of Refusing a Breath or Blood Test?
The consequences of refusing a blood or breath test is your driver’s license will be suspended for a period. In Texas, driving is a privilege, it’s not considered a right. In gaining that privilege, you have essentially given authorization or consent when you get your driver’s license that if you are stopped for DWI, you agree to take a Breathalyzer or blood test. If you don’t comply, then you also understand that you’re going to have your driver’s license suspended for a time.
For more information on DWI Law in Texas, a free initial consultation is your next best step. Get the information and legal answers you are seeking by calling (940) 440-5250 today.