Reckless Driving vs DUI: What’s the Difference?

Every year in Texas, there are over 6,000 car crashes involving DUI for drugs and alcohol. 

If you’re charged with DWI in Texas, you can expect to face stiff penalties. In some cases, the charge of DWI gets pled down to reckless driving.

Comparing reckless driving vs DUI will give us some insight into what each charge means and how it will affect you. These two charges are much different in weight and gravity. Let’s take a look at what constitutes each charge and what the possible penalties are.

Reckless Driving vs DUI: What’s the Difference?Reckless Driving vs DUI

Both offenses involve operating vehicles in what is deemed an unsafe manner. Reckless driving is a citation that covers a lot of aggressive or dangerous driving practices.

DUI is short for driving under the influence, and in the state of Texas, you’ll be charged with DWI, driving while intoxicated.

Reckless Driving

Reckless driving is a misdemeanor charge that can be given out to anyone who shows willful or wanton disregard for the safety of people or property. Being convicted of reckless driving carries legal sanctions that can include a fine and jail time.

Driving While Intoxicated

A DWI can be handed out to anyone who is driving under the influence of any drug or alcohol. The legal limit for alcohol in the blood in Texas is .08, but a DWI can be given regardless of blood alcohol content. This also applies to the use of illegal or prescription drugs.

If you’re convicted of DWI in the state of Texas, you can expect to receive a suspended license, a large fine of up to $2,000, and continued expenses in maintaining a license for several years. If you’re convicted of a DWI with a minor in the vehicle, you face much steeper penalties, including prison time.

Contrasting the Charges

Reckless driving is a serious charge for a driver. The severity of the infraction can increase the penalty you receive. Unsafe driving can lead to fatal car crashes, just like driving under the influence can. You can expect that auto insurance premiums will go up after being convicted of reckless driving.

Driving while intoxicated is a serious offense that increases in sanction each time it’s committed. Repeat offenses can lead to prison time. In Texas, you can expect that you’ll lose your license for even longer on the second and third offense. The third DWI in Texas could also land you in prison for up to 10 years.

Insurance costs will rise because of both, but DWI will have a more lasting impact on your record. Reckless driving does not disqualify you from driving for a living or show up on most background checks. DWI has a much larger stigma attached that will follow you long after you pay your fines.

DWIs Can Follow You

In the state of Texas, one of the apparent differences you should compare in reckless driving vs DUI is the length of time on your record. Texas law only allows DWI charges to be expunged under particular circumstances.

Most of the ways to remove a DWI charge from your record only apply if you aren’t convicted. You can recover after a first offense, but any additional charges of DWI will become impossible to remove. This means that your DWI will follow you even when you apply for jobs and loans.

It’s clear from the sanctions that you shouldn’t take either charge lightly. DWI is a much more severe criminal offense in Texas than a reckless driving charge is. The penalties are much higher, and those convicted face a much more significant disruption to their life.

DWIs Can Become Reckless Driving

Are you wondering how to get a DUI dropped to reckless driving? The answer depends on your specific case.

A lawyer can negotiate with a prosecutor and secure a lesser charge. There are a lot of contributing factors to make this possible, and a lawyer will need to know the specifics of your case.

Factors that will help are if it’s your first offense and you have a clean criminal record. If there’s questionable evidence that can be tossed out, even better. Anything that convinces the prosecutor they don’t have an open and shut case could enable your lawyer to fight for a reduction of charges.

If you’re facing a DWI charge, you must seek legal counsel. If you don’t, there’s no chance your charges will be reduced. The prosecutor doesn’t have to agree to anything, and without legal understanding, you’ll be unable to sway them.

The Differences are Obvious

Comparing DWI vs reckless driving leads us to the only reasonable conclusion. A DWI is a more serious offense in every way. If you can get a DWI reduced to a reckless driving charge, you’re in a much better position.

The reckless driving vs DUI question is one that is relatively one-sided. Any DWI charge you’re faced with will have immediate consequences that can disrupt your entire life. The only way to avoid serious penalties is to get your charges reduced. The only way to do that is to have a good lawyer and a good case.

Those charged with DWI can expect that their world will change. Those charged with reckless driving will have to pay a fine. The best defense against a DUI is not to drive while intoxicated. If you do, don’t let your life be destroyed by one mistake. Contact us today so Hamilton & Grant can help you.

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