What is the Difference Between a DWI and a DUI in Texas?
A DWI and a DUI might sound the same, and in some states, they are. But in Texas, they are distinct charges related to drinking and driving. The primary differences are the age of the person charged, the level of intoxication, and the resulting punishment– if convicted. If you are charged with a drunk driving offense in Texas, no matter which classification it falls under, make sure you have a seasoned Plano and Dallas DWI lawyer on your side.
DWI in Texas
DWI is short for “driving while intoxicated,” according to Texas Penal Code, Section 49.04. The statute states that it applies to any person who operates a motor vehicle in a public place while intoxicated. This means either of the following:
- Having reduced physical or mental capacity as a result of the consumption of alcohol, dangerous drugs, or a controlled substance; or
- Having a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of at least 0.08.
Anyone of any age can be charged with a DWI if their BAC is above the legal limit.
DUI in Texas
DUI stands for “driving under the influence.” It is also sometimes referred to as DUIA– driving under the influence of alcohol and is defined at Section 106.041 of the Alcoholic Beverage Code.
The DUI statute specifically applies to anyone under the age of 21 who is caught driving in a public place with any amount of alcohol in their system. This means a minor can be charged without having to meet the BAC threshold of 0.08.
Penalties for DUI and DWI
DWI offenses are generally charged at higher classifications than DUIs, but the long-term consequences of either can be difficult to move past.
If it is your first DWI offense in Texas it will likely be charged as a Class B misdemeanor, while DUIs are charged as Class C misdemeanors . Both can result in license suspension, fines, and community service. If someone is injured because of drunk driving, a DWI may be classified as a felony and result in a prison sentence.
The stated punishments are only a part of the equation. When you have been convicted of a crime like DUI or DWI, you will need to disclose it on employment, education, and professional license applications for years to come. These repercussions can impair your ability to move forward in your life.
Tackle a DUI or DWI charge head-on with a Plano lawyer
The consequences of a drunk driving offense are far-reaching but there are ways to limit the damage by being proactive. If charges are anticipated but not yet filed, it may be possible to prevent it. If you have been charged, your attorney may be able to negotiate a plea to a lesser charge or fight it in court to avoid a conviction.
At Peveto Law, we put your priorities first and use our knowledge of the laws and the system to minimize the impact that a criminal charge will have on your future. Call today to schedule a free consultation.
- Texas Department of Public Safety, Driver License Document DL-20, https://www.dps.texas.gov/DriverLicense/documents/DL-20.pdf
- Texas Alcoholic Beverage Code, Section 106.041 DRIVING OR OPERATING WATERCRAFT UNDER THE INFLUENCE OF ALCOHOL BY MINOR, https://statutes.capitol.texas.gov/Docs/AL/htm/AL.106.htm#106.041