Request a Free Call Back

DUI vs. DWI in Texas: Understanding the Difference

We’ve all heard of the terms DUI and DWI, but there is often confusion about what they actually mean.  In fact, some people use these terms interchangeably, even though they come with different sets of rules and penalties. 

Free Case Review
Request a no obligation
Free case review




    We’ve all heard of the terms DUI and DWI, but there is often confusion about what they actually mean.  In fact, some people use these terms interchangeably, even though they come with different sets of rules and penalties.  While DUI is short for “driving under the influence,” DWI means “driving while intoxicated.” Knowing the difference between these two is important just in case you or anyone you know finds yourself being charged with one of them.  Even more, every state has different rules, and Texas is no exception.  So, what’s the real difference between a DUI and DWI in Texas?  Let’s take a look.

    DUI vs. DWI in Texas

    Both a DUI and a DWI apply to individuals who operate a vehicle in a public space while intoxicated.  However, these two terms have key differences.

    DWI in Texas

     

    DWIs are taken very seriously in Texas.  A person can be convicted of a DWI if their breath or blood alcohol levels exceed the legal amount, which is .08 percent.  However, you can also be charged if you lack normal use of mental or physical faculties due to alcohol or other controlled substances, even if you blow under .08 percent.  The charges that a person can face depend on how many DWIs they have previously received.

    • First offense: This is considered a Class B misdemeanor and carries a maximum fine of $2,000, a jail sentence up to 180 days, a license suspension of up to 1 year, and annual surcharges of up to $1,000 for 3 years.  However, lawmakers have considered easing DWI penalties; you can read more about this here.
    • Second offense: This is considered a Class A misdemeanor and carries a maximum fine of $4,000, a jail sentence up to 180 days, a license suspension of up to 2 years, and annual surcharges of up to $1,500 for 3 years.
    • Third offense: This is considered a 3rd degree felony and carries a maximum fine of $10,000, a license suspension of up to 2 years, and annual surcharges of up to $1,500 for 3 years.  It can also result in a two to ten year sentence in state prison.

    These cover the general guidelines for three of the offenses that a person can receive.  That said, the charges can change depending on the circumstances.  For instance, if your breath or blood alcohol levels are over .15, then the DWI can have more severe penalties.  Alternatively, if you have a child passenger while driving or the DWI results in the bodily harm or death of another person, then the charges will also vary.

    DUI in Texas

     

    The big difference between a DUI and DWI is the amount of alcohol in the system and the age of the driver.  The Zero Tolerance Law in Texas prohibits minors (anyone younger than 21 years old) to drive after consuming any amount of alcohol.  This means that if a minor has any detectable amount of alcohol in their system, then they are considered as driving under the influence.

    According to Texas Penal Code Section 106.041, a DUI is considered a Class C misdemeanor and has more lenient penalties.  The driver should expect a $500 fine, a 60-day drivers license suspension, 20 to 40 hours of community service, and a mandatory alcohol awareness class.  If a minor who is not a child has been previously convicted at least twice for the same offense, then they will receive a maximum fine of $2,000, a jail sentence up to 180 days, and up to 60 hours of community service.  These charges may vary depending on the age of the minor; if they are 18 years or older, the charges could be more severe than if they are younger than 17 years of age.

    It’s important to point out that just because the driver is a minor, does not mean they are exempt from receiving a DWI.  If they blow over a .08, then they can also receive a DWI.

    What to Do if You’re Charged with a DUI or DWI

    Although a DWI is a more serious charge than a DUI, both should be taken seriously.  Since both of these charges can be put on your criminal record, they can affect your opportunities in the future.  To get the best possible outcome and get the smallest penalty, it’s important that you’re represented by an experienced lawyer.  Your lawyer will explain the different penalties based on what you’re being charged with and guide you throughout the entire process so that you feel comfortable and receive 24/7 support.  If you’re in need of a lawyer, give us a call at AMS Law Group.

    Testimonial
    I RECOMMEND AMS LAW GROUP FOR LEGAL ISSUES
    I really appreciate AMS Law group, particularly DIANA, for legal issues. She is very best team member in the AMS Law group and she has lot of patience to give answers for all questions. All issues are resolved. I will recommend this group for legal issues.
    Testimonial
    EXPERIENCED ATTORNEYS THAT YOU WANT ON YOUR SIDE
    I want to extend my greatest appreciation to AMS Law Group, as well as recommend anyone seeking legal assistance to contact AMS for their services! I felt I had true advocates that invested in my case to help reach the fair conclusion I was seeking. I am beyond thankful because 10 years of stress weighing on my shoulders was resolved in a matter of months to the benefit of my kids and I. AMS is a team of professional, knowledgeable and experienced attorneys that you want on your side!
    Testimonial
    AMS LAW GROUP GUIDED ME THROUGH A DIFFICULT SITUATION
    Hazim and the team at AMS law group are the best in the business! They guided me through a difficult situation while giving me peace of mind. Look no further if you are needing personal injury lawyers! My family and I can't thank you enough!
    Testimonial
    ONE OF THE BEST OFFICE EVER TO SOLVE CASES
    I would like to say that the AMS group one of the best office ever to solve lots of cases.I dealt with that office my self and they were able solve a fix my case easily.I would like to thank mister Fady for everything.thank you very much for everything.
    Testimonial
    I WOULD RECOMMEND AMS LAW GROUP TO ANYONE
    Amazing staff. They fight hard for you. After one call, Mr. SAM and his team immediately started working on my case. Always available if you have any questions. he explain every step and he’s there for you throughout the whole process. I would recommend him to anyone. And by the way just call him Mr. the man with the plan.