Many people want to know the difference between DUI and DWI in Texas.
Unlike some other states, there is a real distinction between the two abbreviations under Texas law.
You should understand the difference between the two abbreviations and how they might apply to you.
If you face drunk driving charges, you need a sophisticated, dedicated, award-winning San Antonio DWI attorney to represent you.
Our San Antonio DWI attorneys at the Austin Hagee Law Firm are award-winning defense attorneys with a proven track record of success and case results.
To get started, contact us online or call 210-500-3700 today.
What Is a DWI in Texas?
DWI is an abbreviation for “driving while intoxicated.” According to Texas law, driving while intoxicated in a public place is a crime. But how does Texas law define intoxication?
According to Title 10 § 49.01(2)(A-B) of the Texas Penal Code, intoxication means not having the normal use of your mental or physical faculties after drinking alcohol or consuming a controlled substance, or both, or driving with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.08% or greater.
DWI is a Class B misdemeanor with a maximum sentence of up to 180 days in jail. The courts in Texas can give you deferred adjudication for your first offense only.
The law recognizes two aggravating factors that increase your exposure to harsher penalties. Having an open container of alcohol in your vehicle when arrested for DWI carries a six-day minimum jail sentence, with 180 days maximum.
Subsequent convictions expose you to greater penalties as well. A second conviction is a Class A misdemeanor.
However, a third or subsequent DWI charge is a third-degree felony that carries a potential sentence of 2 to 10 years in the Texas Department of Criminal Justice.
What Is DUI in Texas?
DUI refers to “driving under the influence.” But the State can charge you with a DUI regardless of how much alcohol is in your bloodstream.
But in Texas, DUI generally only applies to minors and is called a DUI, or “driving under the influence of alcohol by a minor.”
This law differs from DWI, because no person under 21 can legally consume alcohol, regardless of whether they are driving or not.
Therefore, the 0.08% “legal limit” does not apply to a minor, since any amount of alcohol in a minor’s system violates Texas law.
The penalties vary depending on the minor’s age and the number of prior DUI convictions. Texas DPS will most likely administratively suspend the minor’s driver’s license for 60 days for a first offense. If the minor is under 17, the court treats a first-offense DUI as a Class C misdemeanor.
This carries a penalty of 20 to 40 hours of community service, a $500 fine, license suspension from 60 to 180 days, and compelled attendance at an Alcohol Awareness Course for both the minor and their parent may be required.
A minor between the ages of 17 and 21 faces the same amount of jail time as an adult, between 72 hours and 180 days in jail.
Get in Contact with a Drunk Driving Lawyer in San Antonio Today
Contact Austin Hagee Law Firm today to learn more about the difference between DUI and DWI in Texas from a team of legal advocates who know how to help you protect your rights.
Book a free consultation today with our award-winning attorneys online or call us at 210-500-3700.