Driving While Intoxicated (DWI) versus Driving Under the Influence (DUI)
What is the Difference in Texas?
We are often asked the question,“What is the difference between DWI and DUI?”
A DUI (Driving Under the Influence-Minor) is a class C misdemeanor. The offense is found in Section 106.041 of the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Code. Essentially, DUI is reserved for minors who have any detectible amount of alcohol in their body.
A DWI (Driving While Intoxicated) is a class B misdemeanor. The offense is found in section 49.04 of the Texas Penal Code. A person can be charged with DWI, regardless of age, if they a) have lost the normal use of their mental or physical faculties or b) have an alcohol concentration over the legal limit of .08.
So, a person may be charged with DUI, only if he/she is under 21 years of age and has a detectable amount of alcohol in his/her system. While a person of ANY age, can be charged with DWI where they are over the legal limit of .08 blood alcohol content or have lost the normal use of their faculties.
A peace officer in the State of Texas has the OPTION to charge you with DWI regardless of your age. If the officer believes you have had too much to drink, you can be charged with DWI whether you are 15 or 50.
Be advised that both DUI and DWI can be devastating. A DUI, is punishable by a fine only and a DWI arrest means a person faces from 3-180 days in jail and/or up to a $2,000 fine. However, both offenses can have long lasting negative effects on your employment, insurance and driving record.
If you have the unfortunate experience of being arrested for a DWI, DUI or any other criminal offense, please call our office now.
As a former state and federal prosecutor, Tray Payne can help you in your time of need.