What’s the difference between a Texas DUI conviction—known as driving under the influence, and a Texas DWI—driving while intoxicated? Both include serious penalties, but if you’ve just been charged with either, you should know they aren’t exactly the same thing.
In many US states a DUI is the only charge you’ll receive, and state by state DUI laws highlight the different fines, fees, and penalties you can receive with your charge. Specifically in Texas, what you are charged with depends on a few factors.
What is a Texas DUI charge?
In Texas, you can be charged with DUI if you are stopped by police and your blood alcohol content (BAC) is below the legal limit of .08. If you receive this charge, it’s a Class C misdemeanor on your record.
You can also be charged with Texas DUI if police determine you are a minor and you are driving with any amount of alcohol in your system. That means if you are a minor and you blow into a breathalyzer and register anything other than zero, you can be charged with DUI.
What is a Texas DWI charge?
In contrast to the Texas DUI, a Texas DWI is a charge when a person has been stopped for driving while intoxicated, with intoxicated being defined as having a .08 reading on a breathalyzer or having physical or mental impairment due to alcohol or drugs.
A Texas DWI is a Class B misdemeanor. That can change if you are arrested with a BAC over 0.15 or if you hurt or killed someone because you were driving drunk. In that case your crime could jump up to a felony, and you could be going to prison.
Penalties for both DWI and DUI
Whether you have been charged with a Texas DUI or a Texas DWI, you’ll be receiving penalties for those charges. The penalties for a Texas DUI will be less severe and could include a driver’s license suspension and fines. Penalties for a Texas DWI could include fines, a driver’s license suspension for a year, and the possibility of an ignition interlock device in any vehicle you drive.
In Texas, just like everywhere else, if you don’t want to pay the price, don’t drink and drive.