Although the terms are often used interchangeably, a DWI and a DUI are not the same thing in Texas. Both offenses involve drinking and driving, but a DUI only applies to drivers under the age of 21. Here’s a look at the main differences between DWI and DUI in Texas.
What is a DUI in Texas?
A DUI refers to Driving Under the Influence and is an offense reserved for drivers under age 21. In Texas, if you are 21 or older, the law allows you to drink and then drive, as long as you are not intoxicated. If you are under 21, however, you cannot drink and then drive, period. If you are under 21 and have any detectable amount of alcohol on your breath, you can be charged with DUI. If you are intoxicated – meaning you have a blood or breath alcohol concentration of .08 – you can be charged with Driving While Intoxicated (DWI), regardless of your age.
What is a DWI in Texas?
A DWI refers to Driving While Intoxicated, an offense that occurs when a motorist has a blood or breath alcohol concentration of .08 or more or if they are impaired due to drugs or other substances in their system. Police can test for intoxication through field sobriety, breath or blood tests – or all three. Again, you can be charged with a DWI at any age in Texas.
What is the Punishment for a DUI vs. a DWI in Texas?
A DUI is a Class C misdemeanor punishable by a maximum $500 fine. The driver’s license is also suspended at the time of arrest or ticket and an additional suspension will occur if convicted.
A first-time DWI is a punishably by three to 180 days in jail and a fine of up to $2,000. If the BAC was greater than .15, the punishment is up to a year in jail and up to a $4,000 fine for a first offense.
What are Some of the Main Differences between DWI and DUI in Fort Worth?
A DWI is a much more serious offense than a DUI. Here’s a look at some of the other differences between a DWI and a DUI in Fort Worth:
- You can only be charged with a DUI if you are under 21 in Texas. You can be charged with a DWI at any age.
- DUI charges are based solely on the consumption of alcohol. DWI charges can be based on the use of alcohol, prescription drugs, dangerous drugs or a combination of any of those.
- In a DWI case, the state is required to prove the driver was intoxicated. In DUI cases, the state is only required to prove “any detectable amount of alcohol.”
- Driving Under the Influence is a Class C misdemeanor punishable by a maximum $500 fine. A first-time DWI charge in Texas carries a jail sentence of 3 days up to 180 days and up to a $2,000 fine.
- The DWI statute can be found in the Texas Penal Code. The DUI statute is indexed in the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Code.
Learn More About the Difference Between DWI and DUI in Fort Worth
If you’ve been charged with either a DUI or a DWI in Fort Worth, nothing can replace talking to a DWI attorney who is experienced in handling intoxication cases. Our team can help you understand the difference between a DUI and a DWI and how these charges could potentially impact your future. The worst thing you could do is attempt to handle the case alone. Our team is experienced in all types of intoxication cases and have a proven track record. Call us today for a free consultation with a seasoned Fort Worth DWI lawyer.