DWI and DUI in Texas: What's the difference?

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What is the Difference Between DWI & DUI in Texas?

Many people in Texas confuse Driving While Intoxicated (DWI) with Driving Under the Influence (DUI). In Texas, the two terms are different. DWI = driving while intoxication. DUI = A minor having any detectable amount of alcohol in their system.

DWI in Texas

Texas Penal Code 49.04 says a person commits a DWI offense if they are proven to be “intoxicated while operating a motor vehicle in a public place.” Intoxication is usually the most contested issue at trial.

There are three ways to prove intoxication in Texas:

  • loss of normal use of mental faculties
  • loss of normal use of physical faculties
  • .08 or greater blood alcohol concentration

DWI is much more serious than DUI. DWI carries the following penalties in Texas:

  • Jail time and even imprisonment if it’s a 3rd offense or more
  • Stiff fines
  • Possible drive’s license suspensions
  • DPS surcharges.

A DWI can be as low as a class B misdemeanor all the way up to a third-degree felony.

DUI in Texas

A DUI is defined as a minor having any detectable amount of alcohol in their system. Under Texas law, Section 106.041 of the Alcoholic Beverage Code makes it illegal for a minor to operate a vehicle in public while having any alcohol in their system.

A DUI in Texas is a class C misdemeanor. The maximum fine is $500, up to 40 hours community service and a 60-day driver’s license suspension. There is no possibility of jail time for a DUI. However, a DUI is still serious and a conviction for a DUI or any alcohol-related offense can affect job opportunities, college scholarships and/or getting into college.


If you have been arrested for DWI or DUI you need a skilled attorney who knows how to aggressively fight alcohol-related charges. Smith & Vinson Law Firm has had success in getting DUI and DWI cases dismissed or reduced to a lesser offense. We fight hard to avoid you having a DWI or DUI conviction on your record forever.

For more information, please call or e-mail us to set up a free consultation. Our number is (512) 359-3743 and e-mail us here.

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