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

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

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


DWI is defined in 49.04 of the Texas Penal Code. The relevant language says that 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; or .08 or greater blood alcohol concentration.

DWI is much more serious than DUI. DWI carries possible jail time and even imprisonment if it’s a 3rd offense or more. A DWI conviction carries stiff fines as well. Further, a DWI conviction carries possible drive’s license suspensions, as well as DPS surcharges. A DWI can be as low as a class B misdemeanor all the way up to a third-degree felony.


A DUI is defined as a minor having any detectable amount of 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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