DWI or DUI? What's the difference between the two?

 Many states don't have a distinction between Driving while Intoxicated (DWI) and Driving under the Influence (DUI). In Texas, the difference is a matter of age.


Texas law says a person commits the offense of DWI if he or she is intoxicated by the introduction of alcohol and/or drugs in their system. The law defines intoxication as having a BAC (Blood Alcohol Content) level of .08 or higher OR losing the normal use of mental or physical faculties because of alcohol or drug use.

A first time DWI is a class B misdemeanor. The range of punishment is a fine not to exceed $2000 and/or up to 180 days in jail. A first time DWI can be enhanced to a class A misdemeanor if your BAC is .15 or higher. The range of punishment for a class A misdemeanor is a fine not to exceed $4000 and/or up to a year in jail.

A DWI in the state of Texas is one of a few charges that can be enhanced each time you receive a conviction.

If you are arrested for DWI, your license could be suspended. You have 15 days from the date of arrest to request an ALR (Administrative License Revocation) hearing. If you do not request a hearing, your license will automatically be suspended for 90 days to 2 years depending on if the offense is a first time or subsequent offense.


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The legal drinking age in Texas is 21 and over. It is illegal for anyone under the age of 21 to have any amount of alcohol in their system. If you are under the age of 21 and have any detectable amount of alcohol in your system, you could be arrested for DUI. Officers normally use DUI charges when pulling over a minor under suspicion of drinking and driving.

A first time DUI is a class C misdemeanor. The range of punishment is a fine not to exceed $500. However, if you are under the age of 21, you could still be arrested for DWI at the discretion of the arresting officer. If you are arrested for DUI, your license could be suspended as well.

There are many ways that a DWI charge can be handled. If you find yourself arrested for DWI/DUI, contact our office so we can help you resolve your case today.

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