While many individuals may use the terms “DWI” and “DUI” interchangeably, there are significant differences between the two criminal offenses under Texas law. In considering any criminal charges that you may be facing, it is essential to know the distinction between the two crimes and their differing penalties.
Driving Under the Influence (DUI) is a violation of Texas Alcoholic Beverage Code Section 106.041 that applies only to minors, or individuals under the age of 21. Under this criminal offense, minors can be charged with DWI if they are driving with any detectable amount of alcohol in their systems that is under the legal limit, or a blood alcohol concentration of .08. Therefore, a minor’s blood alcohol concentration level or level of impairment is irrelevant for this crime. Typical penalties for a DUI, which is a Class C misdemeanor, include a fine of up to $500, up to 40 hours of community service, mandatory alcohol education sessions, and a driver’s license suspension of up to 60 days. There is no jail time for a DUI conviction.
On the other hand, Driving While Intoxicated (DWI) is a violation of Texas Penal Code Section 49.04 and is therefore a more serious criminal offense. Any individual, whether a minor or an adult, may be charged with DWI if he or she has a blood alcohol concentration of .08 or greater or is driving while impaired. The penalties for DWI, predictably, are far more severe. Individuals convicted of DWI as a first offense can face up to 180 days in jail, a fine of up to $2,000, and a driver’s license suspension of up to one year.
When you are charged with any type of criminal offense in the state of Texas, including DUI or DWI, you need an experienced criminal defense attorney to represent your interests from the very beginning of your case. We are here to evaluate the facts surrounding your case, present your options, and provide you with the strongest defense possible. Contact Peek & Toland at (512) 474-4445 today and set up an appointment to speak with our legal team.