What’s the difference between DUI and DWI?

While most states use the terms DUI and DWI to refer to the same type of charges, in Texas, they are two distinct terms. Driving under the influence (DUI) and driving while intoxicated (DWI) in Texas are determined by the age of the driver involved in the charge.

DUI in Texas: Zero Tolerance

Any person who is under the legal drinking age is Texas, age 21, and is stopped and subsequently is tested with any amount of alcohol or illegal drugs in their system will face a misdemeanor charge of DUI. The driver need not be impaired by the alcohol or drugs to face these charges.

DUI Penalties in Texas

Those who are under the age of 21 will face a Class C misdemeanor charge for a DUI. A first-time offender will face the suspension of their driving rights for a period of time between 60 and 180 days. The length of time is determined by whether the driver submitted to a chemical test and whether they passed the chemical test. If this is not a first-time offense, the driver will lose their license for 180 days to two years depending on when the last offense occurred. Drivers may also have to pay a fine of upwards of $500 plus pay to have their license reinstated.

DWI Charges in Texas

Driver who are over the age of 21 and facing DWI charges should be aware of the consequences. First, the driver will be facing a Class B misdemeanor punishable by up to 180 days in jail and fines of up to $2,000. Drivers will also have to request an administrative hearing within 15 days of their arrest since they will have their license confiscated at the time of their arrest. In some cases, the driver may be eligible to apply for an occupational license. Your Texas DWI attorney can help you determine your eligibility and assist you in filling out the forms to obtain the appropriate court order.

DUIs and DWIs Remain on Your Record

Texas used to look back 10 years when you were charged with a DWI or a DUI. While the registry may look back only 10 years when determining the length of time your license is suspended, criminal courts will look at your entire driving history, including out-of-state DWI convictions.

Driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs is prohibited by law in all states as there is evidence that your ability to drive safely is impaired. Any person who is stopped on a Texas roadway and facing charges needs an attorney who is experienced in DUI/DWI laws and statutes and can help you with both the administrative license hearings and criminal proceedings.

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