Understanding the Difference between DWI and DUI in Texas
Driving Under the Influence (DUI) applies to minors under 21 who drive with a detectable amount of alcohol in their system. Driving While Intoxicated (DWI) applies to anyone 17 or older who drives with either a .08 bac or drugs which cause the loss of their normal mental or physical faculties.
Driving Under the Influence (DUI)A person can be charged with driving under the influence if the person is under 21 and has a detectable amount of alcohol in their system. This is a very low standard. A police officer commonly will pull over someone under 21, and if they smell alcohol, will charge them with DUI. However, If the person appears intoxicated, they will charge them with DWI. A DUI is a class c misdemeanor.
Driving While Intoxicated (DWI)A person commits the offense of driving while intoxicated if they are “intoxicated while operating a motor vehicle if in a public place.” "Intoxicated" does not mean drunk. It is defined as the loss of normal physical or mental faculties because of alcohol, drugs, or having a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.08 percent or more. Police officers commonly use three field sobriety tests: the horizontal gaze nystagmus (HGN) test, the walk and turn test, and the one leg stand test to see if someone is intoxicated. They will use a breath machine to test your breath or take a blood sample to test your blood to determine your BAC.
A person's first DWI offense is a Class B misdemeanor, unless a person has a BAC 0.15 percent or more, in which case the offense is a Class A misdemeanor. A person's second DWI is a class A misdemeanor, a person's third is a 3rd degree felony. If intoxication leads to bodily harm of someone, it can be considered a third or second degree felony.