People ask me all the time “what is the difference between DWI and DUI?” The short answer is: DWI stands for Driving While Intoxicated and DUI stands for Driving Under the Influence. It would appear that these terms are interchangeable. DWI vs DWI: just phrasing right? Not in Texas.
In Texas, there is actually a meaningful distinction between the two terms. Texas has a zero tolerance policy for minors who consume alcohol and then drive. That means that in Texas if you are a minor you don’t have to be legally intoxicated to receive a citation for DUI. A DUI is a class C misdemeanor. DWI is what you would be charged with if you were driving while legally intoxicated (over .08 BAC.) A first time drunk driving offender in Texas could receive a fine up to $2,000. You could be confined in jail for no less than 72 hours and up to 180 days. The fines and jail time only go up from there. Fines could reach $10,000 and a minimum of two years in jail for a third offense. If you are charged with this crime it is important to find a good DWI lawyer to help you fight these charges.
Both of these charges also carry the threat of license suspension. It is important to request an ALR hearing with 15 days of being charged to fight your license suspension. A DWI lawyer can represent you at your license suspension hearing and possibly keep you from having your license suspended.
You should consult a DWI attorney if you are charged with either of these offenses. Texas is tough on those charged with this crime and Harris County comes down particularly hard on DWI offenders.