You may be wondering what the differences are between a DUI and a DWI in Texas and if there are different punishments for each.

Here are the answers to those questions, along with some advice for how and why you should hire an Austin DWI lawyer if you’ve got charges against you.

Defining DUI

DUI stands for Driving Under the Influence—but note that actually driving is not required. Under Texas law, “operating” a vehicle (in other words, “functioning” or “enabling its use”) while intoxicated is sufficient for a conviction.

In Texas, a DUI is only issued to minors (a person who is under the age of 21) when they are caught driving with any detectable amount of alcohol in their system. Adults 21 and over do not get DUIs in Texas.  

Defining DWI

DWI stands for Driving (or “operating a vehicle”) While Intoxicated.

In Texas, a DWI is issued to a minor or adult who is impaired by drugs or alcohol or who has a blood or breath alcohol concentration (BAC) of .08 or higher.

The Differences in Penalties for a DUI and a DWI in Austin, TX

There are some serious differences in penalties for a DUI and DWI, especially when it comes to a second or third offense or any other variations.

DUI for Minors Under 17 Years Old (First Offense)

  • Fine up to $500
  • Minimum 60-day license suspension
  • 20 to 40 hours of community service
  • Attendance of an Alcohol Awareness Course

Learn more about what you can expect as a first time DWI offender.

DUI for Minors 17-20 Years Old (Repeat Offenders)

  • 72 hours to 180 days of jail time
  • Fine up to $2,000
  • Minimum 1-year license suspension
  • Community supervision
  • Use of an Ignition Interlock Device

DWI for Adults (First to Third Offense, and Dependent on BAC)

  • 72 hours up to 1 year in jail for first and second offenses an 2 years to 10 years in prison for third offenses.
  • Fines up to to $10,000
  • 90 days to 2 years of license suspension
  • Use of an Ignition Interlock Device
  • For third offenses becoming a convicted felon and disqualification from voting or possessing a firearm

Other DWI crimes that carry harsh punishments include:

  • DWI with a child under 15 years old in the vehicle
  • DWI while operating a commercial vehicle
  • Intoxication assault
  • Intoxication manslaughter

How Hiring an Austin DWI Lawyer Can Help

Hiring an Austin DWI lawyer can significantly help your DUI or DWI case. An experienced attorney who has a long record of success representing such cases knows the complicated ins and outs of Texas law, recognizes common missteps taken by police and prosecutors, and will work hard to get you a dismissal, a fair plea deal or a reduced sentence.

Contact The Law Office of Eric Harron today for your free DUI or DWI case consultation!