DWI vs. DUI FAQ

WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN DWI AND DUI IN TEXAS?

In Texas, we call driving a vehicle while intoxicated a “DWI” – the acronym for Driving While Intoxicated – which is the name of the offense in the penal code. However, it is common to hear the term “DUI” used as a synonym for a DWI because in some other states (e.g. California), their similar offense is called “Driving Under the Influence.”

SO THERE IS NO "DUI" IN TEXAS?

Well, there actually is a DUI in Texas, but it is a class C ticket (up to a $500 fine and license suspension). A “DUI” in Texas is for the offense of being under 21 years old and driving a vehicle while having any amount of alcohol on your breath (but not enough to be intoxicated). For example, if a police officer pulls over an 18 year old kid for speeding, then smells a little alcohol on their breath, the kid would get a Class C ticket - DUI. The key word being “influence” – meaning that any amount of alcohol is enough to “influence” behavior (even a tiny bit). However, if the officer felt the kid was intoxicated, the kid would be arrested for a DWI.

OK. SO WHEN SOMEONE IS ARRESTED FOR BEING INTOXICATED AND OPERATING A MOTOR VEHICLE IN TEXAS, IT IS CALLED A “DWI?”

Yes, in Texas.

IF SOMEONE SAYS THEY GOT ARRESTED FOR A “DUI” IN TEXAS, THEY PROBABLY MEANT “DWI.”

Probably.

I STILL HAVE QUESTIONS.

No problem. Give us a call – (512) 472-1113 – we’re happy to answer any questions. Or you can e-mail us.

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