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Britt Redden Explains: The Difference Between DUI and DWI in Texas

This article will address the difference between Driving Under the Influence (DUI) and Driving While Intoxicated (DWI).

In the area of law, there is much focus on DUI and DWI convictions. Over the last 10 years, drunk-driving arrests in Texas have dropped 33%, according to a study by the US Drug Test Center. Yet in 2018, it was estimated that there were nearly 260 DUI arrests per 100,000 people. It’s obvious that there is more awareness around driving drunk in Texas. However, DUI and DWI are still a very common crimes in Dallas and across the great state of Texas.

As a result, it is extremely important to be knowledgeable of the differences between the two crimes. Understanding the distinctions between DUI and DWI can be a complicated process—one that a reputable and reliable defense lawyer can clear up. The two terms are not interchangeable and should not be used as such.


Is a DUI a Felony in Texas?

In Texas, the key difference in DUI law and DWI law is the age of the defendant, said Britt Redden. Only individuals under 21 years of age (under the legal drinking age) can be charged with a DUI in Texas. Essentially, a DUI entails driving under the influence for a minor operating a motor vehicle in a public place while having a detectable amount of alcohol in his or her system.

In Texas law, a DUI is a Class C misdemeanor. This type of misdemeanor comes with fines up to $500, as well as a driver’s license suspension and community service sentence. The offender would also possibly be enrolled in an alcohol awareness course. An experienced defense attorney can better explain the possible outcomes under DUI law.


Is a DWI a Felony in Texas?

DWI, or driving while intoxicated, often carries a heavier penalty in Texas than driving under the influence. As the age of the perpetrator is over 21, DWI offenses are taken very seriously in Texas. The state has some of the most stringent penalties for repeat DWI is measured by the BAC or BAC score of the defendant (blood alcohol content). This is usually measured by a breathalyzer test or a blood test.

Individuals with an alcohol concentration of .08 or more will be charged with an offense. Under the eyes of Texas law, DWI is a Class B misdemeanor, and comes with a minimum punishment of 72-hour confinement. What’s more, under Texas law individuals can be arrested for a DWI offense if the police feel their driving ability is affected, regardless of whether the BAC score is above the legal limit. In Texas, a first DWI offense comes with a $2,000 maximum fine cost, up to six months behind bars, a driver’s license suspension, and $1,000 fine for three years afterwards to keep one’s license. In Texas, DWI penalties grow larger with each passing offense (2nd DWI offense, 3rd DWI offense, etc.).


When charged with a misdemeanor, felony drug offense, crime involving possession of firearms, etc. do contact Britt Redden, of Redden Law PLLC for a free legal consultation.   Individuals must choose an experienced criminal defense attorney from Dallas, who fights for dismissal of charges by preparing a powerful legal defense strategy.

When the Red and Blue lights are lit, call Britt!

Schedule your free legal consultation.