Law Office of Kimberly N. Shanklin, PLLC.
Serving Denton County Since 2002
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DUI vs. DWI

What it is and what it means

The terms DUI (Driving Under the Influence) and DWI (Driving While Intoxicated) are often used interchangeably in conversation, but the terms are two distinctly different charges under Texas criminal law. Section 49.04 of the Penal Code in Texas defines the two charges.

Driving Under the Influence (DUI)

A DUI occurs when an individual under the age of 21 operates a motor vehicle while under the influence of any amount of alcohol or other drugs. A DUI is a Class C Misdemeanor in Texas and carries with it no jail time. The maximum punishment for a DUI in Texas is a $500 fine. A defendant may be ordered to engage in community service, complete alcohol awareness classes, or they may be required to give up their driver’s license.

Driving While Intoxicated (DWI)

Conversely, A DWI occurs when an individual over the age of 21 operates a motor vehicle with a blood alcohol concentration greater than 0.08% or is impaired due to other drug use. If an individual is charged with a DWI while they have passengers younger than 15 inside the vehicle they may also be charged with child endangerment and face additional penalties. If you refuse to perform a breath test or blood test your license will automatically be suspended for 180 days. The penalties for a DWI in Texas vary depending on how many prior offenses an individual has.

First Offense

  • A fine of up to $2,000

  • 3-180 days in jail

  • Loss of driver’s license up to 1 year

  • Annual fee of $1,000 or $2000 for 3 years to retain driver’s license

Third Offense

  • $10,000 Fine

  • 2-10 years in prison

  • Loss of driver’s license up to two years

  • Annual fee of $1,000, $1,500, or $2,000 for three years to retain driver license

Second Offense

  • A fine of up to $4000

  • One month - 1 year in jail

  • Loss of driver’s license up to two years

  • Annual fee of $1,000, $1,500 or $2,000 for three years to retain driver license

DWI With Child Passenger

  • A fine of up to $10,000

  • Up to two years in a state jail

  • Loss of your driver license for 180 days

The full online archive of the Texas Constitution and Statutes is available through https://statutes.capitol.texas.gov/