Texas DUI vs. DWI

Texas DUI vs. DWI

Texas DUI vs. DWI – What’s the difference?
The first thing that a person must understand after having been arrested for DUI or DWI is that there are two separate cases pending against them. The first case is the DUI or DWI criminal case and the second is the DUI or DWI civil case.

Texas DUI vs. DWI – Driving Under the Influence Civil Case:
Texas has long been known as a “zero tolerance” state, meaning that minors (anyone under 21 years of age) are not permitted to consume any alcohol and drive a vehicle.

Texas DUI vs. DWI

Texas DUI vs. DWI – The Law: The Department of Public Safety adheres to this public policy and will suspend the driver’s license of any minor who is found to be operating a vehicle after consuming any detectable amount of alcohol. In other words, if an officer testifies that he or she could smell an odor of alcohol coming from a minor’s breath, the Department of Public Safety can suspend that person’s license automatically for 60 days and possibly up to 120 days. Generally, an officer will simply give a citation to a minor if he or she feels that there is only a small amount of alcohol and can then release them to an adult. However, if the officer feels that the minor is possibly intoxicated, that individual can be arrested for DWI. Intoxication is not an element of Driving Under the Influence. If an ALR hearing is requested, the Department of Public Safety is only required to prove that the officer had 1) a reason to stop the car and 2) a reason to believe that the minor had consumed any amount of alcohol or had any detectable amount of alcohol in their system.

Texas DUI vs. DWI – Driving Under the Influence Criminal Case:
Driving Under the Influence is a Class “C” misdemeanor punishable by  no time in jail and  a maximum fine of $500.00 for a first time offender. Repeat offenders would be subject to higher fines and the possibility of jail time. Probation, alcohol assessments and classes, as well as, community service are also required by most prosecutors.

Texas DUI vs. DWI – Driving While Intoxicated:
Driving While Intoxicated is a common criminal offense which can happen to anyone. The penalties for DWI  are dependent upon the severity of the offense, as well as an individual’s history. DWI convictions can be used to enhance an offense, meaning that an old conviction will be considered in punishment of a second conviction. The same is true for any license suspension which may occur after an arrest.

Intoxication can occur in one of three ways in Texas. If a person provides a specimen of blood, breath, or urine which shows a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of .08 or greater at the time of driving then they are intoxicated by law. Likewise, a person may be intoxicated because of a loss of their normal use of mental OR physical faculties by introduction of alcohol, illegal drugs, prescription drugs or a combination of these.
DWI encompasses numerous types of vehicles including automobiles, boats, planes, amusement park equipment and other water vessels. If a person is shown to be operating any of these while intoxicated, they risk serious consequences.
Minors can also be arrested for DWI. If a person is under 21 years of age and is operating a motor vehicle, they will be subject to the same penalties as an adult in both the criminal and civil cases with one exception – the license suspension for a minor who provides a specimen above a 0.08 will be for 60 days instead of 90 days.

Texas DUI vs. DWI – Driving While Intoxicated Civil Case:
A person who is arrested for a DWI can face significant automatic license suspensions. If a person who submits to a breath or blood test has a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) at or above 0.08, an automatic license suspension for a minimum of 90 days and up to 1 year will occur.  If a person has a previous alcohol related contact, like a DWI, within ten years and they provide a specimen, their license will be suspended for a term of not less than one (1) year.


DWI Attorney And DUI Attorney
Law Office of Gabriella C. Young, P.L.L.C.
818 West Tenth Street
Austin, Texas 78701
(512)499-0890 Office (512)354-7503 Fax