There are multiple differences between DWI and DUI in Texas. The two primary distinctions are:
- Age: Driving under the influence (DUI) charges are reserved for minors.
- Severity: DUI charges carry less severe penalties than driving while intoxicated (DWI) charges.
DWI Penalties Versus DUI Penalties
DWI is a more serious charge than DUI. However, the penalties for both have the potential to change your life, perhaps permanently.
Whether this is your first conviction or your third, you stand to lose:
- Money: DWI fines can range from $2,000 to $10,000.
- Time: You could spend as little as a few days in jail or as long as 10 years in prison.
- Mobility: DWI charges generally involve the suspension of the offender’s driver’s license. You could lose yours for as little as 90 days or as long as 2 years.
As the Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) explains, only minors receive DUI charges. However, a minor may be charged as an adult and face a DWI conviction at the arresting officer’s discretion.
The severity of DUI penalties also depends on whether you have any prior convictions—and if so, how many. While slightly different and less stringent than DWI penalties, these consequences will affect similar spheres of your life, as follows:
- Money: The maximum fine for a DUI charge is $500.
- Time: While you do not have to serve jail time, you may have to serve 20 to 60 hours of community service. You may also have to attend alcohol awareness classes.
- Mobility: You could lose your license for as little as 60 days or as long as 2 years. Again, the length of your sentence depends on prior convictions.
Other Alcohol-Related Charges May Affect Your Sentence
According to Chapter 106 of the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Code, it is illegal for a minor to:
- Drink alcohol
- Purchase or attempt to purchase alcohol
- Drive while under the influence of alcohol
- Lie about their age in order to buy alcohol
In addition, it is illegal for anyone of any age to:
- Drive with an open container of alcohol
- Drive drunk with a child in the car
- Injure or kill someone while driving drunk
If you are facing any such charges in addition to the DWI or DUI, the penalties you could receive may be harsher than those already discussed.
A Lawyer from Our Firm Can Help with Both DWI and DUI Cases
Whether you have been charged with DWI or DUI, legal representation from one of our attorneys can help you to:
- Understand your rights under the law
- Make the best possible legal decisions
- Defend yourself in and out of the courtroom
Services We Offer Clients Facing DUI or DWI
First, our firm offers free consultations to prospective clients. This service allows you to learn about your options quickly and easily. You can then decide to hire our team to:
- Investigate and look for evidence, so your defense will be as strong as possible
- Try to get the charges dismissed so that you can get back to your normal life right away
- Try to get the charges reduced so that you will spend less time in jail, less time without your driver’s license, and less money on fines and fees
- Present your case in court so you have a passionate advocate to present evidence, question witnesses, and deliver oral arguments
- Advise you about the best course of action, so you can be confident that you are making the best possible legal decisions
A Conviction Can Radically Alter Your Life
Even a first conviction can impact how you:
- Find a job: DWI offenses stay on your record permanently, so all prospective employers will know about your conviction.
- Get to work or school: Being deprived of your license or having to attend awareness classes can interfere with your ability to fulfill your academic and professional obligations.
- Interact with others: Coworkers, friends, and family may change how they think about you based on your conviction.
- Think about yourself: Spending time in jail or having a permanent criminal record can affect your self-esteem and mental health.
- Save money: Even a quick conviction and a small fine can deplete your savings, force you to take out a loan, or hamper your ability to earn a living.
You do not have to give in to your charges without a fight. A defense attorney from our firm could identify civil rights violations or holes in law enforcement’s case that may help us dismiss or reduce your charges.
Our Defense Team is Here for You
Randy Isenberg, the founder of the Law Offices of Randall B. Isenberg, has been a prosecutor, a judge, and a defense attorney during his thirty years in law. He and his team are devoted to helping people avoid penalties such as those described above.
To understand the difference between DWI and DUI in Texas, your rights, and your legal options when facing such charges, call us at (214) 696-9253 for a complimentary consultation.