DWI or DUI in Texas | Fort Worth Criminal Defense Attorney
If I drink and then drive, will I go to jail? The difference between DWI and DUI in Texas
by Fort Worth DWI Attorney Benson Varghese
In Texas, if you are 21 or older, the law allows you to drink and then drive, as long as you are not intoxicated. If you are under 21, however, you cannot drink and then drive. If you are under 21 and have any detectable amount of alcohol on your breath, you will be charged with Driving Under the Influence (DUI) and if you are intoxicated, you can be charged with Driving While Intoxicated (DWI). If you’ve been charged with one of these offenses, nothing can replace talking to a DWI attorney who is experienced in handling these cases, but here is a primer to get you started on the differences between DWI and DUI in Texas.
- While the DWI statute can be found in the Texas Penal Code, the DUI statute is indexed in the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Code.
- A first-time DWI is classified as a Class B misdemeanor when a “person is intoxicated while operating a motor vehicle” or if they had “an open container of alcohol in [their] immediate possession (unless a blood, breath, or urine test showed an “alcohol concentration level of 0.15 or more at the time the analysis was performed,” in which case it is a Class A misdemeanor). Tex. Penal Code § 49.04(a)-(d). On the other hand, a person under 21 (a minor) commits a Class C misdemeanor DUI, which does not require an arrest, if operating “a motor vehicle . . . while having any detectable amount of alcohol” in their system. Tex. Alco. Bev. Code § 106.041(a) (emphasis added).
- You can only be charged with a DUI if you are under 21 in Texas. You can be charged with a DWI at any age in Texas.
- DUI charges are based solely on the consumption of alcohol. DWI charges can be based on the use of alcohol, prescription drugs, dangerous drugs or a combination of any of those things.
If you have been arrested in Tarrant County, you will want to find a Fort Worth DWI attorney who can guide you through your options. Call the attorneys at Varghese Summersett PLLC, for a free consultation at 817-203-2220.