What’s the Difference Between a DUI and a DWI?
In Texas, DUIs are charged only to minors and are classified as traffic offenses. As a result, they are not considered to be as “serious” of a crime as DWIs and often result in penalties such as minimal fines, community service, alcohol awareness classes, and/or license suspension.
DWIs, in contrast, are charged to adults who are 21 or older. Depending upon the driver’s level of intoxication, previous criminal charges, and the amount of damage caused, their penalties can range from large fines to jail time or even prison.
How Drunk Is “Too Drunk” in Texas?
The number you’re most likely to hear when discussing intoxication levels in Texas is 0.08%. That percentage refers to the blood alcohol content (BAC) level that qualifies as “too drunk” for the vast majority of Texas drivers. However, the cutoff changes for certain types of people:
- Drivers who are 21 or older - 0.08%
- Commercial drivers - 0.04%
- Drivers under 21 years of age - Any alcohol or drugs discovered
If you get pulled over and suspect that your BAC level is too high for comfort, know that it is within your rights to refuse a breathalyzer or blood alcohol test. It is also within your rights to refuse to answer questions or to take a field sobriety test. Understand, too, that your refusal will result in an automatic 180-day driver’s license suspension.