DUI v. DWI - What's the Difference?


It's illegal drive while intoxicated, period. Don't do it. But what if you've had a couple drinks at a networking event or party? There's no law against enjoying an alcoholic beverage and driving ...

If you're of legal age and not impaired.


Let's talk about DUIs v. DWIs.


Do you know the difference between a DUI and a DWI in Texas?

Driving Under the Influence (DUI) is the criminal offense for a minor who's had any amount of alcohol. The maximum punishment is a $500 fine and it's pretty easy to prove since minors should not be having any alcohol whatsoever.

Driving While Intoxicated (DWI) is the adult criminal charge (remember, "adult" is 17yo in Texas). If your breath/blood is over .08 our you've lost your ability to drive safely due to drugs or alcohol, that's a DWI. Depending on your blood/breath alcohol level and/or how many you've had before, DWI charges can be Class B Misdemeanor offenses all the way up to felony offenses.


Be safe, don't drink and drive.


If you are pulled over for suspicion of DWI, here are some practical tips that you can use:

1. You DO NOT need to tell the officer where you are coming from or where you are going.

Yes, they'll ask. It's part of their DWI investigation. If you say you're coming from a bar, guess what? You'll probably be pulled out of the car! Politely say, "sir/ma'am, my lawyer told me that I didn't have to answer any of these questions, so I won't. Will I be getting a ticket?" At that point, one of two things will happen - they'll continue the investigation or they'll write you a ticket and let you go. Stay strong and don't answer questions about your day, even if they give you a hard time.

2. You DO need to provide your license and answer truthfully about your name, date of birth, etc.

If you lie about who you are, you may get charged with Failure to Identify, which is a misdemeanor offense (you could go to jail). If you don't provide your license, you may get ticketed for Driving Without a License (a hefty fine). Be polite and hand over the info.

3. DO NOT participate in the Standard Field Sobriety Tests (SFSTs).

Do not create evidence against yourself! You may think you've got the balance of a USA gymnast but (newsflash) you don't. SFSTs are designed for even the most agile to fail. Politely refuse them.

4. It is YOUR RIGHT to refuse any breath/blood tests.

"No refusal weekend" is not a real thing. You have a constitutional right to refuse any blood or breath test. The next step would be for the officer to get a warrant for your blood from a judge. The decision to refuse a test is up to you, but I recommend it. Again, you're consenting to evidence being collected, which waives your right to challenge police conduct or a warrant for an illegal search or unlawful arrest. Most people who think they're under to legal limit aren't.

Be polite and respectful, but know your rights!

Oh ... and one more thing ...

BONUS TIP: If you're in an accident and are arrested for DWI, depending on your insurance, even if you're liable for the accident, they will cover the damages.