The terms DUI and DWI mean the same thing in the State of Texas. Both acronyms are used to describe someone who drives with a blood alcohol count (BAC) that’s over the legal limit. Both terms also refer to alcohol and drug-related driving incidents. Many people confuse these terms, because they think they have two different meanings. In some states, they do have separate definitions (with DUI referring to driving incidents that are purely alcohol-related and DWI referring to drug-related driving incidents).
When a Driver is Considered Legally Drunk in the State of Texas
Non-commercial drivers over the age of 21 are legally drunk when their blood-alcohol level is .08 or more. Commercial drivers, on the other hand, need to be below a .04 blood-alcohol level. This law also includes school bus drivers. People under the age of 21 are considered legally drunk when they have any amount of detectable alcohol in their system. Be sure to speak to a qualified attorney for information.
Penalties for a DUI in Texas
Your first conviction for a DUI in Texas will lead to jail time of up to 180 days, a fine of up to $2,000, or both. Your driver’s license will also be suspended for 90 days. If you get a second conviction up to five years after your previous offense, you’ll face up to one year in jail, a fine of up to $10,000, or both. Your driver’s license will be suspended for one year. If you commit a third DWI in Texas within five years after a prior offense, you’ll face a prison sentence of 1-10 years, a fine of up to $10,000, or both. Your driver’s license will also be suspended for one year. If you commit a DUI in Texas while someone under the age of 15 is in the vehicle, it will lead to a prison sentence of 180 days to two years. You’ll also be fined up to $10,000.
If you’re a commercial driver and you commit your first DUI in Texas, you won’t be able to drive a commercial vehicle for one year. This law applies to both commercial and non-commercial vehicles. But if you’re a driving a commercial vehicle that’s transporting hazardous materials, the period of disqualification is three years. If you commit a second DUI offense in the State of Texas, you’ll be disqualified from commercial driving for life.
DUI Laws for Underage Drivers in the State of Texas
The DUI penalties for underage drivers apply to anyone who is under the age of 21, even if they’re at least 18 years of age. These penalties are listed as follows:
- First DUI Offense — A fine of up to $500 and an order of community service for 20-40 hours, which must be related to education about the prevention or misuse of alcohol. Your driver’s license will be suspended for 30 days.
- Second DUI Offense — A fine of up to $500 and an order of community service for 40-60 hours, which must be related to education about the prevention or misuse of alcohol. Your driver’s license will be suspended for 60 days.
- Third DUI Offense — A fine of $500 to $2,000, a jail sentence of up to 180 days, or both. Your driver’s license will be suspended for 180 days.
In the State of Texas, any licensed drinking establishment can be held liable for personal injuries that were caused by the intoxication if it served alcohol to someone who was obviously drunk to the point where this person was a clear endangerment to him or herself and others or if it knowingly served alcohol to someone under 21 years of age.
Your Best Choice for a Criminal Defense Attorney in Corpus Christi!
If you’re facing a DUI conviction and are looking for one of the best criminal defense attorneys in the Coastal Bend, Gale Law Group is here to help. If you’re facing criminal charges, you don’t want to go it alone. You want to have a qualified attorney by your side — someone who understands the ins and outs of Texas criminal laws. We have a team of people who can help you come up with a solid defense. So if you want to work with a criminal defense lawyer in Corpus Christi that will fight for you, be sure to get in touch with us. We would be happy to answer any questions you may have about any possible defenses that can be used in your case!