In the United States, people are involved every day in motor vehicle crashes that involve impaired drivers. Driving while impaired can result in injury and death. The State of Texas takes impaired driving seriously and has some of the harshest punishments for individuals who are convicted of this often fatal transgression. If you have been arrested for impaired driving in Texas, you should know as much as possible about the charges against you. First things first: what’s the difference between DWI and DUI in Texas? Are DWI and DUI the same thing? Read on to learn more.

DWI stands for “Driving While Intoxicated” and DUI stands for “driving under the influence.” Both DWI and DUI are criminal charges resulting from the operation of a motor vehicle with some impairing substance in one’s system. Texas law enforcement officers can stop any driver whom they reasonably suspect of driving while impaired by alcohol or drugs. The DWI and DUI labels are for different offenses; which one is applied depends on the age of the driver and the circumstances of the offense to determine whether the driver is charged with DWI or DUI.

While DWI and DUI are sometimes defined as the same offense in different states, they are separate and distinct violations in Texas. DWI is a criminal offense charged against someone who operates a motor vehicle while intoxicated. The government must prove that the driver was intoxicated at the time he or she was stopped in order for the driver to be convicted. The three ways to prove DWI in Texas include the following:

  1. loss of the normal use of mental faculties;
  2. loss of the normal use of physical faculties; or
  3. having a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.08% or greater.

The charge of DUI differs from that of DWI in Texas. DUI is the charge applied when a minor is caught operating a motor vehicle with any detectable amount of alcohol in their system. (According to Texas law, a minor is any person under 21 years of age.) The police officer who makes the stop in such a case only has to claim he or she detects even the slightest odor of alcohol emanating from a minor driver in order to arrest the driver; no breath/blood testing is required at the scene nor upon arrival to the jail for confirmation, and the officer does not have to administer any Standardized Field Sobriety Tests either.

Note that DWI or DUI charges also can be levied against a Texas driver because of other substances in their system, including illegal drugs (e.g., marijuana, cocaine, heroin, etc.) or even legal prescription drugs (e.g., Xanax, hydrocodone, etc.).

Have you or a loved one suffered injuries in a personal injury accident? The consequences that follow from being charged with DWI or DUI in Texas are typically very severe, so it is important to seek assistance from an experienced attorney. If you need the services of a reputable attorney in the McAllen, Texas area, consider reaching out to Guerra Law Firm, P.C. When you need a lawyer you can trust to help you with a legal case, you can turn to qualified attorney Manuel “Manny” Guerra and the rest of the hardworking and caring team at Guerra Law. Mr. Guerra has practiced law in Texas for more than 20 years and is currently a member of the Texas Trial Lawyers Association. Contact Guerra Law Firm, P.C. at any time online or by calling 956-618-2557.



  • “Impaired Driving”

  • “Sobering Facts: Alcohol-Impaired Driving TEXAS”