DWI means that you are over 21 and had a blood alcohol concentration of 0.08 or more. Your first DWI conviction can result in up to 180 days in prison with a minimum of 3 nights in jail. It can result in a fine of up to two thousand dollars. You’ll lose your driver’s license for at least six months and more often a year. Texas tacks on extra penalties if you have a BAC over 0.15 or were driving with a child in the car. If you cause a traffic accident while drunk that severely injures someone, the charges are upgraded to a third degree penalty.
A DUI means driving under the influence. This category only applies to drivers under 21. On the other hand, there is no minimum BAC. If you’re drunk, if you’re high, if you fail a field sobriety test, you can be charged. Fortunately, the zero-tolerance approach has some upsides. One is that it is much easier to get the DUI expunged from your record, especially on completion of a drug and alcohol awareness program, paying modest fines and completing community service. Note that the penalties can be increased if you cause injury to others while driving.
Texas has a third category of DUI called BUI or boating while intoxicated. You can be punished if you are driving the boat with a BAC over 0.08 or doing so in an unsafe manner. Unlike a car, it is not illegal to have an open alcohol container in the boat or watercraft.