We all know that driving after drinking is legal but it is not always a good idea. But if you enjoy a relaxing drink with dinner or while watching a game, how do you know exactly what “intoxicated” means? In Texas, the law defines driving while intoxicated (DWI) in a verity subjective way. But did you know that police can arrest you for DWI even without measuring your blood alcohol content (BAC)?
Driving While Intoxicated in Texas
Police can show that you are driving while intoxicated in one of two ways:
- You no longer have normal control over your physical or mental faculties; or
- Your BAC measures .08% or higher on a breath or blood test.
Police generally look for signs that you are driving while impaired during a traffic stop. They will observe your behavior and may ask you to perform some field sobriety tests. It's important to remember that these observations and field sobriety tests are extremely subjective. They involve a judgment call on the part of the arresting officer. As a result, they are easier to challenge in court for a DWI specialist experienced in exposing the confirmation bias of the arresting police officer. But the police can arrest you based solely on their subjective observations and the field sobriety test.
The BAC tests, usually a breathalyzer or blood test, are more objective. A breathalyzer test is more unreliable than a blood test, but you and your attorney can challenge the results of both in court or an ALR hearing. If you refuse a BAC test after your arrest, the police will seek a warrant to compel you to take a blood test. And if you refuse testing, the state will automatically suspend your license.
BAC Level Limits
The legal BAC limit for drivers in Texas is .08%. However, the state holds commercial drivers to a higher standard. Police can arrest commercial drivers for driving while impaired if your BAC is .04% or higher. In some cases, this means the police can arrest a commercial driver after only one drink.
Unfortunately, if you are a commercial driver, you can lose your license even if you are not found guilty of driving while impaired. Deferred adjudication also counts as a conviction for commercial license purposes, resulting in your license suspension. If you refuse BAC testing, you'll end up with the same result. Moreover, it's important to note that you can lose your commercial license if you are arrested for driving while impaired in your passenger car. If the police arrest you for DWI and you hold a commercial driver's license, it's important to retain an experienced DWI defense attorney as soon as possible.
Attorney Doug Murphy is one of only two Texas lawyers Board Certified in DWI defense by the National College for DUI Defense and Board Certified in criminal defense law by the Texas College of Legal Specialization. Best Lawyers in America also recently named him the “Lawyer of the Year” for 2021 DWI defense based on his Houston legal peers' reviews.
If you're facing a DWI in Houston, you need expert legal advice, and we can help. Give us a call at 713-229-8333 to set up a consultation today.