DWI Tests in Texas
Dallas DWI Defense Lawyer
In Texas, a driver will be arrested for Driving While Intoxicated (DWI) if he is found to have a Blood Alcohol Content (BAC) of .08% or greater. DWI charges can lead to harsh penalties and costly fines. Whether you are currently facing charges associated with DWI or have general questions associated with DWI, it is in your best interest to educate yourself on the laws in Texas.
If you are suspected of driving under the influence of alcohol, a law enforcement officer has the right to stop you and ask you a series of question and even request that you perform a variety of tests in order to determine whether you are driving while intoxicated.
Initially, the officer will likely have a general conversation with you in order to get a better idea if you have been drinking. This is typically the time at which the officer will request to see your license, proof of insurance, and registration. The officer can often easily observe indicators of impairment through noticing an alcohol odor or slurred speech.
Field Sobriety Tests in Texas
Next, if the officer determines that you have been consuming alcohol, he will likely ask you to exit the vehicle in order to have you participate in one or more field sobriety tests. There are three main tests that are used by Texas law enforcement and others nationwide.
- Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus (HGN): This test allows the officer to observe your eye movement. Specifically, the jerking that occurs when your eyes move from side-to-side. There is always some level of jerking with any individual – sober or not – however, if you have been consuming alcohol, the jerking will be much more apparent.
- One-Leg Stand: In this test, the officer will request that the driver stand with one foot approximately six inches off the ground while counting out loud, for approximately 30 seconds. This test lets the officer observe whether the individual can maintain balance while performing a basic mental task at the same time.
- Walk and Turn: This method requires the driver to walk in a straight line for nine steps, make a turn, and repeat the process in the opposite direction. Again, this test is used to evaluate the individual’s balance and mental capability while performing a simple task.
Chemical Tests Administered by Texas Officers
If the officer believes that the driver is under the influence of alcohol, he may then decide to perform a breath or other chemical test in order to obtain an official BAC.
- Breath Test: Most often, the officer will use a breathalyzer-type device to evaluate one’s BAC. This device can be used at the scene by simply taking a sample of the driver’s breath. The device quickly takes the sample and tests it to determine the BAC.
- Blood Test: Here, the officer will contact medical personnel in order to have the driver’s blood tested to evaluate the BAC. While this method is more invasive and less convenient than a breath test, it may be the most appropriate means for the situation (i.e., the driver is unconscious). After the sample is obtained, it will be sent to a lab that will conclude the driver’s BAC.
- Urine Test: Similar to the blood test, this test is administered by a medically trained individual and the sample will be tested by a lab. This is arguably the most invasive means of determining one’s BAC and is therefore used least often.
Do You Need an Attorney?
If you have been arrested and charged with DWI based on evidence gathered from field sobriety tests and/or chemical testing, you do have options. Contact an experienced defense attorney who will listen to the facts of your specific case and ensure that your rights are protected in court.
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