In: Criminal Defense

How can Prosecutors Prove I was Drinking and Driving in Texas?

Prosecutors must prove every criminal offense beyond a reasonable doubt in order to secure a conviction. This requires that they provide evidence to the judge or jury, which the defendant has the opportunity to challenge. Different types of evidence are used for different types of crimes, and there are different ways that prosecutors can prove charges of driving while intoxicated (DWI).

BAC Level

The most concrete evidence of drinking and driving is having a blood alcohol content (BAC) above the legal limit. The legal limit is different for certain individuals, as follows:

  • 08 percent = Adult, non-commercial drivers
  • 04 percent = Drivers of commercial vehicles
  • 00 percent = Drivers under age 21

Note that there is a zero-tolerance law for underage drivers. If an underage driver has any discernible amount of alcohol in their system, it is enough for a conviction. For others, the prosecutor can demonstrate their BAC was above a certain level to secure a conviction.

Some evidence of BAC might include:

  • Breathalyzer tests
  • Blood tests
  • Urine tests

With all of these, you want a defense attorney to review the results and testing procedures to determine whether analysts or officers made any errors. Even small errors in testing can skew the results, making it appear that you are over the limit when you are not. This means that even concrete BAC results are not infallible or automatically enough proof that you should be convicted of DWI.

Officer Observations

The law prohibits driving with an unlawful BAC, but it also generally prohibits driving with your abilities impaired. Many factors determine how impaired you might feel after a certain amount of alcohol, and some people can be impaired without having an unlawful BAC.

In these cases, police officers can testify to signs of impairment that they noticed during your traffic stop or at an accident scene. Signs include:

  • Red or watery eyes
  • Confusion or being slow to react or answer questions
  • Slurred speech
  • Lost balance when standing or walking
  • The odor of alcohol
  • Open containers in the vehicle

Officers can also report that you “failed” field sobriety tests, which test other signs of impairment besides BAC. You do not have to agree to field sobriety tests, and you should generally refuse to participate. Even sober people can make mistakes in an intimidating situation with the police, so declining FSTs is often a wise choice.

When an officer takes the witness stand, it is often months after the traffic stop, and they have likely pulled over many drunk drivers since then. Your defense lawyer can challenge the officer’s memory regarding signs of impairment to bring doubt to the prosecutor’s evidence.

Speak with a Frisco, Texas DWI Defense Lawyer Right Away

Are you facing allegations of DWI in the Frisco or Lewisville areas? Do not wait to learn how a DWI defense attorney from the Law Office of Brent D. Bowen, PLLC, can help. Contact us for a consultation today, so we can begin protecting your rights.