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What is Driving While Intoxicated?

In Texas, DWI is not “Drunk Driving”

“Drunk Driving” is not specifically prohibited in Texas law.  Instead, the state laws forbid driving while “intoxicated”.  Most people probably think that “intoxication” means that a person is “drunk”.  In fact,

the dictionary definition of “intoxicated” is “affected by or as if by alcohol : drunk.”

Texas Legislature wanted to make it easier for Texas prosecutors to prove DWI case so they simply redefined the word “intoxicated” for the purpose of DWI to remove the requirement that jurors believe the driver was drunk.

Here's how the Texas Penal Code defines “Intoxication”

not having the normal use of mental or physical faculties by reason of the introduction of alcohol, a controlled substance, a drug, a dangerous drug, a combination of two or more of those substances, or any other substance into the body; or (B) having an alcohol concentration of 0.08 or more .

Consider how vague the “loss of normal use” standard is.  If a police officer believes that you have lost the normal use of your faculties, what does that imply?  How does that officer know what your normal physical mental or faculties are?  Every person has a whole range of behavior that is normal for that person, depending on their mood, tiredness level, anxiety, fear, elation, injuries they have sustained, and a myriad of other possible factors. What's more, each person's “normal” behavior can change from day to day and hour to hour.  Most police officers will even readily admit to this fact during cross examination.

The fact is that officers will testify and swear to know that the arrestee's behavior is outside the normal range because the officer is trained and educated to believe that he has a special, scientifically validated ability to detect intoxication!

Just as the State of Texas legislature was able to invent their own definition for “intoxication”, Texas police officers can also simply invent evidence that shows you meet their new definition.  Officers will have no difficulty citing types of driving behaviors that they are taught are evidence of the driver's intoxication.

Field sobriety testing is another great example of how officers are taught to create their own definitions of intoxication.  The “SFSTs” were designed to detect specific blood alcohol levels (not even the legal standard of .08) and are unreilable at best in detecting this level.  SFST's are designed to confuse and disorient the driver by subjecting him to complicated tests, given in a high-pressure situation, with very high stakes and high performance required.

The tests themselves in no way relate to actual driving tasks–no driver will ever stand on one leg, recite the ABC's, walk down a straight line toe-to-toe or close his eyes, tilt his head back and estimate the passage of thirty seconds' time while he is driving.

However, officers are taught to use these exact SFST's as evidence that a driver has lost his mental and physical faculties to such an extent that he is an unreasonable, criminal risk to other drivers on the road.

If you or a loved one is arrested for DWI in Williamson or Travis county or anywhere in Central Texas, you need to Contact  Board Certified Criminal Defense Attorney Russ Hunt, Jr. to fight for your rights and ensure that you do not suffer from a DWI conviction that you do not deserve.

You Are Not Alone

Russ knows that dealing with a criminal charge is an unpleasant experience. He is here for each of his clients through every step of the process, and will make sure that you receive the best representation possible. You will always be able to reach Russ when you have questions about your case. You can be assured that he will fight to obtain the best possible outcome.

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