It is a Class B misdemeanor to violate the Texas statute on driving while intoxicated, so you could face criminal punishment and a driver’s license suspension for a conviction. Many of these cases hinge on the definition of “intoxicated,” and you might be surprised to learn that there are two different ways to violate the law:
- Your blood alcohol concentration (BAC) is in excess of .08 percent as determined by a chemical test; OR
- You do not have normal use of physical or mental capabilities due to the consumption of alcohol, regardless of what a chemical test reveals.
When considering these factors, you can see that evidence will play a central role for both the prosecution and defendant. The prosecutor needs proof beyond a reasonable doubt to obtain a conviction, while your Houston DUI defense lawyer may need information to support a dismissal or acquittal. As a result, you should be generally aware of the types of evidence that can make or break your case.
- Chemical Tests: The prosecuting attorney will build an entire DUI case around the results of a breathalyzer, blood, or urine test. You might assume that no defenses exist because the science is solid. However, there are ways to contest BAC results from chemical tests by introducing your own evidence. For instance, you may have proof that:
- The machine was not properly inspected or calibrated;
- The person conducting the test was not qualified;
- The machine is out of warranty; or
- You were not told of your rights before submitting to the test.
- Police Reports: An incident report of officers’ recollections will be important evidence if impairment is the focus of your drunk driving case instead of BAC. The police report contains the subjective observations and opinions of the officers who interacted with you, such as remarks about bloodshot eyes, slurred speech, or unsteady gestures. It is possible to contest this evidence through a body- or dash-cam that captured footage of the roadside stop.
- Field Sobriety Tests: When police have a hunch that you may have been drinking, they may request you to perform FSTs during their investigation. Your performance on these tests could be important evidence in two respects:
- If you fail an FST, this may be enough for police to make an arrest. Officers can then test for your BAC, and the results can be used as evidence.
- Your failure on an FST can also bolster police impressions of your level of intoxication, also evidence to support a DUI conviction.
Again, there are defense opportunities with FSTs. If you were affected by a medical condition, bad weather, poor visibility, or other conditions, this evidence is less convincing.
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Contact a Houston Drunk Driving Defense Attorney
While these items will play a key role in a Texas DUI case, retaining experienced legal counsel is essential for developing strategies around the evidence. For more information on fighting drunk driving charges, please call 713-489-7373 or go online to set up a consultation with Houston DWI Lawyer Tad A. Nelson.