Can I Be Charged with DWI if I Was Under the Legal Limit?

Most people are aware that under Texas law, as in every other state in the U.S., anyone who drives with a blood alcohol content (BAC) of .08 percent or more can be charged with driving while intoxicated (DWI). There is, however, a second part of the DWI law in Texas with which many are not familiar. Under this portion of the law, a person can be charged with DWI if the state can prove that he or she was intoxicated through other evidence, including how the driver was acting at the time of the arrest.

Although it is true that a person can be convicted of DWI when their BAC is less than .08 percent, falling beneath this threshold is a strong defense to these kinds of charges, so if you have questions about your own DWI arrest and how your BAC could affect your case, please call one of our experienced Houston DWI lawyers for help.

Legal Blood Alcohol Limit

Although Texas law sets the DWI threshold at .08 percent, police can also arrest drivers in the absence of this evidence. Basically, law enforcement officers have the discretion to arrest drivers for being impaired, regardless of the amount of alcohol in a person’s blood. Officers only need to believe that the accused didn’t have the normal use of his or her mental or physical faculties because of alcohol or drug use to arrest someone for DWI. In fact, drivers can be arrested for DWI even if they have no alcohol in their system, as this law also covers intoxication via drug use, including prescription medications. However, in order to obtain a conviction, the state will need to prove, beyond a reasonable doubt, that the driver was impaired.

Other DWI-Related Evidence

In cases where a driver didn’t exceed the .08 legal limit, but is still being charged with DWI, prosecutors will need to provide other evidence demonstrating impairment, such as:

  • Eyewitness testimony of police officers or bystanders;
  • Footage from an officer’s dash or body cam;
  • Footage from a bystander’s cell phone; or
  • Video recordings from a nearby security camera.

Houston DWI Lawyer Tad A. NelsonConvicting someone of DWI when that individual didn’t exceed the legal limit usually requires the production of strong evidence. Any video recordings, for instance, should be clear, so that the defendant can be properly identified. Further, any recordings will need to be authenticated to ensure that they are an accurate representation of a defendant’s actions at the time of the arrest. These recordings will also need to show specific behaviors, including obvious stumbling or slurred speech.

Even in these cases, an experienced defense lawyer could undercut the value of this evidence by demonstrating that a defendant was on a valid prescription medication or suffered from a medical condition that mimicked some of the signs of impairment.

Arrested for Drunk Driving in Houston?

Call Tad Nelson, the Experienced DWI Lawyer

If you were unfairly charged with DWI, please call Houston DWI Lawyer Tad A. Nelson at 713-489-7373 to discuss your case and go over options to get your charges dismissed or deferred.