You know that driving drunk is against the law, and this may be the limit of your knowledge. The fact is that the State of Texas takes impaired driving very seriously, but this does not mean that it is illegal to get behind the wheel after having a glass of wine with dinner. In fact, it is far more complicated than that, and – if you are facing a DWI – you are well-advised to have an experienced Fort Hood criminal lawyer on your side.
The Legal Limit
In Texas – as in virtually every other state – the legal limit for blood alcohol concentration (BAC) is 0.08 percent. If your BAC is below this percentage threshold, it is not illegal for you to get behind the wheel and drive. The matter, however, does not end here. If – in the opinion of the arresting officer – you appeared impaired by the alcohol in your system (even if your BAC was below the legal limit), you could still face a DWI charge. Signs officers commonly site as being indicative of impairment include:
Behavior that is considered irrational
The appearance of being confused, dazed, or disoriented
Behavior that is considered combative
The fact is that being pulled over by the police – under suspicion of drunk driving – can leave even the steadiest among us rattled, which can lead to suspect behavior.
The Implied Consent Law
Every motorist in Texas is subject to the state’s implied consent law, which states that – if pulled over under suspicion of driving while intoxicated – you are required to agree to a blood alcohol test. For motorists who are over the age of 21, the following legal limits apply:
For the majority of drivers, the 0.08 percent BAC limit applies.
For those motorists who are driving with a commercial driver’s license, the limit is a 0.04 percent BAC. This limit holds whether the commercial driver is behind the wheel of his or her own private vehicle or of a commercial vehicle.
If a motorist’s BAC meets or exceeds 0.15 percent, the charge is elevated to a Class A misdemeanor (DWI charges for BACs that range from 0.08 to 0.15 percent are generally Class B misdemeanors).
For Motorists Who Are Not Yet 21
For those motorists who have not yet reached the legal drinking age of 21, Texas laws are even harsher. It is not legal for this pool of drivers to have any alcohol in their blood. This fact means that if alcohol is detected – even if your driving was not necessarily affected – you could face a DUI (driving under the influence) charge.