For most people, one cocktail, beer, or glass of wine at dinner won’t put them in danger of driving over the legal limit. However, go beyond one drink and the line between sober and over the limit starts to get a bit hazy. This is because everyone is different in terms of how alcohol affects them, how fast they metabolize it, and so forth. Someone who doesn’t understand their own limits may end up facing severe legal consequences for drinking and driving in Texas.
Texas Drinking and Driving Laws
As in every other state, the legal Blood Alcohol Content (BAC) has been set at .08% or higher. A driver of legal drinking age with a BAC at this level will be charged with a DWI in Texas. Drivers under 21, however, have a strict zero-tolerance policy and can be charged with DUI whether or not they have passed the legal limit mentioned above. It is this age limit that is the primary distinction between a DUI and DWI in Texas, although an underage drinker can still be charged with a DWI if they pass the legal limit of .08.
In the case of commercial drivers, the legal limit is capped even lower at .04% for a much stricter standard that reflects the increased danger posed to others by large commercial trucking vehicles.
In order to arrest someone for a DWI, an officer must have probable cause. If the officer has a reasonable suspicion of drunk driving based on swerving, erratic driving, seeing an open container or some other sign of impairment, then they can ask the driver to submit to a BAC test or a field sobriety test. It’s important to note that under implied consent laws, every driver in Texas must agree to submit to a test if they are asked. If you refuse to take a test or fail a test, then the officer has enough probable cause to arrest you.
How Much Is Too Much?
There are a number of factors that affect intoxication and it isn’t always the best indicator to rely on how someone feels after drinking. Let’s face it, some people can drink to excess and not feel drunk, while others can get tipsy off of one drink. Men and women tend to metabolize alcohol differently, and factors such as muscle mass, genetics, and weight also affect absorption and metabolism rates. Other external factors such as the amount of food consumed before or while drinking, the use of prescription medications, or health conditions may also affect the level of intoxication.
Generally speaking, a woman weighing up to 140 pounds could be legally intoxicated with as few as two drinks in an hour. Whereas a man weighing up to 220 pounds may be able to drink four or five in an hour before reaching the legal limit.
With so many different factors affecting intoxication, it can be tough to know when you’ve passed the legal limit, which is why it is always a better idea to rely on a designated driver or take public transportation if you’ll be drinking. Even one drink can impair your ability to drive safely on the roads.
But if you or a loved one has been arrested for a DUI or DWI in Texas, then it is important to understand the seriousness of the charges faced and the need to retain the services of an experienced drunk driving lawyer like those at Fears Nachawati. While the mistake of drinking and driving can’t be changed, it’s important to note that the outcome and consequences are not written in stone, which is why it is crucial that you have an experienced drunk driving attorney on your side who will fight to ensure that your rights are protected and will help you navigate the complicated legal process ahead.
In order to schedule your free, no-obligation legal consultation please call (866) 705-7584 or visit one of our offices located throughout the state of Texas, including in Houston, Dallas, Fort Worth, San Antonio, and Austin.